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Overstock expands its bitcoin checkout system

By Nitesh Bualang
In Bitcoin
Sep 19th, 2014
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Overstock now available in over 100 Countries Worldwide

Overstock made a historic official launch of its updated e-commerce checkout system. This is a new feature that will allow shoppers to buy products in over 107 countries worldwide using bitcoin via O.com, Overstock’s international website.

This announcement spells Overstock’s first expansion of bitcoin payments beyond the US, bringing the checkout system to major global market like Israel, Brazil, Argentina, China, France, Canada, Germany and Japan. The news pops out around nine months after Overstock’s first acceptance of bitcoin this January through a partnership with Coinbase.

Overstock CEO, Patrick Byrne shared his view with CoinDesk, framing the expansion as a model to showcase bitcoin’s cross-border viability, while diversifying real shopping opportunities to the digital currencies users in untapped markets. Far from adding value to Overstock’s new international checkout system, bitcoin will play a pivotal role in the company’s larger strategy for O.com. Byrne added that the move was their international marketing strategy and hoped to see bitcoin users flock O.com knowing well that they had the way to get over 1 million products delivered to their doors wherever in the world they were.  Byrne further pledged that 4% of consumer spending using bitcoin will be donated to groups that defend and promote bitcoin adoption in order to incentivize shoppers around the globe. The Chamber of Commerce will be the first beneficiary. Perianne Boring, Chamber of Digital Commerce president told CoinDesk that her organisation was honoured. She said they would use the funds to promote universal acceptance of the global currency.

Byrne notified CoinDesk that Overstock is already vetting bitcoin organization around the globe, with the aim to create a list of groups that will benefit from the 4% incentive.

Byrne further reiterated that instead of relying on any formal marketing strategy Overstock will rely on the support of the global community to promote the launch. Their spending should see that non-profit digital currency organisations continue working. He said 4% should suffice supporting all the organizations.

The launch of the formal international bitcoin payments came nearly a fortnight after the originally scheduled September 1st launch, raising a big discussion among Reddit users in the bitcoin community. Byrne explained that the delay came due to difficulties in when integrating the new checkout process into Overstock‘s international website. He added that the launch ended the 6 months long struggle of which one was dedicated to bitcoin development.

Overstock representatives told CoinDesk that the difficulties had to be resolved and the website placed running by 4th September. Both deadline passed until now.

Overstock could reap big from accepting bitcoin as it currently receives only about 10% of its traffic from overseas. By integrating bitcoin into its checkout system, Overstock is likely to win customers who are more likely to use digital currency as their online spending mechanism. Byrne told The New York Times bitcoin payment option could add Overstock as much as $2m in additional revenue this year.

This move coincides with yesterday’s Coinbase, The California-based bitcoin services provider’s own international expansion. The payment processor is now available in 13 European countries.

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