What do you do when you buy a cool new piece in a drop off a NFT platform, only to realize that the platform is brand new and doesn’t even support secondary transactions? Well, today, May 11, 2021, eBay officially announced that they are expanding into NFTs. So, their answer is “You sell it on eBay, of course!” We aren’t totally convinced that is the right answer to the question, as it is sort of akin to the classifieds section of the local newspaper — eBay is nearly approaching its 30s as a technology.
In eBay’s words:
eBay Expanding Into NFTs
eBay has always been the world’s destination for buying and selling the most unique and hard-to-find items – and we’ll continue to be the destination for collectors of all kinds, physical or digital. This opportunity unlocks new assets for collecting, new ways for people to fuel their passion, and expands eBay’s appeal to a new generation of collectors.
Our open platform is a big part of why eBay is so successful, and that won’t change. NFTs offer greater access to a broader audience of collectors and creators. In the same way digital publishing brought more exposure for writers, digital collectibles bring greater opportunity for artists and creators. We plan to double down on this idea – combining eBay’s global reach with the principle that anyone can find almost anything on our platform. This premise is what makes NFTs on eBay so exciting, and why we want to partner with creators, sellers and brands who share our commitment to maintaining an open marketplace.
With this in mind, today we are updating eBay’s policy to include the sale of NFTs. In the short term, NFT inventory will be provided by trusted sellers who meet our high standards, across categories like trading cards, music, entertainment and art.
This news doesn’t come as a major surprise to NFT Culture, as NFTs had already been appearing on the online sales platform. Some NFT Culture staff had already used eBay for NFT purchases of VeVe collectibles, as the secondary market for VeVe is not currently available. We are not surprised that people would seek to use eBay as an alternative means of monetization of a scarce asset.
This is a very forward looking development by eBay, and they seem to be intent on expanding their reach in the NFT space in the future, through improved processes, better transaction experiences, and improving buyer and seller confidence.
What is unclear is whether eBay will ever implement direct transfers via blockchain transactions into their sales infrastructure, or if they will continue to rely on the trust between buyers and sellers. It’s also unclear of where eBay will stand in the marketplace if fewer and fewer NFT platforms roll out on bespoke blockchains that aren’t well supported with a marketplace. It’s possible that eBay will become obsolete quickly after it is eventually able to realize its vision. This impending obsolesence is made all the more impending by virtue of the coming gas price reductions of the Ethereum platform thanks to Eth 2.0.
In any case, we are excited that eBay, a large corporate entity, is recognizing the value potential of the NFT space.