Online retailer Overstock.com now accepts Bitcoin as a form of payment, becoming the largest shopping website to accept the currency.
“You can now pay for all your favorite products on Overstock.com using Bitcoins!” the company says on its website. “As the first major retailer to accept Bitcoins, Overstock.com is expanding the possibilities of Bitcoin purchases by offering thousands of products to the Bitcoin community.”
Overstock partnered with Coinbase, the largest international Bitcoin wallet. It is essentially a Bitcoin bank.
“We want a money that some government mandarin can't just whisk into existence with a pen stroke,” Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne told Wired. “It lets you get out of that world where you have to store your money with institutions you don't trust.”
Byrne also said the decision to accept Bitcoins came because he “didn’t want someone else to beat us.”
Byrne, a libertarian, believes Bitcoin will not only increase sales for Overstock, but could also help end dependence on banks and government.
“It helps us fight the machine,” Byrne said.
Despite Bitcoin having widespread support around the world, Overstock will only accept the digital currency on orders placed to its U.S. shopping site.
Further, orders paid with Bitcoin can’t be combined with other forms of payment except Overstock gift cards, in-store credit and coupons.
Bitcoin orders can only be returned for in-store credit as well. However, cancelled orders will receive a refund in Bitcoins. But there’s a twist.
“Any refund is issued for the full USD value of the order and processed at the Bitcoin exchange rate at the time the refund is completed,” the company said.
This means that if a person purchases an item using Bitcoins, and the price of Bitcoins goes up by the time the refund takes place, that person will get fewer Bitcoins back than they used to purchase the item. Conversely, if the price of Bitcoins drops at the time of the refund, the purchaser will receive more Bitcoins than initially used.
For those who want to know more about Bitcoin, Overstock conveniently sells a user guide on how to mine and spend the currency.
UPDATE 5:30 p.m.: In a tweet, Byrne said that Bitcoin's first full day as a payment method for Overstock.com resulted in 840 orders and $130,000 in sales.
"Almost all new customers," Byrne said.