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Overstock Pledges 3% of Bitcoin Profits to Promote Cryptocurrencies

| Published on June 24, 2014 at 12:26 BST

US online retailer Overstock has pledged to donate 3% of profits generated through bitcoin sales to advocacy organisations that promote digital currencies.

Patrick Byrne, the company's CEO, made the announcement at the Bitcoin in the Beltway conference, held in Washington DC over the weekend.

Overstock later told CoinDesk that the decision to donate a portion of its bitcoin sales revenue is “a new one” and that it is still “working out the details”.

Notably, however, the Overstock spokesperson indicated that revenue donated by the company will not go solely toward bitcoin advocacy:

“Any revenue from bitcoin sales that Overstock.com donates will go to support the adoption of cryptocurrencies in general, not necessarily bitcoin in particular.”

“Whatever happens, an official announcement won’t be made until September,” the spokesperson concluded.

Sales without frontiers

Byrne also used the conference as an opportunity to announce that his company plans to expand its bitcoin programme to international users. This will enable bitcoin payments from shoppers in virtually any country worldwide, with a September deadline also slated for completion of the new feature.

He further discussed Overstock’s overall experience with bitcoin, saying the customer response to its decision to start accepting bitcoin payments had been good so far.

The company now expects bitcoin sales to account for about $10m of its revenue over the first year – double the original forecast of $5m. As of late March, however, Byrne was optimistic Overstock's year-end bitcoin totals could reach as high as $20m.

The Utah-based company passed the $1m mark in early March and, by late May, bitcoin sales accounted for $1.6m of Overstock’s revenue.

Big spenders

Byrne explained that more than 4,300 customers had decided to use bitcoin since Overstock incorporated it as a payment method. On average, these users spent more than non-bitcoin users per transaction, and an estimated 60% of bitcoin-toting buyers were completely new to Overstock.

Overstock is also one of few bitcoin friendly merchants that maintains bitcoin holdings of its own. The company keeps 10% of its bitcoin income and Byrne says he personally holds several million dollars in bitcoin.

On top of that, the company says it is open to paying its employees in bitcoin.

Bitcoin in the BeltwayOverstockPatrick Byrne

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