August 20, 2014, 11:48 AM

International Overstock.com customers can soon pay with Bitcoin

The Top 500 mass merchant e-retailer began accepting Bitcoin in January.

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International customers shopping on Overstock.com can now pay with bitcoins, the e-retailer announced today. On Sept. 1, consumers shopping on Overstock’s international website, O.co, will have the ability to pay with bitcoins.

Several large e-retailers—including Newegg Inc., No. 17 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, and Dell Inc., No 10 in the Top 500 Guide—have started to accept Bitcoin on their e-commerce sites.

Bitcoin is a decentralized—meaning no one organization regulates it—digital currency that buyers and sellers exchange over the Internet, with no bank involvement. The value of all the bitcoins on the market at the end of the first quarter of 2014 was estimated at $6.45 billion, according to CoinMarketCap.com, which tracks the valuations of virtual currencies across major exchanges. That value changes as new bitcoins enter into circulation and as the currency's value itself fluctuates.

Overstock began accepting Bitcoin in January 2014. As of April, Bitcoin sales represented a sliver of total sales, just 0.4% or about $1.4 million since the retailer began accepting the currency in January, according to what/whom?. But Overstock says those paying with bitcoins spent 34% more than other customers, and 58% of them were new to Overstock.com.

What's more, Overstock paid payment services firm Coinbase less to process those payments than it would have paid to its payment processor for credit card transactions. In the first 50 days it accepted bitcoins, Overstock says its processing fees averaged less than 1% of the order value compared to the 2.2% plus $0.20 it pays for an average credit card transaction.

Overstock in March 2014 began holding 10% of the bitcoins it receives instead of converting them. Overstock chairman Jonathan Johnson says the e-retailer made the decision because some employees have asked to be paid—at least partially—in Bitcoin.

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