Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne said in a recent interview with CNN International that Amazon will soon have no choice but to start accepting Bitcoin, now that Overstock has already started offering it as a payment option for its customers.
“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,” Byrne said.
At the moment, Byrne says Overstock is selling whatever Bitcoins it gets paid, because it can’t pay its suppliers in the digital currency. But if it’s able to start paying for goods in Bitcoin, the CEO is confident in the currency, and says that it may start holding on to the digital money that it makes.
Still, Amazon may not be so eager to jump into Bitcoin with both feet. Customers reportedly made $130,000 worth of transactions in Bitcoin on Overstock during the first day the retailer offered the cryptocurrency as a method of payment, but they only made 840 orders. Byrne admits that the size of the market for online retail shoppers using Bitcoin is tiny, but he says that it’s growing rapidly.
“That piece of the market is growing at I think about a rate of about 30 percent per month,” he said. “It’s still tiny, it’s 20 bits or 30 bits, it’s a tiny fraction of a percent, but it’s growing quickly.”
Overstock starting to offer Bitcoin was big news, but if Amazon decided to allow Bitcoin transactions, that would be a major vote of confidence in the currency, which seems to be more of interest to speculators and idealists rather than everyday consumers, and has drawn a skeptical eye from worldwide financial regulators.
Here’s the full video of Byrne’s interview: