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Overstock Executive: It’s Crazy That Retailers Still Don’t Accept Bitcoin

Last Updated March 4, 2021 4:58 PM
Francisco Memoria
Last Updated March 4, 2021 4:58 PM

Recently, as reported by CCN.com, Morgan Stanley published a report that showed that out of the top 500 online retailers, only three accept bitcoin, down from five in 2016. The report outlined a few motives that led to the decline, including a rise in bitcoin’s price, scalability issues, and according to the bank a lack of pressure from bitcoiners for retailers to start accepting bitcoin.

The reduction in the number of retailers that accept bitcoin has baffled Overstock executive Jonathan Johnson, president of Medici Ventures, who played a crucial role in Overstock accepting bitcoin back in 2014. At the time, CCN.com reported that in the first 21 hours the retailer processed $124,000 in bitcoin orders.

Speaking to Business Insider, Jonathan stated that Overstock has throughout the years seen a “modest uptick in the number of bitcoin transactions” , and that as such he believes it’s crazy that most retailers still don’t accept bitcoin payments.

One of the reasons Morgan Stanley stated is holding back bitcoin adoption are costly transactions. Johnson doesn’t see this as a valid point. He stated:

The cost of accepting bitcoin is very low. It’s actually cheaper for us to complete a bitcoin transaction than it is to complete a credit card.

Since the cost of accepting bitcoin transactions doesn’t fall on the retailer, according to Johnson, it makes no sense not to let customers pay for the cost, if they are willing to do so and are given the option.

Another point used to argue against bitcoin adoption is price volatility. Business Insider pointed out Ethereum’s flash crash on GDAX, in which the cryptocurrency’s price plummeted to about $0.10 before regaining its near $300 value, as an example. Retailers, as pointed out, don’t want to accept a currency that can in a matter of minutes lose all its value.

Jonathan Johnson opined this doesn’t make any sense, as it is easy for a business to turn a cryptocurrency into fiat at the time of transaction, effectively avoiding the risks associated with volatility. Johnson even pointed out that, when Overstock started accepting bitcoin, it kept 90% of the bitcoins and only converted 10% to fiat. Nowadays, Overstock converts 50%.

Bitcoiners Trying to Get Retailers on Board

Bitcoiners have recently been trying to get retailers to accept the cryptocurrency with, for example, a Change.org petition that urged Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos for the marketplace to start accepting bitcoin that got over 2,100 signatures.

Moreover, CoinGeek recently sent the Financial Directors of the top 20 online retailers $100 in bitcoin  via a QR coda and, so far, only Laurence Tosi from Airbnb decided to accept the free bitcoin.

Johnson believes that the companies should accept the cryptocurrency. Per his own words:

I don’t know why a CEO wouldn’t want to make it easier for folks to spend money.

Overstock’s Support for Bitcoin

Overstock wasn’t just the first major online retailer to start accepting bitcoin; it is also one of the biggest organizations supporting the cryptocurrency. Overstock’s CEO Patrick Byrne has in the past stated that he “loves bitcoin” and that he truly believes in the cryptocurrency.

Moreover, he added that he hopes one day bitcoin will destroy central banking. As if that wasn’t enough, in the past Overstock even announced that it was going to donate 4% of its bitcoin revenue to organizations promoting the adoption of the cryptocurrency.

Featured image from Shutterstock.