Bitcoin-friendly online retailer Overstock will now accept payment in all major cryptocurrencies. The company cited the growing value of the altcoin market and bitcoin’s receding market share as its main reasons.
Payments Converted to Bitcoin With ShapeShift
Overstock announced the move on Tuesday. It will actually convert all cryptocurrency payments into bitcoin via ShapeShift, which will generate an address for customers to send their coins. Refunds will be issued in BTC, though customers will be able to use ShapeShift to convert them back to the original token.
The move also makes Overstock the first company to accept the newly-forked Bitcoin Cash as payment for consumer items.
The company’s announcement noted that value is now more widely distributed among crypto-assets than when it first started accepting bitcoin in early 2014.
This year has seen the emergence of several popular non-bitcoin cryptocurrencies, helping the number of transactable digital currencies grow to over 1000, according to Coinmarketcap.com. Bitcoin is still the largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, however it now represents just under 50% of the market, down from nearly 80% a year ago.
Overstock a Bitcoin Pioneer Thanks to CEO’s Views
Overstock was celebrated three years ago as the first mainstream consumer company to embrace bitcoin. At that time, Bitcoin was trying to establish itself as a legitimate payment method, but was reeling under price volatility and its association with Silk Road and Mt. Gox.
The online retail giant’s CEO, Patrick Byrne, is famously libertarian. Those views got him interested in Bitcoin in the first place, and still influence the company’s direction. He said:
“Overstock is pro-freedom, including the freedom of individuals to communicate information about value and scarcity without relying on a medium created through the fiat of unaccountable government mandarins. For that reason, we have been an early proponent and adopter of cryptocurrencies.”
Byrne has also experimented with a blockchain-based share trading platform called t0 (t-zero). While the platform has faced some technical and regulatory hurdles, it eventually began issuing and trading shares — in Overstock — in December 2016.
Overstock’s Place in Cryptocurrency History
In early 2015 Overstock revealed that bed sheets were the most common item purchased with bitcoin. The popularity of such an ordinary, non-technological item became a running joke in the community — earning bed sheets a place in Bitcoin lore alongside alpaca socks and pizza.
The company actually sells over 4 million items, mostly housewares and office goods.
As well as the altcoins it now accepts, Overstock will likely lend extra legitimacy to ShapeShift. Though popular among cryptocurrency users, the exchange has at times raised regulators’ eyebrows. Users do not need names, identification or accounts to trade between digital assets, swapping one for another via ShapeShift’s bare-bones interface.
What coin will you use to buy bed sheets at Overstock? Let us know in the comments.
Images via Overstock.com