Overstock.com planning to accept Bitcoins in 2014

Overstock.com is set to become the first major online retailer to accept Bitcoin as a payment method in 2014.

The company CEO Patrick Byrne told the Los Angeles Times that the firm will start to accept the digital currency in the second half of 2014 and could do so within the next four months and wants to do so to provide customers with another option.

"I think we'll pick up market share," he told the LA Times, "the market share of people who'd prefer to pay in Bitcoin, with an honest currency.”

Overstock.com takes in around $1 billion [£610 million] of annual revenue by reselling products and merchandise from other stores. It will follow the likes of Reddit, OkCupid, Ouya, Virgin Galactic and the University of Nicosia in accepting the currency.

Byrne will attempt to combat Bitcoin’s notorious volatility by converting the currency as soon as it arrives following a transaction so as to not expose the company to problems it could throw up.

"We'll want to avoid any currency exposure by converting Bitcoins to dollars as soon as they come in,” Byrne confirmed.

Bitcoin hit the headlines in September when the FBI shuttered the Silk Road marketplace and realised that almost the entirety of founder Ross Ulbricht’s fortune of £49.7 million was held in Bitcoins.

Since then its value has skyrocketed and was at one point worth as much as $1,200 [£730] after the US government began a consultation to look at the future of Bitcoin and other similar currencies. This was followed by a dramatic collapse that saw the value fall to $600 [£360] per Bitcoin.

Byrne thinks that one of the hurdles to wider Bitcoin acceptance lies in the fact that no major retailer currently accepts it and now that Overstock.com is accepting them it's widely believed to be Byrne’s attempt to make Overstock.com the one that helps wider acceptance.