Q&A: Overstock.com's Jonathan Johnson on integrating Bitcoin for online payments

Overstock.com embraced Bitcoin more than five years ago. The president of the company's blockchain investment subsidiary has some advice for others considering adopting cryptocurrency as a form of payment.

Early in 2014, Overstock.com became the first major retailer to begin accepting Bitcoin as a form of retail payment, and since that time it has continued to invest heavily in the cryptocurrency.

In the first day accepting the digital currency, Overstock saw a 4.33% increase in online sales, representing $126,000 of Bitcoin. Since that time, payments in the form of Bitcoin have cooled but remain steady. There are now more than a dozen major retailers who accept Bitcoin as a form of payment. While Bitcoin accounts for less than one quarter of one percent of Overstock.com's online payments, depending on day-to-day fluctuation, the company continues to see it as an important part of its retail strategy.

Jonathan Johnson is an Overstock.com board member and the president of Medici Ventures, Overstock's subsidiary responsible for advancing blockchain technology by expanding its adoption and through venture capital investments other crypto firms. Johnson admits he's a "HODLer" — someone who holds onto Bitcoin as an investment — believing that someday cryptocurrency will be as common a form of payment as government-backed fiat currency is today.

The following are responses from Johnson about why and how Overstock.com deployed its Bitcoin strategy, plus advice for other organizations considering a similar route:

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