Overstock to Introduce Bitcoin Bonus Scheme for Staff

Nermin Hajdarbegovic
Aug 1, 2014 at 13:44 UTC
Updated Sep 19, 2014 at 10:53 UTC

Update (1st August 16:05 BST): Article now includes comment from Overstock’s Judd Bagley.


Patrick Byrne, OverstockOnline retail giant Overstock has announced plans to offer its employees a bitcoin bonus scheme.

Overstock representative Judd Bagley told Mashable that the company is “trying to figure out” how it can pay out bitcoin bonuses and aims to get the program in place by the end of the year.

Under the scheme, Overstock employees will be incentivised to accept their bonuses in bitcoin by offering a premium over cash payments.

Bagley told CoinDesk:

“The first step will be to offer to pay employees their annual bonuses in bitcoin. Those will be paid out during the first quarter of 2015. Participation will be incentivized by adding a small premium to the bonus for those who opt to receive it in bitcoin. Depending on how that works out and is received, we will look at making regular payroll checks available in bitcoin.”

In January of this year, Overstock became the first major retailer to accept bitcoin payments, with CEO Patrick Byrne telling CoinDesk that cost was the key driver behind the company’s decision to embrace bitcoin via a partnership with Coinbase.

Bitcoin sales news

Bagley also told Mashable that Overstock’s the most popular items bought with bitcoin were “sheets”, while bitcoin sales had reached $2m “just recently”.

Overstock’s bitcoin sales passed the $1m mark on the 4th of March, while, Byrne announced that the company had processed a total of $1.6m in bitcoin purchases by late May.

A glance at the figures reveals that Overstock had more bitcoin purchases in the first two months of bitcoin sales than it did in the last five months.

Overstock’s initial projections for sales processed with bitcoin were $3-5m this year, but that figure was revised to $10-15m in March. At this point, it seems the original projection might be more realistic.

Bullish on bitcoin

Although bitcoin sales have failed to hit Bryne’s optimistic forecast, the company is still committed to bitcoin and seems keen to introduce policies that encourage bitcoin adoption.

A month ago, Byrne said Overstock would start offering “special deals” to vendors willing to be paid in bitcoin. The deals could involve discounts and favourable terms. Byrne also revealed Overstock may offer its employees the option to get paid in bitcoin, so the bonus scheme could be just the first step in this process.

In addition to supporting vendors and employees who opt for bitcoin, Overstock also pledged to donate 3% of its bitcoin profits to organisations that promote cryptocurrencies.

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