A ‘cryptocurrency mining rig’ for $3329, a ‘Bitcoin billionaire hoodie’ for $33 or a rare ‘Bitcoin paper wallet’ for $39? All these products are listed on eBay. With the rise of the new crypto economy, the online marketplace is flooded with some genuine and some really crappy cryptocurrency products. All you need to do is type “bitcoin” or “crypto” into the search bar to see the listings.
But one thing is still missing though. No matter how big a crypto enthusiast you are, you cannot pay with your precious bitcoins on the platform – yet.
According to a report by Yahoo Finance, eBay’s senior vice president, Scott Cutler, revealed in an interview that with the recent demand for cryptocurrencies, the company is “seriously considering” accepting payment in bitcoins, but that it is “not quite there yet.”
If eBay starts accepting Bitcoin on its platform, it will be a huge development – eBay is one of the largest online marketplaces today. Recently, a rumor surfaced that Amazon was to start accepting Bitcoin. It turned out to be fake news. Across the world, Alibaba’s co-founder Jack Ma stated that the cryptocurrency is “not for me” as there is no government regulation for them.
Recently, Steam, an online gaming platform, stopped accepting Bitcoin citing the issue of high price volatility. But the business models of Steam and eBay are very different. Steam is a vendor whereas eBay is a marketplace. Steam needs to consider payment processing methods as they directly affect its business, but eBay only collects a fee for transactions on its platform. So for eBay it will be an easy process to implement Bitcoin support.
For businesses, the most prominent obstacles to implementing Bitcoin support is network delay and high transaction fees. Based on the current standards, Bitcoin’s network is not scalable at all, as large transactions takes a long time to process. High transaction fees are also keeping businesses away. After all, nobody wants to pay a $5 fee for a $20 purchase.
But despite all these shortcomings, the boom in the industry has led many businesses to accept Bitcoin as payment. Recently, APMEX, the leading online bullion dealer in the US, announced Bitcoin support on its platform. Other online platforms like Overstock and Newegg have been accepting Bitcoin for years. Even some schools are now taking the digital token as payment.
Anyway, it is still not clear what progress eBay has made towards accepting Bitcoin. But if it really implements crypto payment support it will be a huge step for both industries.