One of the biggest hurdles that all cryptocurrencies first face is merchant acceptance. Without it, consumer adoption is constrained.
Online marketplace Overstock.com says it continues to support cryptocurrency acceptance through an integration with digital asset exchange Shapeshift, a move that allows customers to use alternative currencies like Ethereum, Lifecoin, Dash, Monero and the new Bitcoin Cash for conversion to bitcoin to buy products online.
The announcement comes at a time when retailers generally remain skeptical about accepting bitcoin and other digital currencies on their sites. Overstock bucked that trend three years ago when it began accepting bitcoin.
Overstock had shown a penchant for supporting new technology such as in 2013 when it accepted Visa's then-new V.me digital wallet, which eventually became Visa Checkout.
“Overstock is pro-freedom, including the freedom of individuals to communicate information about value and scarcity without relying on a medium created through the fiat of unaccountable government mandarins," said Overstock CEO and founder Patrick M. Byrne in a Tuesday press release. "For that reason, we have been an early proponent and adopter of cryptocurrencies.”
ShapeShift has provided "an elegant way for users of any digital currency to transact seamlessly and privately across chains, and we’re excited to harness that ability to the benefit of our customers,” Byrne added.
In its role, Shapeshift converts digital currencies between different coin types, moving funds to designated addresses with a blockchain record of the transaction acting as both the order and the receipt.
During checkout on Overstock.com, customers will select a preferred cryptocurrency and submit the order before being prompted to transfer the funds, in the same manner as using a digital wallet. Overstock will then utilize ShapeShift technology to convert cryptocurrency purchases into bitcoin.
Bitcoin got a mainstream boost two years ago when bitcoin wallet provider Coinbase and USAA agreed to provide the technology to USAA customers. But the movement and use of cryptocurrencies in commerce has generally remained flat or wavered, depending on the value of the highly volatile currency options.
Because of recent customer demand, Coinbase agreed last week to allow its users to withdraw the new currency, or digital asset, called Bitcoin Cash, starting in 2018. In a blog post to its users, Coinbase said it needed time to develop technology to safely support the movement of Bitcoin Cash.