Forbes reporter Kashmir Hill posted a profile story on Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne on Friday, and according to that story Byrne’s company has already processed about 4,000 Bitcoin orders for $870,000 in the last month.
Overstock made headlines worldwide last month by announcing that it would begin accepting Bitcoin payments, and $100,000 in Bitcoin sales went through in those first 24 hours.
Now, Byrne is banking on Bitcoin for his own personal wealth.
“I’m holding it like I hold gold,” he told Hill. “I want a robust safety net as things play out. I’ve always had misgivings about fiat currencies. Gold was the answer but it doesn’t translate as well in the digital age.”
What’s more, Byrne said he would be happy to add other altcoin payment options to Overstock.com, just as soon as the payment processors get on board. (Hill notes neither Coinbase nor BitPay have any immediate plans to handle Litecoin or Dogecoin or any other altcoins.)
Overstock only sees profit margins of about 2-3% on its merchandise, according to the story, so Bitcoin offers the company the chance to hang onto those slim margins and not have to shave money off the top to pay credit card processors. Still, Overstock does $ 1 billion in sales annually, and while $10 million in annual Bitcoin sales would be great, that would represent a drop in the bucket.
But that’s not the point, it seems. As much as Byrne appears to be a genuine fan of cryptocurrencies, the Bitcoin press has given him the green light to spout populist libertarian rhetoric and drum up interest like an old-fashioned politician.
“We want enough people adopting Bitcoin for a robust infrastructure,” Byrne said. “It’s an act of patriotism. It gives the country a robust parallel system.”