- Starting Jan. 9, Bitcoin became a payment option for any item sold by the online discount retailer Overstock.com, through bitcoin payment processor (or “wallet") Coinbase.
- Overstock is the largest retailer to date to embrace the alternative currency, and on that first day, the company took 800 Bitcoin orders worth $126,000, with some $5,000 of that in the first 30 minutes, according to Overstock.
- Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne says the company immediately swaps its Bitcoin for U.S. dollars because its suppliers don’t deal with Bitcoin themselves, but that retailers would be foolish to eschew the cyber-coin as it continues to grow as a currency option, with even a giant like Amazon eventually accepting it as a coin-of-the-realm.
Last year saw Bitcoin surging as an alternative to traditional methods of payment transactions, inviting more users as well as increased scrutiny by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other agencies wary of its use in helping fund illicit activities. The move by Overstock to accept bitcoin in payment may be more of a test of its longevity than proof of it, but retailers, banks and currency traders will no doubt be watching closely as the currency and its attendant payment technology evolves. To hedge against the vagaries of the marketplace, Byrne said he would like to see bitcoin traded on a derivatives exchange.