eBay and virtual currency - what could possibly go wrong, cynics might ask after reading today's reports about the company's messaging at the Consensus cryptocurrency conference in New York.
CCN has an overview
* of what the fuss is about after reports surfaced this morning, including images of eBay signs that read:
- Virtual Currency. It's happening on eBay.
- Reach 179 million active buyers in the world's largest marketplace.
- Digital Collectibles. It's happening on eBay.
eBay used to ban the sale of all digital goods, but it eased up on that restriction in recent years. In August, we reported eBay was actively working on digital goods
after executive Manish Belsare touted his work on an initiative to launch digital goods and subscriptions on eBay.
eBay has a category called Virtual & Crypto Collectibles under Collectibles & Art > Collectibles. It's full of a lot of physical items both related and unrelated to virtual currencies. For example, a seller lists "Crypto Novelty Souvenir Coins" for under $10 and makes it clear "they are only for collectors and for novelty purposes." (The seller also warns shoppers: "Other Sellers are listing these individually for hundreds of dollars, pretending they are the ACTUAL virtual currency or of some crazy monetary value; but they are only for collectors and for novelty purposes.")
The category also contains listings for digital goods such as a digital card that "can only be transferred to you if you have the Topps Walking dead app."
Many think eBay missed the boat on digital goods. But virtual currencies on eBay would be more surprising - there are still a lot of reports about crypto-related fraud in the news. Perhaps we'll learn more about eBay's plans coming out of this week's conference (see second update below). Its move to take over payment processing from PayPal would theoretically give it more freedom to experiment with such "currencies."
How do you think Digital Collectibles and Virtual Currency on eBay would work? Would such a move provide an opportunity for sellers, or do you see greater risk to sellers?
*Updated to fix typo (from CNN to CCN)
eBay provided EcommerceBytes with the following statement: "Cryptocurrency is not accepted as a form of payment on the eBay platform, nor is it part of our payments strategy. Our payment options can be found here
The ad appears to be a reference to the fact that eBay has physical items for sale that are related to virtual currency. Do a search for "crypto mining equipment" and you'll find some high-priced items in categories such as: Coins & Paper Money > Virtual Currency > Miners.
Crypto Mining Rig for $3,950, anyone? How about an Ethereum miner for $149,000?
Sadly for conference attendees, virtual currency not accepted.