eBay CEO Jamie Iannone’s recent comments about cryptocurrency, as cryptic as they were, caused a stir. Monday’s CNBC interview was not the first time eBay expressed interest in crypto, but together with the CEO’s comments about NFTs, it led to speculation about eBay’s plans.
Iannone told CNBC that as eBay rolls out managed payments, it’s expanding the types of payments it accepts including Apple Pay and Google Pay, which provides more choice for buyers. “We’ll continue to look at other options like cryptocurrency.” (Apple Pay and Google Pay are digital wallets that allow users to pay with various payment methods.)
“You know, one of the great things about eBay is when there’s a new trend, it just shows up on eBay,” he continued. “That’s what we’re seeing in areas like NFT, which we’re looking at how can we explore that better.”
Asked if those comments indicated eBay was getting into the NFT business, Iannone said eBay was looking at it and exploring opportunities for how they could enable it on eBay in an easy way. “There’s parts that are already transacting on eBay,” he said; eBay is looking at how to take out friction from the experience.
You can read more about NFTs (non-fungible tokens) in this article for online sellers in EcommerceByts Update from last month.
eBay had embraced cryptocurrency in in 2019 when Facebook helped launched the Libra initiative, later rebranded Diem, but like some other founding members, eBay backed out later that year, saying that while it highly respected the vision of the Libra Association, “At this time, we are focused on rolling out eBay’s managed payments experience for our customers.”
It’s probably difficult for a company to admit they’re not looking at cryptocurrency and NFTs given the level of interest and as companies like PayPal, eBay’s former payments subsidiary, has already launched Checkout with Crypto. Iannone spoke only in generalities about eBay’s plans or progress in crypto or NFTs in the CNBC interview.