Overstock's bitcoin mix-up serves as a warning to other retailers

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As new cryptocurrencies swarm the market, retailers have to be disciplined in which they accept — if any.

Overstock is a longtime supporter of bitcoin, but this treatment shouldn't necessarily apply to bitcoin cash, a less-pricey offshoot of the popular digital currency. Overstock made a costly error recently by confusing the two, security analyst Brian Krebs reports.

At today’s rates, a bitcoin is worth approximately $15,000 while bitcoin cash is just $2,700. Krebs was able to purchase a set of three outdoor solar lamps from Overstock for $78.27, but was able to pay for them using bitcoin cash using the price listed for the original bitcoin. This allowed him to spend just $12.02 by using the newer cryptocurrency.

Overstock’s cryptocurrency partner, Coinbase, told Krebs: “The issue was caused by the merchant partner improperly using the return values in our merchant integration API — no other Coinbase partner had this problem.”

However, Coinbase stated that the bug was in place for three weeks, which may have been a considerable window of opportunity for those that became aware of the Overstock glitch.

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Retailers Cryptocurrencies Bitcoin