Business

Overstock will accept Bitcoin payments in 2014

Above: Thirty-five percent of those polled said they expect Bitcoin's popularity to nosedive.

Image Credit: Flickr: BTCKeychain

Bitcoin may have had a rough week, but that’s not scaring Overstock.com away.

The online retailer, which pulls in $1 billion a year, announced on Friday that it plans to accept Bitcoin in the second half of next year. That means Bitcoin owners will be able to use the currency to buy everyday items like furniture and jewelry, which could ultimately help to get people spending the currency rather than  hoarding it.

And Overstock isn’t alone. Companies like Virgin Galactic, Chinese Internet giant Baidu, Reddit, and even OkCupid have made similar moves, signaling that widespread adoption isn’t too far off.

Like a lot of Bitcoin bulls, Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne says that, while Bitcoin is a bit volatile right now, its potential is hard to downplay. “We think there’s going to be a market in Bitcoin, and we want to get in front of it,” he told CNNMoney.

In other words, Overstock is making a big, long-term bet on Bitcoin’s future.

In the short term, though, Bitcoin’s fate is less clear. The value of the currency dropped to as low as $584 this week (half of its peak in November) after China’s central bank issued a warning against the currency. The government warning forced BTC China, China’s largest Bitcoin exchange, to stop accepting yuan deposits, which sent Bitcoin’s value tumbling.

Because of this volatility, Byrne says Overstock will continuously convert its Bitcoin stores into dollars so it doesn’t lose money if the currency takes a sudden dive.

Byrne, a self-identified Libertarian, said the move was “also philosophical, part and parcel with my belief in a limited government — that if you want limited government, you can’t give it power to expand the monetary base,” he told The Los Angeles Times.

Your move, Amazon.


Mobile developer or publisher? VentureBeat is studying mobile app analytics. Fill out our 5-minute survey, and we'll share the data with you.