Big Online Shopping First: Overstock.com to Take Bitcoin

Overstock.com gives digital currency a boost

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 10, 2014 12:13 AM CST

(Newser) – Overstock.com has become the first major online retailer to accept Bitcoin, meaning users of the digital currency can now use it for one-stop shopping for everything from lawn chairs to laptops. Chief exec Patrick Byrne says he "believes in limited government, and the controversial currency "attracts me because it is a form of money that no government mandarin can will it into existence," the Wall Street Journal reports. Hot new San Francisco startup Coinbase will be handling the Bitcoin payments.

With the price of Bitcoin more volatile than ever, is Byrne making a huge gamble? Not so, according to Cade Metz at Wired. "Overstock has little to lose and much to gain," he writes, noting that while this is a big moment in the currency's history, the actual volume of Bitcoin payments is likely to remain fairly low. Byrne believes using the currency will work out a lot cheaper than going through processors like PayPal, and his company's trailblazing move may push other retailers like Amazon to start accepting Bitcoin.

Carts full of merchandise ordered online are rolled to the main packing area for shipping at the Overstock.com warehouse in Salt Lake City.   (AP Photo/Douglas C. Pizac)
The Overstock.com warehouse in Salt Lake City.   (AP Photo/Douglas C. Pizac)
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