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SALT LAKE CITY — Bitcoin, the online virtual currency is relatively new and still only accepted on a limited basis, but Utah-based company, Overstock.com is embracing the alternative form of payment and turning big profits.
On any given day, thousands of purchases made online leave the Salt Lake City warehouse of Overstock.com and head to destinations nationwide. In the past month, sales have spiked since adding Bitcoin as a payment option.
"We just crossed the $1 million mark in (Bitcoin) purchases," said Overstock.com CEO and Chairman, Patrick Byrne.
Overstock.com now projects $10-15 million in new sales this year from customers using the virtual currency. Byrne said the decision to add Bitcoin as a payment option was easy.
"Not only has it been good from a morale point of view, it's been great for the new customers we've gotten," Byrne said. "We're getting great new customers that spend a lot of money."
Bitcoin is still only accepted in on a very limited basis, but Alan Walker, and Bitcoin Community Organizer believes that will eventually change.
“I think we're ahead of the game," Walker said. "Utah has great entrepreneurial and because of that there's a lot of people looking into it."
On each transaction, a business saves about 3 percent because they don’t pay bank fees related to debit and credit card use. As a Bitcoin Community Organizer, Walker travels the state educating people on how to use the currency and what to do if problems arise.
However, on Friday, Mt. Gox, the world’s largest Bitcoin Exchange collapsed after hackers allegedly made off with almost half a billion dollars. Walker said there is always the possibility for human error, but the actual technology is not to blame.
"It's like someone losing a suitcase of money and blaming money for it," Walker said. "The idea of electronic money is absolutely here to stay."
The belief supported by those at Overstock.com.
"It's been flawless," Byrne said. "It's an absolutely flawless technology.