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A pair of interviews with Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne this week shed a bit more light on plans for the company that does US$1.5 billion in sales and helped boost Bitcoin into mainstream awareness via acceptance earlier this year.
- Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne
On Tuesday, Byrne appeared on RT’s “Boom and Bust” with Erin Ade to talk about how Bitcoin is doing within Overstock’s business.
You can see the whole video here, and we will embed it below, too.
The big news from that interview that Byrne himself broke is that Overstock plans to open up Bitcoin payments to international customers by around September (“a month to six weeks”). Ade asked Byrne how Bitcoin integration had gone, and he said Bitcoin “is the first [payment system Overstock has used] I can think of where there have been no hiccups at all.”
He also told Ade that merchant adoption and customer adoption are going to be a chicken-egg problem until eventually something tips and both begin to adopt Bitcoin at a much faster rate.
“We like to think that we broke the ice,” he said of Overstock.
Ade also pushed him for an anti-authoritarian-sounding quote by asking what the government’s role in “e-currencies” might be. Byrne obliged:
“If you’ve got an e-currency that’s limited by the rules of mathematics … I’m not sure what the role of government is.”
(Note to mainstream journalists: Stop asking these questions. You reveal more about yourselves than you do your interviewees.)
Here is the full interview:
Overstock also posted an informative page to its own website Tuesday under the headline “How to issue a cryptosecurity.”
Mostly, the page just rounds up examples of projects working on cryptosecurities such as Bitshares and CounterParty. Everything after that is simply posed as a question: “Do cryptosecurities of necessity create a different set of shareholder rights or, of necessity, a different class of shares? Or can they simply be common stock such as that which a company has already issued?”
Wired then ran a piece Wednesday titled “Overstock’s Radical Plan to Reinvent the Stock Market With Bitcoin.”
While Overstock.com has “waged a war to expose Wall Street mischief,” according to the company itself, let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves. “Before we decide if we want to issue a cryptosecurity, we want to figure out if it’s possible,” Byrne told Wired.
Cade Metz, the reporter for Wired, stated:
“But Overstock has already held extensive discussions with a company called CounterParty, which offers software that could help drive such a cryptosecurity, and if he decides this kind of thing is possible, he intends to ‘open source’ a blueprint of his plan, so that any other company can make use of it.”
What becomes of those plans remains to be seen. However, it is clear that Byrne is doing as much as anyone in the mainstream business space to combat fiat money and promote blockchain technologies as a reliable way of doing business.
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