Source: AdobeStock / wolterke
E-commerce giant eBay claims it is exploring the option of adding "new payment methods" and will launch a digital wallet in the second quarter of this fiscal year – but did not announce any developments related to cryptocurrency payments. The company also noted the upcoming "segmentation," which could suggest non-fungible tokens (NFTs), but did not mention them.
At the investor day event, Jamie Iannone, the company's CEO, said the company will promote new avenues of business, including a digital platform called eBay Vault.
So far, details of its digital wallet appear to be relatively scarce. But there are indications that NFT is likely to work.
Last year, eBay began allowing users to trade NFTs on its platform. The company built its trading empire on the basis of providing a marketplace for physical collectibles. As such, the "digital wallet" is likely to be nothing more than a secure, software-based digital home for credit and debit card information.
But it could also be a wallet capable of storing and displaying customers' NFTs. A further hint comes from a promotional YouTube video called "Announcing the eBay Vault".
Although the video does not directly mention cryptocurrencies or NFT, in one slide the company notes that "in the future" it will add "segmentation".
In the NFT world, fragmentation can refer to the digital ownership of tokens, where the digital rights of a single NFT are broken down into smaller pieces – shards. This makes it possible for multiple people to "own" an NFT. For example, if Tommy owns half of Rare NFT #1, it is possible for Judy and Paul to own a quarter of the same NFT.
A digital wallet can also refer to a software innovation that allows customers to store their private keys on a platform and pay in cryptocurrency on a digital marketplace such as eBay. But, again, nothing in the eBay materials suggests that this is the case.
Speculation ahead of the event has been intense, with many expecting a major disclosure in terms of cryptocurrency payments. But it seems the platform is not ready to take the risk.
On the contrary, Iannone said.
“Over the past two years, we have fundamentally changed the trajectory of our marketplace. We see incredible potential for amazing growth in this marketplace and believe this is our opportunity to win by sharpening our focus and continuing to create value through a technology-led re-imagining of eBay.”
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