Byrne delved into his views on the past and present, as is usually the case. This time around, however, he delighted many with his revelation of future plans related to his current acceptance of Bitcoin as payment.
Right now, the Bitcoin payment functionality is only available to U.S. customers because an entirely different payment platform is used for international consumers. He’s actively working on bringing bitcoin payments to international clientele by this September.
He also announced that Overstock will be donating 3% of its bitcoin revenues to organizations working to further the adoption of Bitcoin.
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And it’s not like the money is going down the drain. If you combine the savings from merchant fees (less Coinbase fees), the tax reduction from charitable donations, plus the indirect benefits of the goodwill generated with the Bitcoin world and Overstock becoming a more influential player within it, the real costs are virtually negligible.
When it comes to altcoins, Byrne was not so optimistic. Responding to an attendee who inquired if in the future, a few select altcoins will serve a key function as competing currencies to Bitcoin, he said this would only happen if such coins offer a superior technical feature. But the same can be accomplished by forking Bitcoin. He did concede that Bitcoin itself contains a lot of “slop”, which may cause logistical issues down the road.
His comments contrast with earlier indications of a more favorable stance toward alts. In a reddit AMA, he expressed ambition to be the first engaging in p2p capital markets, perhaps via some altcoin or equivalent. He also previously expressed an openness to accepting Litecoin.
Unlike many merchants accepting Bitcoin, Overstock does not have its bitcoins immediately converted back to fiat, instead retaining 10% as received. Byrne also said that he plans to pay employee bonuses with Bitcoin and even offer such an option for base salaries.
Overstock’s acceptance of Bitcoin for payment is generally viewed as a major milestone, even turning point, for the acceptance of cryptocurrency by major companies. Though bitcoin payments comprise but a minuscule share of their revenues, they have still by far exceeded Byrne’s initial projections.