In a recent interview with CNN International, Patrick Byrne, the CEO of Overstock.com, discussed the company’s decision to start accepting bitcoins as a payment option. Byrne explained that currently, Overstock is selling all the bitcoins they receive as payment because they are unable to use them to pay their suppliers. However, Byrne firmly believes bitcoins are just starting to gain traction and soon they will be widely accepted worldwide.
When asked if he thought Amazon would start accepting Bitcoins as payment, Byrne stated, “Yes, I actually think that this forces the hand of Amazon and some other big players. They have to follow suit. You will see them follow suit, I’ll be stunned if you don’t, because they can’t just cede that part of the market to us, if we’re the only main, large retail site taking Bitcoin. Either they have to start taking it, or they’re just giving away a piece of the market.”
Despite Byrne’s assertions, the bitcoin market is still relatively tiny. According to Overstock, customers made $130,000 in transactions using Bitcoins on the first day the payment option was available. However, this only amounts to 840 orders. For a mega-company like Amazon, that is an extremely small market to cater too. Despite the small numbers, Byrne insists it is a quickly growing market and other large online retailers will see that soon enough.
According to Byrne, “That piece of the market is growing at I think about a rate of about 30 percent per month. It’s still tiny, it’s 20 bits or 30 bits, it’s a tiny fraction of a percent, but it’s growing quickly.”
If Amazon did decide to start accepting bitcoins, that would be a huge step towards adding legitimacy to bitcoins as real currency. While many are jumping on the bitcoin bandwagon, global financial regulators are highly skeptical. Some governments have already banned the exchange of bitcoins, and many financial analysts have insisted the bitcoin bubble forming is going to pop sooner than later.