NFT marketplaces, meet traditional e-commerce companies. We’ve seen massive auction houses like Sotheby’s host some of the biggest NFT auctions to date. Now, the everyday auction house eBay has entered the fold. They are the first traditional e-commerce company to announce their intent to integrate NFT support on their platform.
eBay’s Entrance: The Short Term
Jordan Sweetnam, SVP and GM for eBay’s North American market, said in a statement that “in the coming months, eBay will add new capabilities that will bring blockchain-driven collectables to our platform”. With initial entry into the space, eBay anticipates adding an ‘NFT inventory’. The inventory will be available to sellers that meet the company’s initial criteria, which is yet to be released. Accordingly, there is broad speculation that an NFT authentication protocol may be implemented.
The competition within NFT marketplaces has been heating up. Traditional NFT-focused marketplaces like OpenSea, Nifty Gateway, and Rarible have been generally seen as industry leaders. However, Binance recently announced their intent to open an NFT marketplace. Now eBay joins the mix as well.
How We Got Here
The company also added that new programs, policies, and tools would be implemented to address long-term engagement with NFTs on the platform. NFTs have increased in popularity this year, with NBA Top Shot moments being listed on the platform for several months. While Top Shot sales are generally centralized to the company’s native website, eBay quickly became host to secondary sales. Today, you can find various NFTs, from Top Shots, to MLB Topps cards, to VeVe NFT collectables. However, the new announcement will formalize eBay’s process around addressing how NFTs are listed.
Rising NFT star Beeple listed his first NFT in late 2020 on Nifty Gateway, selling the work for roughly 0.25 ETH (approximately $100 USD at the time of sale). However, by the first quarter of the new year, Beeple sold a record-high 38,000 ETH ($69M USD at time of sale) NFT via Christies auction. Even Beeple was surprised, making headlines for his appearance on CNN where he stated that the NFT hype had elements of a “bubble”.
eBay & Crypto
The NFT news comes just a week after the company announced that it was open to the possibility of accepting crypto as a form of payment. Additionally, crypto acceptance on eBay has been a root of speculation for many years, with little traction gained until recently.
Despite the recent news, no firm timeline or explicit plans around cryptocurrency in particular have been released from eBay as of yet.