Earlier this week, media reports suggested that eBay could be readying support for virtual currencies and digital collectables.
Promotional ads were spotted at the Consensus conference, which took place in New York. This got crypto fanboys and girls very excited; if legitimate, they enthused, the move would be a huge boost for the space, opening it up to millions of buyers.
eBay has since denied any such plans, according to a Bloomberg report. But now is the time for the company to put its cryptocurrency where its mouth is, according to ParcelHero’s Head of Consumer Research, David Jinks. “The final adoption of cryptocurrencies by eBay or Amazon has long been prophesied. Yet there are good reasons why it has never happened. Only 8.16% of Bitcoin investors say they plan on using Bitcoin “for transaction or repurchases”. Instead 21.81% described it as a long-term store of value, like gold or silver,” he says.
The problem, he reckons, has been highly volatile values, which are not tolerable for most online retailers. And transactions can take hours to validate, which is no use for people trying to buy things. Nonetheless, eBay has been interested in this space for some time now, with Scott Cutler, Senior Vice President of eBay Americas stating well over a year ago that crypto payments could be part of its future plans.
“This is a trend that everybody is talking about, but sadly, at eBay, we don’t currently accept Bitcoin as a form of payment. We’re seriously considering it as these cryptocurrencies become more of a mainstream payment instrument, but we’re not quite there yet,” Cutler commented.
Now it seems the answer to the issues of currency fluctuation and transaction time might lie in a third-party payment platform, similar to eBay’s relationship with PayPal. “A former eBay exec helped build Utrust just such a payment system,” says Jinks. “Retailers using Utrust can accept several cryptocurrencies at once and payments can be instantly converted to fiat currency, protecting traders from market volatility. That might make it the tool needed to tame cryptocurrencies enough to make sense for eBay.”
“Of course, there are more cryptocurrencies on the blockchain than just Bitcoin. Binance is also rumoured to be taking part in discussions with eBay. It too may form part of eBay’s strategy to embrace a spread of cryptocurrencies,” Jinks concludes.
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