Glyde, an eBay-like startup that lets users sell used electronics via its online marketplace, has now made bitcoin available as a payment option.
“The way we can help introduce people to bitcoin makes a lot of sense and is very exciting,” Drew Lieberman, Glyde’s CEO, said in an interview with CoinDesk.
“We want to play a part in helping to spread the word, to evangelize, and let people know about bitcoin.”
Old items for new currency
Taking an existing concept that people are already familiar with – thanks to sites like eBay – and adapting it to the world of cryptocurrency makes sense as a simple first step into bitcoin ownership.
“I think we will have a portion of our current customer base that is familiar with bitcoin. This is a great opportunity for them to say, ‘Yeah, now here’s a tangible way I can get bitcoin’,” Lieberman said.
“They don’t have to dip into their pocket and pay to get bitcoin.”
Bitcoin seems like a natural progression for the company, offering a new and innovative type of reimbursement option, according to Lieberman. “That’s consistent with the Glyde DNA – trying to streamline transactions and streamline commerce,” he said.
Many of Glyde’s customers will have sunk costs associated with their now-unwanted devices. If the bitcoin exchanged for the electronics eventually goes up in value, this could be a way to recoup some of that lost expenditure, as well as an easy way to own a few BTC.
“We’re providing them a way to get bitcoin, and we think that bitcoin has great potential … it’s removing friction and barriers in the way that people conduct commerce,” said Lieberman.
Implementing bitcoin payments
Glyde is using Coinbase as the mechanism via which the site’s sellers are paid bitcoin. That’s different than the regular clientele for Coinbase, which is usually merchant customers accepting bitcoin as a payment method – that is, with Glyde transactions, the bitcoin is coming out of, not going into, the Coinbase system.
Lieberman told CoinDesk this means Glyde will be paying Coinbase commissions to translate fiat money into bitcoin, but that it will be worth it:
“We thought Coinbase was a substantial player, but also this makes it as easy as possible for users to move into the bitcoin ecosystem.”
When explaining the technical implementation, Lieberman said providing bitcoin payments via Coinbase to the Glyde platform was “not particularly problematic”.
A little background
Glyde, which calls itself a “peer-to-peer e-commerce marketplace”, was formed in 2006, while the beta version of its website was launched at the end of 2009.
Given that Glyde works in a similar manner to eBay’s ‘Buy It Now’ functionality, it is perhaps not surprising that the site has employed a number of former eBay veterans – including Lieberman, who once worked at eBay Motors.
Yet while eBay has primarily targeted auction-style sales for a multitude of items, Glyde’s strategy has been to focus on matching buyers and sellers of higher-end products.
Lieberman said the site’s biggest sellers are smartphones and tablets.
Glyde, which is based in the Silicon Valley epicenter of Palo Alto, has received a generous amount of venture capital funding. According to CrunchBase, it has garnered a total of $27m in two rounds, which included investors such as Charles River Ventures and RPM Ventures.
The company has already carried out 500,000 transactions, worth $20m during its existence, according to Lieberman.
How it works
The Glyde marketplace is very simple to use. Firstly, an item is listed by answering questions that include the exact specifications of the device. Glyde then displays a recommended price for the item – although sellers do have the opportunity to set their own. When this process is completed, the device is posted on the site.
When a buyer opts to purchase an item, the seller will be sent a notification and shortly afterwards will receive a packaging box from Glyde – of the correct size and complete with the buyer’s shipping information – in the US Postal Service mail.
To mitigate any sort of security issues that could occur by passing on used devices – potentially packed with sensitive personal or business information – instructions on how to securely wipe the devices clean are also sent to the seller.
Once the item is received, the buyer then has 48 hours to decide whether the item is satisfactory, and the funds – which are now, of course, payable in bitcoin – are then released to the seller.
So, rather than leaving those ageing devices to slowly lose all their value in your desk drawer, Glyde could be a convenient way to find them a new home – and make a little bitcoin in the process.
Disclaimer: This article should not be viewed as an endorsement of the Glyde marketplace. Do conduct your own research before considering investing any funds in the service.
Online shopping image via Shutterstock.