Overstock.com sees new market in Bitcoins

Jan 20, 2014

Salt Lake City-based Overstock.com says it's the first major retailer to accept digital Bitcoins as payment for goods.

The $1 billion company is tapping into a new market of buyers who use the online currency, and other major retailers will lose if they don't follow suit and accept Bitcoins, Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne said.

"I've been hearing from people all over the world—cult followers of Bitcoin—who say they are going to shift all of their shopping to Overstock.com," Byrne told CBS affiliate KUTV in Salt Lake City.

Bitcoin users buy digital money and load it onto a virtual wallet. They can buy things online without having to enter their credit-card information.

Unlike government-issued money, the value of Bitcoin fluctuates rapidly. To protect itself, Overstock uses a Bitcoin broker that immediately transfers the digital coin into dollars.

Overstock started accepting the Jan. 9, and Byrne said the company almost immediately grossed $100,000 in Bitcoin orders.

"You'll see Amazon jump on board. You'll see other large companies—they have to because they cannot concede this whole section of the market to us," Byrne said.

The cyber currency has existed for years as a kind of Internet oddity, counting supporters among tech-savvy libertarians, currency geeks and online speculators. Yet increasing acceptance is bringing it into mainstream use. Bitcoins are created, distributed, and authenticated independently of any bank or government.

The 's cryptographic features make it virtually immune from counterfeiting, and its relative anonymity holds out the promise of being able to spend money across the Internet without fear of governments.

The linchpin of the system is a network of "miners"—high-end computer users who supply the Bitcoin network with the processing power needed to maintain a transparent, running tally of all transactions. The tally is one of the most important ways in which the system prevents fraud, and the miners are rewarded for supporting the system with an occasional helping of brand-new .

Explore further: Bitcoin rises above $1,000

4 /5 (1 vote)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Bitcoin rises above $1,000

Nov 27, 2013

The virtual currency bitcoin Wednesday broke above $1,000 per unit, quintupling in a month, according to Mt. Gox, which manages trading in bitcoin.

EU bank watchdog warns over Bitcoin

Dec 13, 2013

The European Union's banking watchdog on Friday issued a warning over virtual currency trading amid huge swings in the value of Bitcoin, a lack of regulation and money laundering risks.

Australian claims huge bitcoin robbery

Nov 08, 2013

An Australian man claimed Friday to be the victim of a massive bitcoin robbery, saying hackers had stolen more than one million dollars of the digital currency from his website.

Recommended for you

HTML5 reaches 'Recommendation' status

19 hours ago

W3C stands for World Wide Web Consortium, and the W3C HTML Working Group is responsible for this specification's progress. As the title suggests, they have a far-reaching job of watching out for the progress ...

Online dating service admits to fake profiles

22 hours ago

A British-based online dating service admitted to US regulators Wednesday that it created fake, computer-generated profiles to lure users into upgraded memberships.

NY voters to decide on digital legislation

Oct 28, 2014

If New York voters approve proposition No. 2 on the ballot next week, their 213 legislators will join the digital age. Their desks in the ornate chambers of the Capitol will have computers instead of thick stacks of bills ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.