Reddit Stops Bitcoin Payment Support

Ali Raza

Some Redditors may be dismayed to learn that they will no longer be able to purchase Reddit Gold with Bitcoin payments. The popular link sharing and discussion board site discontinued its Bitcoin payment service in response to recent changes in the Bitcoin payment processing infrastructure.

The transactions were managed by Coinbase, who has recently announced a new arm of the business, Coinbase Commerce, that has been plagued with lacklustre reviews.

According to Reddit, this change within Coinbase, coupled with some bugs that users encountered when buying Gold with Bitcoin, has led them to drop the payment service. Reddit says that it will review whether or not to reactivate the service at a later date. The site will take
user demand for the payment service into account. 

Reddit is a major space for the crypto community to discuss the crypto markets and often breaking stories will be found on Reddit before anywhere else.

Since the company opened in 2005, it has garnered millions of users. As of June 2015, the total number of accounts was around 36 million.

Reddit Gold is a token by which users can access paid content, and reward each other for insightful, humorous, or simply awesome discussion. Reddit Gold costs $4 a month, or thirty bucks a year. General membership is free, and subreddits vary in topic from pictures of owls being awesome to cryptocurrency info to educational platforms and celebrity discussions.

When Reddit teamed up with Coinbase to offer the Bitcoin payment system in 2013, they did so with the hope of reaching and including users. Removing the payment option could be viewed unfavourably by users of crypto-related subs.

/r/Darknetmarkets Banned

Another move that might upset the crypto faithful is that Reddit has banned /r/Darknetmarkets. That sub was a space where users could discuss the ability and potential to purchase things anonymously online.

According to Reddit moderators, the subreddit violates their user agreement terms surrounding the propagation of information and transactions related to illegal goods. Items that fall under that policy includes drugs, sexual services, firearms, forged documents and stolen property, among others.

As other social media giants outright ban crypto ads and offerings, Reddit’s behaviour is not surprising, and may even be indicative of a softer policy on crypto than other companies are exhibiting. For now, subs /r/cryptocurrency and /r/blockchain and /r/Bitcoin are still alive and well.

Overstock CEO Sells Shares in His Company to Invest in Blockchain Projects

Patrick Byrne, the chief executive officer of Overstock.com (OSTK), has recently lashed out at investors who questioned his sale of 900,000 of his ‘founders shares’ in the company. Justifying his move, he revealed he needed the funds to invest in blockchain projects.

According to Business Insider, Byrne recently sent a letter to shareholders after the company’s stock prices plunged over 21% this week to their lowest since 2012, after he revealed he sold 500,000 of his shares earlier this week.

On Friday, the CEO revealed he sold an additional 400,000 shares, meaning he sold over 15% of his stake in the company. Although Overstock’s shares recovered on Friday, May 17, Byrne’s letter to shareholders was notable. In it, he wrote:

I simply had to supplement my nominal salary with stock sales in order to fulfill personal commitments to invest personally in blockchain projects such as Medici Land Governance, along with a need to meet charitable pledges.

The CEO added that he doesn’t plan on giving such an explanation again, justifying that he owes shareholders “staying within the law and not making decisions based on inside information, not explanations of my life and projects outside Overstock.”

He noted that the “unanticipated stir” caused by his sale was unexpected, and added “I had no idea that shareholders would demand explanations of why and how I might want to use my cash derived from my labor and my property to pursue my ends in life.”

Byrne is notably Overstock’s largest shareholder, and noted he told investors a year ago he would be making “significant sales” to fund different projects, including those related to blockchain technologies and, presumably, cryptocurrencies.

In fact, the libertarian sold 775,000 of his shares in September of last year, before this week’s sale. The stock’s price has fallen roughly 90% from its record high in January of 2018, when Overstock was benefitting from its cryptocurrency ventures and accompanying the cryptocurrency market’s performance.

In November of last year, Byrne revealed he had plans to sell Overstock’s retail business and go “all-in” on cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. The CEO’s plan would see the company focus on its fully-owned subsidiary Medici Ventures, which has been invested in blockchain-related startups, after selling its retail business.

Overstock's price performance over the last two yearsSource: Yahoo Finance

Byrne has notably been battling short sellers targeting Overstock, as the firm competes with the likes of eBay and Amazon. Financial analytics firm S3 Partners has estimated short bets against it stand at $157 million, or 50% of its float. This makes it more targeted by short sellers than 99% of companies in the U.S.

Despite the company’s performance on exchanges, Overstock has since launched its tZERO security trading platform, and was one of the first companies to pay a “portion” of its taxes using bitcoin in Ohio.