Online retail outlet Overstock.com will start accepting Bitcoins as early as the end of Q2 2014, according to CEO Patrick Byrne.
They will be the first major online retailer to do so. The news was first reported on newsBTC.
Byrne told us by phone this afternoon that he considers himself a believer in the Austrian economics school, which says fiat currency, like the U.S. dollar, is fundamentally flawed since it is prone to inflation and manipulation. Bitcoin, like gold, is immune to this, since there is a fixed supply.
“Philosophically, we support Bitcion,” he said.
The decision was made just a few weeks ago, Byrne said, during a review of the company’s information technology priorities for 2014.
For now, the store doesn’t plan to actually hold Bitcoin once transactions begin. Byrne said they are considering three Bitcon payment processors that would allow the firm to convert Bitcoins to cash and assume the risk of the cryptocurrency’s volatility.
But he said that could change if Bitcoin derivatives come along that would allow one to hedge against the price going up or down. The CFTC said earlier this year that they are monitoring the development of such financial instruments.
Bitcoin prices are up 18% today to about $US670. Overstock.com shares are up about 3%.