Overstock becomes first major company to enable global bitcoin payments

Home » Overstock becomes first major company to enable global bitcoin payments
Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/100239928@N08/

Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/100239928@N08/

Last month, Overstock.com claimed it was on the verge of adding a bitcoin payment option to their O.co global retail site. After a 10-day delay (the launch was planned for September 1), Overstock quietly enabled the BTC-payment system early this morning. Although Overstock is hardly the first company to accept bitcoin payments from anywhere in the world, it is the first major online retailer to do so.

Speaking with Wired about the new payment option, Overstock CEO and well-known bitcoin advocate Patrick Byrne said “As long as you can get on the internet, you can order and pay in bitcoin. You can order in North Korea if you want—as long as you’re having things delivered to, say, Singapore.”

International demand for bitcoin payment is still a largely unexplored territory for large-scale online retailers, as most bitcoin business has been based in the U.S. The bulk of bitcoin owners are also thought to reside in the U.S., making the potential pool of non-U.S. BTC-using customers very likely a small one. That said, Byrne doesn’t seem to be very concerned about the numbers, at least thus far. He told Wired that bitcoin is still a fraction of Overstock’s business — projected to contribute around $8 million this year to the $1.3 billion company — and he also noted that the move is largely a strategic one aimed at bitcoin’s long-term adoption. “We’ve never had a strong international business, and this is a good first step towards building one,” Byrne said.

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