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Overstock CEO Reveals He Now Holds Millions in Bitcoin

(@pete_rizzo_) | Published on January 31, 2014 at 19:31 BST

Speaking to investors during Overstock.com’s fourth-quarter earnings call on 30th January, CEO Patrick Byrne revealed he now holds “several million dollars” in bitcoin, having recently invested in the currency.

Byrne retracted earlier statements that indicated both he and Overstock would not hold any bitcoin. The outspoken exec further freed his company to hold bitcoin on the call, stating that it is “no longer bound” by previous restrictions.

Notably, Byrne echoed statements made by executive vice president Jonathan Johnson at the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) hearings this week, saying that Overstock is exploring ways to pay employees, suppliers and vendors in cryptocurrency.

“I think that we’ll be moving, making it optional for some of our colleagues to take some of their pay in bitcoin once that process is worked out, maybe take bonuses or something,” Byrne said.

Johnson suggested that the more bitcoin is used by Overstock’s consumers and suppliers, the more it will be able to bring additional savings to its supply chain.

Stock performance

Despite the boom in publicity, Overstock’s stock notably dropped by more than 20 percent after its fourth-quarter earnings announcement.

overstock, bitcoin

Bitcoin sales, which the company began processing after 31st December, were not factored into the report. It’s big first-day earnings will not be reflected until the end of first quarter 2014.

Year-over-year, the Utah-based company reported a 19% increase in revenue, and a spike in net income to $88.5m from $73.8m. Further, the company’s diluted earnings per share was $3.64, up from $3.02 in 2012.

Informing investors

Byrne and his colleagues issued the responses to an investor that asked whether the company would be offering special deals to bitcoin users. Neither Johnson nor Byrne answered this question directly, but they did reiterate their strong support for bitcoin, stating that they want to be a key part of the ecosystem.

The CEO also recounted how he came to be involved in bitcoin, noting that he has been interested in the cryptocurrency for over a year, and that concerns about the legal status of bitcoin initially held back the decision. He called the implementation a “testament to [Overstock's] IT department”, noting that integration with Coinbase took just 10 days.

2014 outlook

While it was not stated during the call, Johnson indicated at the NYDFS hearings that Overstock would continue to monitor developments in the altcoin markets.

A spokesperson also indicated that Overstock will be expanding internationally to serve two additional countries in 2014, but did not indicate where or when this expansion will take place.

Image credit: Overstock.com

OverstockPatrick Byrne

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