Online discount retailer Overstock.com is now accepting Bitcoin, and people are paying with it.
Overstock.com customers made more than 800 purchases using Bitcoin last Thursday, the first day the e-commerce retailer started the virtual currency. Bitcoin purchases made within the first 24 hours totaled $130,000, the retailer said Monday.
Overstock.com last week added Bitcoin, a cybercurrency that is created, distributed and authenticated outside of banks or governments, to its payment options at customer checkout alongside PayPal, Visa and MasterCard.
“Digital currency will be an important part of the future and Overstock is excited to be the first major online shopping retailer to accept it,” said Patrick Byrne, Overstock.com chairman and CEO. ”As one who believes in limited government, this attracts me because it is a form of money that no government mandarin can will it into existence.”
Bitcoin is championed by some libertarian groups who support a currency that is free of government-imposed regulations. The Bitcoin network is instead made up of thousands of computers run by individuals around the world and doesn't answer to a central authority, and the supply is constrained up to 21 million units.
Overstock.com is partnering with San Francisco-based Coinbase.com to process the payments and to handle the conversion of Bitcoin into U.S. dollars.
Overstock.com was the first major e-retailer to accept Bitcoin, and others have hinted they too will begin accepting the currency. If enough retailers move to cybercurrency, online payments company may follow suit — or risk losing to companies like Coinbase, a dedicated Bitcoin processing platform. But for now, PayPal, the giant of online payments, has said it doesn't see enough customers paying with Bitcoin to make the shift.
Screen grab from Overstock.com