BY CADE METZ 09.11.14 | 9:20 AM | PERMALINK
Ariel Zambelich/WIRED. Coin design: Gail Anderson + Joe Newton
Overstock.com was the first major online retailer to embrace bitcoin, accepting payments in the digital currency here in the U.S. beginning in early January. And now, it’s the first to accommodate bitcoin across the globe.
Early this morning, the Salt Lake City-based company started accepting bitcoin payments in all foreign countries. Anyone anywhere can now use the digital currency to purchase anything offered by Overstock, from phone accessories to lawn furniture—though there are certain countries where the company doesn’t ship purchases. “As long as you can get on the internet, you can order and pay in bitcoin,” says Overstock founder and CEO Patrick Byrne. “You can order in North Korea if you want—as long as you’re having things delivered to, say, Singapore.”
Online retailers Newegg and TigerDirect already accept bitcoin in both the U.S. and Canada, and smaller operations use bitcoin for international transactions, but Overstock, a company with $1.3 billion in annual sales, is stretching the reach of the digital currency still farther. Many questions hover over the future of bitcoin, a new type of money overseen by software running on across a vast network of machines. It’s still unclear how the governments of the world will regulate use of the currency. But it continues to evolve.