Online retail giant Overstock reported a total of $117,000 in losses for its cryptocurrency investments in the first quarter of 2015. According to the company’s earnings report, its cryptocurrency holdings fell in value from $340,000 to $233,000 during the reporting period.
Recent price declines in bitcoin were probably one of the biggest factors for the loss, as the company holds as much as 10% of its proceeds in the cryptocurrency. In its latest SEC filing, the company noted that it receives all bitcoin payments via a third party denominated in US dollars.
At present we do not accept bitcoin payments directly, but use a third party vendor to accept bitcoin payments on our behalf. That third party vendor then immediately converts the bitcoin payments into US dollars so that we receive payment for the product sold at the sales price in US dollars,” the company indicated.
Overstock cryptocurrency group general manager Judd Bagley confirmed that the cryptocurrency losses were mostly due to the price swings among digital currencies, not just bitcoin. “We’ve invested in other cryptocurrencies over time, and for the purposes of the SEC filing, we lump them all together,” he continued.
Despite that, the company remains deeply invested in cryptocurrency-related products and ideas. Recall that the company also has plans to issue “cryptosecurites” or bonds that are based on blockchain technology.
Overstock is aware of the risks associated with holding cryptocurrencies and its legal ramifications. The company also noted that penalties for non-compliance with local laws governing cryptocurrencies could “negatively impact” the business.
“In the future, we may transact in cryptocurrency directly or increase our cryptocurrency holdings,” the filing states, as Overstock reaffirmed that it will continue to be long on its investment in bitcoin as a speculative asset. “This will subject us to additional exchange risk and other risks as described above, which may have an adverse effect on our results.”