Patrick Byrne, CEO of Utah-based e-commerce giant Overstock.com, has announced that the company intends to expand its bitcoin payments program to international customers in the next four to six weeks.
To date, the option to pay for purchases in bitcoin has only been available to US customers, in what has become a similar offering for the industry’s major merchants. Dell and Expedia, for example, only allow US-based customers to pay in bitcoin. However, TigerDirect, which uses BitPay for its processing, has expanded its offering to Canada.
News of the international payment option first surfaced during a TV interview Byrne gave to Russia-based, English-language news source RT‘s “Boom Bust” program, where Byrne said:
“In about one month to six weeks, we’ll be introducing bitcoin to our international customers, so [customers], including those in Russia, will be able to pay in bitcoins.”
Throughout the interview, Byrne was overwhelmingly positive about his company’s experience with bitcoin, lauding the service provided by its merchant processing provider Coinbase and remarking that it “hasn’t had a hiccup since we started”.
“We’ve integrated with all kinds of payment systems and this is the first that I can think of where there’s been no hiccups at all,” Byrne added.
Byrne further revealed that the company is now issuing refunds in bitcoin, and that its customer service agents have been facilitating the offering for one month.
Byrne also used the interview to further position Overstock as a major influence within the broader e-commerce community, noting that he believes the company’s announcement marked a milestone in bitcoin merchant adoption.
“We like to think that we broke the ice, I think before us the biggest merchant was about $1m, so by us doing it, we’re a billion-and-a-half-dollar merchant, we like to think we saved [bitcoin] about four to five years of evolution.”
The CEO went on to say that, even from a purely public relations standpoint, bitcoin is a no-brainer for other similarly sized businesses.
“We got fantastic PR from [accepting bitcoin],” Byrne said. “Now, that it’s broken into the billion-dollar vendor market, it’s just a matter of time before the other dominoes fall.”
In his comments, Byrne suggested that bitcoin purchases now account for one-quarter of 1% of the company’s sales, but that the pace of sales from this market segment is increasing.
Byrne went on to state that he believes both international sales and time will boost this figure, stating:
“This isn’t just a US phenomenon, this is happening all around the world.”
Coinbase confirmed to CoinDesk that should Overstock seek to expand its bitcoin payments program it can do so with its services. The company pointed to its recent integration with global e-commerce and logistics solutions provider Bongo International as an example of a partner that accepts global payments.
To learn more about the announcement, listen to the full interview here:
Image credit: George Frey / Getty Images
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