eBay Playing the Future Card as It Prepares to Unveil Strategy for Crypto and NFTs

Global e-commerce marketplace eBay says it will unveil its grand plan for cryptocurrency payments and NFTs in its upcoming investor conference in March.
Image source: eDesk

Quick take:

  • eBay says it will reveal its grand plan for cryptocurrencies at the upcoming investor conference on March 10.
  • The company revealed that sellers are already using its platform to make money from NFTs.
  • The online retail marketplace has endured a tough campaign in recent years amid Amazon’s dominance.

Although eBay came before Amazon, the e-commerce marketplace has failed to replicate the exponential growth experienced by its domestic rival. Amazon’s annual revenue for the most recent fiscal year was $386 billion while eBay’s equivalent was just over $10 billion.

That’s roughly 38:1 in revenue. Yet, looking at the market valuations of both companies, the difference is even bigger, implying that despite Amazon’s stock price, investors still think it offers a better return on investment in the long term. Amazon has a market cap of about $1.55 trillion whereas eBay’s is just under $32 billion, reflecting a ratio of 48:1. 

eBay has lost nearly 38% in market value over the last four months after hitting a new all-time high of $81.19.

eBay price performance in the last 9 months

Whereas Amazon has focused on diversification, both vertically and horizontally, eBay stuck with improving pricing mechanisms and technology to reward sellers with higher returns. Its plan has not worked, as well as, Amazon’s which now offers among other services, Web services, video streaming services, retail pharma, car retail and grocery store chains, among others.

Yet, eBay still seems to be committed to improving payment integration mechanisms to attract more merchants to its platform. In a recent interview with the Street, eBay CEO Jamie Iannone said the company will unveil its plan for crypto payments at the upcoming investor conference on March 10. 

Iannone said the company has already integrated various payment services including Google Pay, Apple Pay, and the Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) app, Afterpay in Australia.

“We’re just completing our transition to manage payments where we’re now managing $85 billion of volume on our platform directly,” Iannone told TheStreet, adding that it gives the company the ability to open new forms of payment.

He stressed that the platform is specifically targeting millennials and generation Z with the new raft of payment options, which he said the company will expound on further during the investor conference.

Iannone identified Sneakers as one interesting product that could attract generation Z to the platform. 

“we’re appealing to the younger generation, where they’re coming in selling their sneakers, becoming a collectible collector on the platform, and they’re building new marketing capabilities,” Iannone argued.

Sneakers have become a hit in the NFT industry with the likes of Nike and StockX already involved in a lawsuit. 

Iannone said users are already selling NFTs on the platform although eBay has never officially announced that it supports NFTs.

Asked whether this means the platform support cryptocurrency payments, he said eBay does not currently accept crypto payments. But “on March 10, we’re going to go deeper on all of these things, payments, advertising, our focus categories.”

However, he pointed out that the platform changed its policy last year to accommodate NFTs.

“We did change our policies last year so that you could trade NFT on the platform and essentially, you know, eBay is a place where people have something to sell and people have something by show up.”

eBay is betting on products that are synonymous with the younger generation of consumers to drive its future growth.

NFTs are among the trending buzzwords in the technology space. It explains why the company has demonstrated flexibility despite failing to make an official announcement regarding NFTs.

“eBay will be the place where people trade goods, whether they be physical or digital. So over time, you know, we want this to be the marketplace for sustainability,” he concluded, referring to a question regarding the long-term plan for NFTs.

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