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EBay CEO Hints at Crypto Payments, NFT Sales

But don’t hold your breath: “We have no immediate plans,” a spokesperson said of crypto payments following Jamie Iannone’s appearance on CNBC.

May 3, 2021 at 3:55 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 12:50 p.m. UTC

E-commerce giant eBay is looking at crypto as a payments option, CEO Jamie Iannone told CNBC Monday.

It could preview the online auctioneer’s return to crypto since abandoning Facebook’s Libra stablecoin project in 2019.

Iannone cited crypto as one form of new payment rails eBay is considering but did not give any specifics. He also said eBay is looking at how to get into the non-fungible token (NFT) game.

EBay has long sanctioned customers’ on-platform sales of bitcoin but previously balked at transactions conducted in crypto. Similarly, many NFT owners attempt to auction their digital collectibles over eBay, though transfer occurs off-platform.

“We are currently looking at a number of ways to innovate in this space and we are excited about the underlying capabilities and how blockchain-driven collectibles bring trust and authenticity, key components of a marketplace, to the digital space,” an eBay spokeswoman said in an emailed statement.

Looking at crypto does not equal supporting it, however. Former eBay CEO John Donahue said in 2014 the company was "actively considering" bitcoin integration with then-subsidiary PayPal. 

That pledge went nowhere on eBay’s end. Meanwhile, PayPal, now its own company, is gearing up to support limited merchant payments in bitcoin.

“We have no immediate plans, but it is something we are keeping an eye on,” the spokeswoman said of crypto payments.

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