Overstock’s Bitcoin Purchases Account For Less Than 1% Of Revenue, But It’s Growing

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Since Overstock.com started to accept Bitcoin as a purchase currency, the company has received a good press for its efforts to support the nascent cryptocurrency. Working with Coinbase to process Bitcoin, Overstock.com announced that it crossed the million-dollar sale mark in the currency earlier this month.

A report out this morning better details how Overstock.com is faring with Bitcoin now that the novelty of its acceptance of the digital payment method has cooled. After the day one sales number, according to Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne, Bitcoin has settled in the “$20k to $30k” range, and is “gradually increasing from there.”

Let’s use the $30,000 sum, given that the company is seeing a ramp in the numbers, and if we are going to predict revenue we might as well give ourselves some room to wiggle. Let’s find out if Bitcoin is moving the needle for the company.

For calendar 2013, Overstock.com had revenue of $1.304 billion. Given that the company’s revenue is quite seasonal, we don’t want to use a fourth-quarter number to compare current Bitcoin sales run rates. So let’s take the quarterly average for the company as a starting point. That gives us a 90-day figure of $326 million, or $3.6 million per day.

$30,000 next to $3.6 million is a very small drop in the bucket. In fact, it works out to 0.83 percent. After the Sturm und Drang of the Bitcoin integration, the dollar amount is somewhat minor.

Now, its early days for both Bitcoin itself and even Overstock.com’s integration thereof, so don’t take the above as indicative of failure. More that the network for Bitcoin purchases remains modest, despite Bitcoin itself having a very high market cap.

I’ve been looking at Bitcoin volume for some time. Food for thought: Total Bitcoin in circulation is worth $7.9 billion. In the past 24 hours, Bitcoin had volume of only $18.5 million. That’s about 0.23 percent daily turnover. Picking a random stock, say, Groupon, we see that its volume as a percentage of its similar market cap is 3.7 percent daily. That’s about 16 times as much as Bitcoin sees. I think this is the impact of having around half of all Bitcoin owned by fewer than 1,000 people.

That wealth concentration means that the number of people who have enough Bitcoin to purchase items at Overstock.com is smaller than you might expect. That said, the larger Bitcoin network — so far as I can tell — is growing daily. So, expect to see Overstock.com move six figures a day in Bitcoin sales by the holiday season.

IMAGE BY FLICKR USER MARCEL GRIEDER UNDER CC BY 2.0 LICENSE (IMAGE HAS BEEN CROPPED)