Cryptocurrencies and their use for payments have become interesting topics across the market for a while now. With digital assets already proving themselves to be viable investments and ways of transferring money, many wonder when the crypto payment revolution will kick-off.
Now, it appears to be in full effect. Some top companies are starting to embrace the idea of using crypto for payments, and eBay is joining the list.
Everything Comes Full-Circle
eBay is one of the oldest and biggest online eCommerce platforms in the world. The eCommerce giant has been looking to expand its market and target more Gen Z and millennial customers, and it appears to be using crypto as a bridge to get to these people.
Speaking with The Street in late February, Jamie Iannone, the chief executive of eBay, confirmed that the company is looking to integrate crypto payments soon. The CEO explained that eBay has been looking to integrate crypto for a while now and that they've finally made progress on that front. To that end, an announcement is expected to come out from eBay in March detailing their plans to bring in crypto payments.
Explaining the reason for the shift, Iannone pointed out that eBay is looking to attract younger customers. These people are the future, and they already understand the need for convenient payments in eCommerce. So, millennials and Gen Zers are more likely to shift to platforms that allow them to pay using crypto.
eBay's shift also appears to come from a need to innovate. As Iannone explained, the platform already manages up to $85 billion in transaction volumes directly. No, they believe that transitioning to a new payment model will help to broaden their platform's resilience while also attracting new users.
Iannone also explained that eBay had noticed an increase in the selling of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) on its platform. eBay changed its policy last year to support the trading of anything - whether it be a physical item or a digital asset. As a result, NFT sales have skyrocketed on the platform. The company has yet to put out infrastructure for supporting NFT transactions, but that won't be much of a stretch.
eBay Has Flirted With Crypto Before
For a long time, eBay has had an affinity with cryptocurrencies and digital asset projects. The company was one of the first to join the Libra Association- the governing body for the stablecoin project launched by Meta (formerly Facebook) in 2019. Even after the asset started to ruffle feathers and get a lot of pushback, eBay remained with the Association. Ultimately, Libra - after being renamed to Diem - shut its operations in early January 2022.
The company has also had a long history of exploring cryptocurrencies for its own business. In May 2021, Iannone told CNBC that the company was looking at payment options like crypto - as well as finding ways to enable NFT transactions and sales on its platform.
"One of the great things about eBay is when there's a new trend, it just shows up on eBay. That's what we're seeing in areas like NFT, which we're looking at how can we explore that better," Iannone said at the time.
Following the statement, eBay was also reported to have taken out ads at the Consensus Blockchain Conference, adding more speculation to the possibility of integrating crypto into its payment systems. However, a spokesperson soon told media outlets that eBay wasn't looking to crypto at the time.
The Payment Age Is Here
Now that Iannone has confirmed that eBay will be integrating crypto, it looks like digital assets might truly be ready to take the next leap. Amazon- the world's leading online retailer - is also rumored to be working on launching a digital currency. The company has not made any specific pronouncement, but a digital currency appears to be one of the major points of action for new CEO Andy Jassy.
Then, there's Tesla. The world's most valuable automaker started accepting dogecoin for merchants at its official store in January. The company is also rumored to be working on a supercharging station where people will be able to use the leading meme coin as a payment method.
Like crypto for investments, it might take a while for crypto payments to finally reach their potential. However, many in the industry are committed to ensuring that cryptocurrencies become more fully accepted as a payment class.