Want to Take Bitcoin and other Cryptocurrencies as Payment? There's an API for that

Overstock has announced the integration of its online marketplace with ShapeShift to offer customers use of all major cryptocurrencies. ShapeShift is a cryptocurrency exchange platform that allows users to swap between leading blockchain assets. Overstock is using the ShapeShift API, a RESTful API that makes it possible for applications to accept cryptocurrencies as payment as well as swap leading blockchain assets. Thanks to the integration with ShapeShift, Overstock customers can now pay for purchases with Bitcoin Cash, Dash, Ethereum, Litecoin, Monero, and many other assets. Overstock has been a proponent and adopter of cryptocurrencies for quite some time. The company has accepted bitcoin as payment for purchases since 2014.

While Overstock is using the ShapeShift API to provide customers multiple cryptocurrency options, many smaller retailers have integrated ShapeShift's Shifty Button tool with applications to accept bitcoin payments or deposits. The tool can also be used to accept other Blockchain assets. The Shifty Button can be installed in applications by adding a small snippet of HTML code. ShapeShift also offers a Skeleton Tool for websites so that users can buy or sell digital assets and cryptocurrencies without having to leave the site.

"Many smaller retailers have integrated with our Shifty Button tool since it is a bit easier to install," Emily, chief marketing officer at ShapeShift, told ProgrammableWeb. "They normally have already been accepting bitcoin but want an easy way to accept other digital assets, and that tool option is a very simple snippet of code."

While the Shifty Button is easy to install, the ShapeShift API provides developers more capabilities beyond converting altcoin to bitcoins, and the API allows applications to provide a seamless, unbranded coin conversion process. Applications integrated with the Shifty Button tool display the ShapeShift brand throughout the coin conversion process. "We currently support 67 digital assets and try and add one or two more each week," said Emily. "Any merchant that integrates with our service can choose to support them all or cherrypick. The API is very flexible in this way."

We reached out to Jonathan Johnson, Medici Ventures president and Overstock.com director, who provided some insight into the integration of Overstock with ShapeShift as well as the company's interest in blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies. Johnson told ProgrammableWeb that the company chose to integrate with ShapeShift because "ShapeShift is a global leader in digital currency exchange," and that "there are few comparable exchanges that can support the scale of integration with cryptocurrencies we envisioned going into this project." Johnson further explained that "The fact that ShapeShift does this without requiring a separate account or personal information is important to us, as it helps us to further ensure our customers' personal information is kept private."

Johnson also said that Overstock started accepting bitcoin in 2014 "out of a desire to offer another convenient and secure payment option for our customers." Soon after, the company became interested in the underlying blockchain technology behind Bitcoin. "The non-fiat nature of bitcoin, together with its safety, security, and transparency struck a chord with us, and provided an immersive entrance into the blockchain world as a whole," said Johnson. "Since then, we've seen great growth in adoption and valuation of bitcoin. As other cryptocurrencies have emerged, we've continued to support both the philosophy and the use of this technology."

Johnson told ProgrammableWeb that beyond the cryptocurrency space, the company wants to advance blockchain technology in general which is why Overstock launched its subsidiary Medici Ventures in 2014. Medici Ventures is an organization that seeks to "encourage the adoption of distributed ledgers and, in so doing, advance the efficiency, security, and transparency through blockchain technology."

Janet Wagner is a technical writer and contributor to ProgrammableWeb who covers breaking news, in-depth analysis, and product reviews. She specializes in creating well-researched, in-depth content about APIs, machine learning, deep learning, computer vision, analytics, and other advanced technologies.

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