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eBay becomes first mainstream ecommerce site to jump on NFTs

Previously exclusive to crypto native marketplaces, NFTs could already be on the verge of exploding into mainstream ecommerce – with eBay at the helm.

If you thought the frenzy of NFT trading would be a short-lived fad, it goes to show you really don’t know the internet all that well.

This newfound mode of digital commoditisation continues to be applied to quite literally anything. Whether we’re talking an eight-bit gif of the Nyan Cat, or a screenshot of Jack Dorsey’s original tweet, people continue paying up to six figure sums to secure NFT’s as ‘authentic’ proof of their official ownership.

Quite why people are so obsessed with these digital bragging rights, we still can’t quite figure out.

As an entity, the NFT is an odd concept, but one that encapsulates the changeable and neurotic nature of the world wide web perfectly. Suffice to say, they’re not disappearing anytime soon.

Industry moguls of both art and cryptocurrency forecasted the mainstream explosion of NTFs before crazy transactions started grabbing headlines. But it appears NFTs are set to expand from crypto native marketplaces into conventional ecommerce far sooner than most had thought, with eBay the first major auction site to take the plunge.

What eBay has planned

For a while now eBay has talked up the possibility of axing its once staunch policy – that all listings must offer a physical item or service for sale – to delve into the lucrative business of cryptocurrency.

EBay’s Senior Vice President, Jordan Sweetnam, had been plotting a strategic move to expand the multinational company’s pool of buyers and sellers in recent months, and this week has decided to show his hand with new section of the platform dedicated to digital assets.

Having previously invested big in infrastructure to validate the sale of physical collectibles, like trading cards and artwork, eBay is confident it can utilise blockchain technology to reach similar levels of success to native NFT marketplaces.

We’re not entirely sure how eBay plans to present its new NFT strata in the context of the site, but given that the most common from of cryptocurrency (Ethereum) is currently trading at record highs of $4,100 USD, you can bet this section will feature prominently.

What eBay has revealed is that users will need to buy digital tokens on the platform to make purchases, and that only eBay approved sellers will be able to list NFTs.

The ramifications of an ecommerce explosion

Now that the world’s largest auction site is onboard with the sale of NFTs, you’d think its only a matter of time before other ecommerce enterprises follow suit. You can bet the likes of Amazon will certainly want a slice of six figure transactions with literally zero legwork involved.

Frankly, the potential for NFTs and cryptocurrency in general has now reached an entirely new level. Whether or not eBay’s transition will lead to the growth in profits its looking for remains to be seen, but other big players in ecommerce will be watching intently to see if consumer demand is there and worth taking on.

A key issue we’ve yet to touch on, however, and one that is regularly overlooked by ambassadors of cryptocurrency, is just how detrimental digital transactions in their current state could be to our climate targets.

Blockchain transactions (which we covered in detail here) use supercomputers to complete sales on a huge scale almost instantly with no third party required. While incredibly convenient, the problem is these complex processes are insanely energy hungry – with studies pointing to blockchain energy deficits being equivalent to entire countries annually.

Therefore, in a world where being eco-conscious sells, and marketing campaigns are scrutinised for any sign of greenwashing, it wouldn’t make much sense to see ecommerce giants choose profits over morality. If you ask me, the PR risk to leap now is too high.

Crypto analysts claim that the technology will soon be mostly powered by renewable energy, but we’re not able to substantiate these claims to fit the current climate just yet.

All eyes are now on eBay to see how it fares in its new venture, and it’s a worrying/exciting time depending which side of the coin you’re on.