EBay, which is one of the world’s largest e-commerce platforms, is considering making the leap into cryptocurrency payments, according to a high-ranking company executive.
Scott Cutler, senior vice president of eBay Americas, told Yahoo Finance that the e-commerce giant is holding serious discussions about becoming the highest-profile company to accept cryptocurrency payments.
“This is a trend that everybody is talking about, but sadly, at eBay, we don’t currently accept bitcoin as a form of payment, Cutler said. “We’re seriously considering it as these cryptocurrencies become more of a mainstream” payment instrument, but “we’re not quite there yet.”
Cutler added that the website serves as a popular secondary market for cryptocurrency mining hardware, and third-party sellers have listed thousands of other cryptocurrency-related collectibles.
Cryptocurrency enters main street
Although it does not appear that eBay currently has any concrete plans to adopt cryptocurrency payments, the fact that the company is holding high-level discussions on the matter is the latest testament to how quickly bitcoin has permeated the mainstream.
Last week, bitcoin brokerage app Coinbase briefly became the top app in the Apple Store, signaling that retail investors were onboarding into the bitcoin ecosystem at a breakneck pace — a pace so rapid that Coinbase has suffered persistent outages due to record traffic.
This week, the first bitcoin futures contracts launched on U.S. exchange CBOE, and CME — the world’s largest derivatives exchange — will begin trading bitcoin futures next week. Though primarily targeted at Wall Street, futures are expected to lead to the creation of the first Bitcoin ETF, a retail investor-friendly investment vehicle that can be easily held in brokerage and retirement accounts.
The next watershed moment will be when cryptocurrency becomes so ubiquitous that businesses commonly accept it as payment for goods or services.
Prominent retailers such as Overstock and Newegg have accepted bitcoin for years, but none of retail’s white whales — a group that includes eBay, Amazon, and Alibaba — has formally adopted cryptocurrency payments. Earlier this year, there was a rumor that Amazon was planning to accept bitcoin. Recently, Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma stated that bitcoin was “not for me,” indicating that the Chinese conglomerate is not likely to adopt a currency that operates without government backing.
Some retailers, including video game distribution platform Steam, have actually stopped accepting bitcoin payments in recent months, citing increasing transaction fees that have accompanied bitcoin’s meteoric rise. However, bitcoin remains an option for big-ticket items, and altcoins such as ethereum, bitcoin cash, and litecoin are practical options for small-value transactions.