Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne delivered the keynote address at Saturday's Bitcoin in the Beltway conference. He spoke a lot about the past, but he also talked about Bitcoin's future. Specifically, Byrne announced a timetable for international Overstock Bitcoin payments and revealed a plan to donate "3% of all Overstock Bitcoin sales" to organizations working to promote cryptocurrency around the world.
3% of Overstock Bitcoin Profits to Be Used to Spread Bitcoin Adoption
Earlier this year, Overstock famously became the first major company to accept Bitcoin payments. Byrne had cautiously optimistic expectations for Overstock Bitcoin payments, but consumers shocked him by far exceeding his Bitcoin payment projections.
Currently, only American consumers can buy Overstock products with Bitcoin because the company uses a different platform for international payments. However, Byrne revealed in his conference speech that he is actively working to bring Overstock Bitcoin transactions to international customers by September of this year.
Additionally, Patrick Byrne announced that along with adding international Bitcoin transactions he plans to donate 3% of all Overstock Bitcoin sales to organization(s) working to further the adoption of Bitcoin and cryptocurrency worldwide. The Bitcoin in the Beltway audience met Byrne's surprise announcement with thunderous applause.
Why Overstock Is Different From Other Companies That Accept Bitcoin
After watching Overstock's Bitcoin success, several other major companies--including DISH Network and Expedia--have announced plans to start accepting Bitcoin in the near future. However, what separates Overstock from other companies that accept Bitcoin is that Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne is a diehard believer in Bitcoin. Nearly every other company uses a payment processor such as Coinbase or BitPay to automatically convert Bitcoin payments into fiat. While Overstock uses Coinbase and converts the majority of their payments to fiat, they hold 10% of the bitcoins they receive.
Additionally, Byrne hopes to soon pay employee bonuses with Bitcoin and give employees the option to receive part or all of their salary in Bitcoin. Byrne's decision to donate a percentage of Overstock Bitcoin payments to furthering Bitcoin adoption is yet another proof that his interest in Bitcoin extends beyond mere monetary incentives.
Patrick Byrne's Bitcoin in the Beltway Speech
Patrick Byrne's Bitcoin in the Beltway presentation rehashed many of the topics he covered in his keynote speech at Bitcoin 2014 in Amsterdam. Beginning with the biblical prophet Daniel's statement to Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar that he had been "weighed in the balance and found wanting," Byrne traced the growth and development of classical liberalism into modernity until its culmination with the creation of cryptocurrency. Needless to say, he sees a bright future for Bitcoin.
Byrne's optimism about Bitcoin does not extend to altcoins, however. He responded pessimistically when an audience member asked whether he believed that in the future a select number of popular altcoins would serve as competing currencies. Byrne favors competing currencies in theory. He thinks the only way cryptocurrencies could truly compete with Bitcoin was if they offered a superior technical feature. However, Bitcoin developers could just implement that feature into Bitcoin via a fork. Nevertheless, he did acknowledge the core Bitcoin code contains a lot of "slop," which he speculated could cause potential logistical problems for Bitcoin in the future.
Nevertheless, he ended his speech by predicting that in 20 years no one would remember that any currency other than Bitcoin existed. Although he clearly made the statement in jest, conference attendees could not help but think he truly believes it.