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Bitcoin Businesses

Bitcoin Payments Go Live At Overstock — Two Quarters Early 182

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the will-trade-bitcoin-for-socks dept.
New submitter citab writes with news that "the first major retailer is now accepting bitcoins!" In December, Overstock.com announced that they would begin accepting Bitcoin for payment as early as the end of second quarter 2014, but decided to make it a priority task to avoid having someone else beat them to it. From the article: "Last Tuesday, the company struck a deal to handle Bitcoin payments through a service operated by the suddenly hot San Francisco startup Coinbase, and since then, a team of Overstock engineers has worked almost every waking hour to prepare the site for what is undeniably a key moment in the digital currency’s short history. ... [Overstock CEO] Byrne believes this can ultimately boost the company’s bottom line, but that’s not his only aim. For Byrne, a rather opinionated libertarian who’s unafraid to take his company places others fear to tread, embracing the cryptocurrency is as much a political statement as a business decision. Like so many others, he believes Bitcoin can free the world from the control of big banks and big government. 'It helps us fight the machine,' he says."
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Bitcoin Payments Go Live At Overstock — Two Quarters Early

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  • by Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) on Thursday January 09, 2014 @05:41PM (#45911271)

    was Silkroad.

    • by mythosaz (572040) on Thursday January 09, 2014 @05:55PM (#45911401)

      Can anyone explain why this is marked Funny and not Informative?

      It was BTC's "dirty little secret" that as long as you could buy drugs with it, it had value. Losing SR caused panic on the BTC market for exactly that reason.

      • by _merlin (160982)

        Can anyone explain why this is marked Funny and not Informative?

        Because strictly speaking, Silk Road is a marketplace and not a retailer, as it's in the business of connecting independent vendors with customers.

        • by tlhIngan (30335)

          Because strictly speaking, Silk Road is a marketplace and not a retailer, as it's in the business of connecting independent vendors with customers.

          It was also a payment facilitator. Silk Road was more like eBay+Paypal combined, with the exception that you MUST use the Silk Road to pay the seller.

          The 27,000 BTC that the FBI seized were such in-transit money - it was escrow money that buyers sent to the Silk Road to pay the sellers in trust. (Of course, Silk Road took a percentage). They still haven't found

      • by LF11 (18760)

        Wow, that's a dumb statement. Take a look at this chart http://bitcoincharts.com/charts/mtgoxUSD#rg150ztgSzm1g10zm2g25zv [bitcoincharts.com]. See that little blip at the beginning of October? Yeah, that's your "panic."

        Bitcoin was held down because of silk road, not supported.

      • by pantaril (1624521)

        It was BTC's "dirty little secret" that as long as you could buy drugs with it, it had value. Losing SR caused panic on the BTC market for exactly that reason.

        Bitcoin lost no value because of SilkRoad closure, look at the value of bitcoin when silkroad closed (october 2013, cca 250 USD/BTC) and look at the value now (cca 950 USD/BTC). I wouldn't call it loss. There wasn't even any dramatic drop right after the news broke in october, just look at the graph at bitcoinity.

      • Probably not informative because Silk road wasn't a retailer according to any definition I've ever seen.

        That would be like saying ebay is a retailer.

      • by jdavidb (449077)

        It was BTC's "dirty little secret" that as long as you could buy drugs with it, it had value. Losing SR caused panic on the BTC market for exactly that reason.

        The shuttering of silk road caused panic for only a few hours. The value was recovered in less than 1/4 of a day. But for weeks afterward there were misleading headlines about how Bitcoin had lost half its value. Yes, it did lose its value - for a very short while.

        Personally, I was very surprised that the value didn't go farther down and stay there much longer.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by bluefoxlucid (723572)

      First major retailer to reach for freedom from the big banks was Khaddafi. We shot him in the head for it, and claimed he was being a terrorist dictator tyrant.

      Lessons learned: Don't buy your oil with gold. The world bank will have America assassinate you.

    • by mysidia (191772)

      was Silkroad.

      But they were shutdown.

      Overstock might be the first major mainstream retailer accepting BTC that sticks with legal products.

  • Fantastic news (Score:2, Interesting)

    by DiSKiLLeR (17651)

    This is fantastic news, and I hope more major retailers follow.

    • by mythosaz (572040)

      It's not so much that o.co takes BTC, it's that o.co takes a 3rd party payment processor that handles BTC.

      It's not any fundamentally different than taking Paypal or Mastercard (for that matter), other than that their merchant agreement might have some sort windows for the currency exchange valuation lock-in.


      • to overthrow the tyranny of the evil payment and banking system, we will adopt a, uh, payment and banking system.

        But since the code and infrastructure is less than 6 months old and depends on companies with less cash flow than lolcats.com instead of being crufty 25 year old code from evil companies with billions of evil fiat currency tokens, it's sure to be an awesome libertarian world changer!
    • by Seumas (6865)

      A bunch of them will.

      And then they'll realize how ridiculous it is and they'll slowly and quietly begin to remove the payment method.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 09, 2014 @05:45PM (#45911311)

    This is the big game changer right here. This is what has been holding everything back, up until now. With this policy decision things are really going to take off. Clearly it has been the lack of Bitcoin that has been holding Overstock.com back for all this time.

  • by locrien (865888)

    I guess I will actually have to consider buying things on overstock now.

    I mostly ignored them due to their annoying commercials before.

    • I mostly ignored them due to their annoying commercials before.

      If adding "The B" for "Bitcoin" means "Its all about the BO" I dont think that will improve their commercials. Actually I think I'll need a few cocktails just to try to get that image out of my head.

  • How can a company be ok with selling something for 600, no wait 1000, no wait 700, no wait 1200--aaargh 500 dollars?

    • Re:I don't get it (Score:5, Informative)

      by ugen (93902) on Thursday January 09, 2014 @06:01PM (#45911447)

      They don't actually accept bitcoins (or quote prices in bitcoins). What they do is offer a 3rd party check-out option. At the time of check out, the amount of USD will be converted to bitcoins according to the rate quoted by 3rd party (coinbase) and buyer would have to send the quoted amount. According to FAQ, quotes are valid for 10 minutes.

      This mode of payment conveniently comes with a number of restrictions, in particular any orders paid for in this manner are not refundable in either USD or bitcoin, all buyer can get back is store credit.

      More importantly, I don't see what is there to gain for bitcoin users. Privacy afforded by bitcoin is lost here since buyer identity is known to at least two parties - Overstock and Coinbase.

      • Privacy afforded by bitcoin is lost here since buyer identity is known to at least two parties - Overstock and Coinbase.

        And UPS.
      • More importantly, I don't see what is there to gain for bitcoin users. Privacy afforded by bitcoin is lost here since buyer identity is known to at least two parties - Overstock and Coinbase.

        Many people are interested in bitcoin because of the lack of central bank control and it's non fiat currency nature.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Many people are interested in bitcoin because of the lack of central bank control and it's non fiat currency nature.

          non fiat? Are you saying that bitcoins have intrinsic value?

        • by lgw (121541)

          How is bitcoin not a fiat currency? Its supply is determined by algorithm instead of by a central bank, but that's not what "fiat" is about. For that matter, its supply is only controlled until it becomes mainstream - if BTC-denominated savings accounts ("eurobitcoins"), BTC futures, and BTC-denominated insurance policies come into play, the supply will be quite uncontrolled.

          • by kasperd (592156)

            if BTC-denominated savings accounts ("eurobitcoins"), BTC futures, and BTC-denominated insurance policies come into play, the supply will be quite uncontrolled.

            What that will make uncontrolled is promises about giving out bitcoins subject to some criteria. The actual bitcoins themselves will still be limited. The question then is, at what point people will realize that a bitcoin is worth more than a promise by somebody to give you a bitcoin.

            • > at what point people will realize that a bitcoin is worth more than a promise by somebody to give you a bitcoin.

              How is that any different than taking out a loan and promising to pay it back in the future? The risk of non-payment is embodied in the interest rate, along with the risk of you the lender not being around to enjoy the gains. Part of the reason for interest is the lender, being human, has a finite lifespan. When you make a loan you are giving up present use of the money for a larger amount

            • by lgw (121541)

              The actual bitcoins themselves will still be limited.

              Sure, but that entirely misses the point. The amount of physical currency in circulation isn't the interesting part of the money supply.

              The question then is, at what point people will realize that a bitcoin is worth more than a promise by somebody to give you a bitcoin.

              Dollars work exactly the same way, at least to anyone who understands how money works. Everything must be discounted for risk. That doesn't stop inflation. And for "safe" investments, the risk that the promise won't be kept is significantly smaller than inflation.

              The risk that a "eurodollar" savings account won't return your money is non-zero, unlike government-insured

        • Which, from an academic perspective, is pretty cool.

          Although we're talking about mathematically scarce numbers that have no intrinsic value, so they only have value because we believe they have value. So they're only non-traditional-fiat in the sense that they're scarce, not that they're artificial. That makes them moderately less appealing than a stock share. The currency is designed to deflate infinitely, too, and has a fixed, regressive production rate to a fixed quantity. And the designer is anonymo

      • by westlake (615356)
        As middleman, what percentage of the transaction goes to Coinbase?
      • Anonymity is not a feature of bitcoin transactions or any transactions for that matter, as in order to receive a good you have to give it up at some level to receive that good. The advantage of bitcoin is the lack of central authority, it is an excellent way of transferring funds from country to country without having to go through a bank or physically bringing money across the border. The downside of bitcoin is that it is not backed by anything but the pubic perception of its value so it can be manipulated
  • by fastgriz (1052034) on Thursday January 09, 2014 @05:51PM (#45911371)
    My understanding is that they provide an easy way to convert your bitcoins to USD during checkout.
  • by madhatter256 (443326) on Thursday January 09, 2014 @06:09PM (#45911521)

    Bitcoin is the Libertarian's Currency!

    Taken from his rant:

    "Libertarians love it because it pushes the same buttons as their gold fetish and it doesn't look like a "Fiat currency". You can visualize it as some kind of scarce precious data resource, sort of a digital equivalent of gold. Nation-states don't control the supply of it, so it promises to bypass central banks. "

    • ..same buttons as their gold fetish and it doesn't look like a "Fiat currency".

      Libertarians are certainly know for their disdain for currencies issued by car manufacturers.

    • by Lehk228 (705449)
      the creation of all the other *coins has proven it is far more like paper money than it is like gold. I'll stick with dogecoin
  • by Animats (122034) on Thursday January 09, 2014 @06:13PM (#45911569) Homepage

    This option is only available for US customers. There's no problem sending US dollars to Overstock. It would be more useful if they exported to China. But then they'd have to deal with inbound customs on the China end.

  • I don't think I'd want to use a website were the engineers "worked almost every waking hour".

  • Fluffy PR stunt (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bloodhawk (813939) on Thursday January 09, 2014 @08:28PM (#45912627)
    If overstock was such a huge believer in bitcoin then they would accept it as a payment method. and NO this is NOT what they are doing, they are still only accepting US dollars, they are just supporting a 3rd party payment method that allows people to convert bitcoins. In exchange for this convenience they lose the ability to get a refund.
    • by PRMan (959735)
      And gain the ability to buy a $20 item for $1.
    • by Agent ME (1411269)

      I think Bitcoin is extremely cool technology, but if I had a company I would not bet the company on the stability of its price right now. I would sell off most of the bitcoins I received as payment for dollars pretty quickly, or just pay a company a small amount to do that for me. Maybe in the future when Bitcoin is accepted in more places then its price will stabilize and that will be an extra step. Bitcoin has to go through a phase where most businesses exchange it immediately to ever get near enough adop

  • by LF11 (18760)

    I just love it when bitcoin posts show up on Slashdot. The circle-jerk of anti-bitcoin butthurt makes me so happy. It's quieting down, though. We've got a major retailer accepting bitcoin, now.

    Shouldn't you have gotten some bitcoins when they were $0.30 each, not so long ago?

    Some of us are paying our taxes in bitcoin. Some of us are paying for gasoline with bitcoin. I am paying for local groceries and Amazon purchases with bitcoin. How long before all you anti-bitcoin circlejerkers realize what you ha

    • I actually first heard about bitcoin in mid-2011, during the first big price spike, right here on Slashdot. I started mining it back then with my wimpy graphics card. Then that got too hard, so I just started buying them directly. Then I did a crowdfunding campaign with bitcoin that raised 200% of the goal. It's been an amazing experience.

      The crowdfunding is to support a project for self-expanding automation ( https://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/User:Danielravennest/SFP/Intro [wikibooks.org] ), where the automated machines

      • by LF11 (18760)

        Wow, that is amazing! And a heartwarming story. Thank you! And good luck.

    • In this dark European morning, your comment cracked a large smile on my sleepy face.
      • by LF11 (18760)

        You're welcome. :) Bitcoin does have some problems, and I dearly wish the "nerds" around here would wake up enough to learn about bitcoin so we could have a serious conversation about it. Bitcointalk and reddit are hive minds in my opinion.

        Oddly, though, the more I learn about how bitcoin works and how it is intended to work in the future, the more those problems melt away. Almost as if the problem is my own ignorance.

        • Exactly. I experience the same thing: the more I get into ( the math and distribution system of ) BitCoin, the more my non-understanding and potential problems melt away. The problem does seem, indeed, to be the inertia of my own mind.

          This having been said, I *do* think that BitCoin may rather sooner than later be almost as important as fiduciary currency. A highly successful speculator and trader told me this week over lunch: "You know why central banks are warning against BitCoin ? On the one hand, becau

    • by Jeremi (14640)

      Shouldn't you have gotten some bitcoins when they were $0.30 each, not so long ago?

      I would have, but I had already invested all of my retirement money in Flooz, you insensitive clod.

    • by pantaril (1624521)

      I just love it when bitcoin posts show up on Slashdot. The circle-jerk of anti-bitcoin butthurt makes me so happy. It's quieting down, though. We've got a major retailer accepting bitcoin, now.

      Exactly, i'm also pretty amused by the heavily upvoted anti-bitcoin bullshit in every slashdot bitcoin story. It has been 5 years now? I wonder how long would bitcon need to stay or how widespread it would need to become for slashdot to accept it. Maybe the readers here are just too old and conservative and it will never happen, like most old people will never use internet or smartphones or online-banking. I guess when you are of some age you are too old to learn and endorse new technologies.

      • Bernie Madoff lasted decades. It was all just as worthless at the end.

        • by LF11 (18760)

          When you get right down to it, the US dollar is a giant scam. So if we assume that bitcoin is a scam...which is more scammy? Thanks, I'll take the one that isn't engineered to impoverish all but the connected elite.

      • by LF11 (18760)

        A few months ago, I saw lots of posts ridiculing bitcoin because no major vendors accepted it. Well, now a major vendor accepts it. :) The thing is, none of these arguments have any merit whatsoever. There are problems with bitcoin, but I have never seen anyone on Slashdot know enough about bitcoin to clearly elucidate any of them.

        For a site that is so "nerd-centric", Slashdot sure has a lot of uninformed circle-jerkers. Amazing. And amusing.

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