A decade ago, the term “cryptocurrency” was largely unheard of, and the concept itself would probably be ridiculed as a product of science fiction. This would remain the case until the emergence of the now vastly popular cryptocurrency of bitcoin turned cryptocurrency into a global phenomenon. While Bitcoin was not the first attempt at creating a viable cryptocurrency, it is certainly the most successful. In fact, bitcoin has been so successful at cornering the global marketplace on cryptocurrency that countless companies and even the Japanese government have decided to accept bitcoin as currency.
Bitcoin has permanently changed the fiscal world and remains a popular investment option for savvy investors who are willing to take risks. But what about the average person who wants to take advantage of bitcoin in their online transactions? In this post, we’ll explore the basics that any online seller needs to know to take full advantage of bitcoin in their business on eBay and across the web.
Since the beginning of the internet, eBay has remained one of the most user-friendly and lucrative platforms for online business owners. And like any good business, eBay knows that they must keep up with the rapid pace of technology to remain relevant in the bustling world of eCommerce. This makes bitcoin a strong investment opportunity for eBay as the company enters the arena of the digital goods market.
Whether you are looking to sell or buy eBay items with bitcoin, it is a good idea to stay up to date on bitcoin knowledge and eBay business practices in general. This article will help you in both respects by giving you a crash course in the relationship between eBay and bitcoin.
Buy eBay Items with Bitcoin
While eBay does not currently accept bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency, the company has signaled their interest in accepting bitcoin in the near future. eBay’s current vice president, Scott Cutler, noted as much in a 2017 interview. The step would be in line with eBay’s current business strategy. One of eBay’s biggest moves so to date has been their announcement that they were working on a digital goods store spearheaded by executive Manish Belsare.
Bitcoin is not yet available on eBay’s digital goods store, but the fact that it is being developed means that eBay will have infrastructure in place if they choose to offer bitcoin as a payment option on their platform. If eBay takes this route, they certainly will not be the first major retailer to invest early in bitcoin. In this regard, eBay will be joining the ranks of eCommerce giants like Paypal, Etsy, Overstock and more in accepting bitcoin.
More recently, at an event this summer, eBay displayed an ad which read “Virtual Currency. It’s happening on eBay”. It is important to note that while eBay has not yet confirmed their anticipated acceptance of bitcoin, there are many signs which point to this happening in the near future.
Additionally, eBay has signaled interest in the creation of a bitcoin variant using blockchain technology before. In 2019, eBay, along with several other major tech companies signed on to be members of the Libra Association, a nonprofit backed by Facebook that will create and govern a new secure cryptocurrency. The following figure, created by ConsenSys Academy, gives an overview of the Libra ecosystem, which shows how Libra will function for users and investors.
Source: ConsenSys Facebook
Libra will function like bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies currently in use with the added bonus of compatibility with major companies like Facebook and its associated platforms. While eBay withdrew their pledge to invest in October of 2019, their support is simply another instance of evidence for their developing interest in bitcoin and other forms of cryptocurrency.
Moreover, eBay is listed as one of many major corporate sponsors for this year’s Consensus event, an annual event that brings bitcoin enthusiasts from miners to investors to discuss the latest developments in the world of cryptocurrency. The impressive sponsor list includes big names such as Microsoft and even the Australian government. The event is a testament to the growing confidence of investors in bitcoin and blockchain technology.
This should come as no surprise. eBay has much to gain from accepting the currency, which continues to grow in value, and little to lose. This is because eBay collects fees for transactions on their platform in traditional currencies. Therefore, any change in valuation for bitcoin would not affect eBay’s profits. While eBay will not be affected by any changes in the bitcoin marketplace, this is certainly something that sellers interested in using bitcoin on eBay should keep in mind insofar as they will be the ones absorbing losses if bitcoin drops drastically in value.
Sell eBay Items with Bitcoin
As with any eBay store, sellers looking to trade in bitcoin on eBay will benefit most from effective marketing strategies and strong analytics. Inexperienced users who are looking to pursue a business as an eBay seller using bitcoin should consider checking out Mallory Peek’s article from the Subivi Times that gives a crash course in the essentials for eBay sellers called, “How to Sell on eBay – 20 Tips That Will Ensure Success!”.
While social media promotion is an integral factor in the success of any modern eCommerce business, sellers who intend on using eBay as a host for their bitcoin business should take special care to maintain a strong social media presence. It is always important to consider your demographic, and people interested in trading in bitcoin are likely to be strongly engaged with the digital world.
Perhaps one of the most important things to consider if you are considering selling items on eBay with bitcoin is that sellers should keep a close eye on any fluctuations in the value of bitcoin to prevent losses. While bitcoin is not quite as volatile as it once was, it is still subject to fluctuations. Currently, bitcoin is recovering from a dip and continues to rise in value (as demonstrated by the graph below), making now a great time to invest in bitcoin to stay ahead of major online retailers like eBay.
As previously mentioned, users trading in bitcoin should be especially cognizant of internet security and stay informed on potential scams. Since bitcoin is a virtually untraceable currency, there is a certain level of risk that particularly savvy hackers will manipulate the system to steal the highly coveted cryptocurrency.
In general, anyone buying or selling with bitcoin should consider basic internet protections like Virtual Private Networks or VPNs that help protect your data while browsing and make you less susceptible to hackers seeking out your information. VPNs are a low stake investment with several affordable options for sellers and provide protection and peace of mind for their users.
The above chart displays the process behind making a payment using bitcoin. The most critical aspect of this process for sellers is the wallet and private key. The private key corresponds to an address on the blockchain where the user’s bitcoin is stored and this private key is necessary to use the coins stored at that particular address. Users will want to take significant measures to keep this key safe, and a good VPN along with a working knowledge of safe web practices is a great place to start.
Bitcoin and eBay: An International Partnership
As a company that regularly facilitates transactions between users in different countries, bitcoin is a great option for eBay and its sellers to increase their presence in the global marketplace. Since bitcoin is a non-government currency, eBay users can use bitcoin to conduct a transaction without worrying about conversion rates and fees. For more information on creating and maintaining customer relationships in eCommerce with an emphasis on international sales, check out the Subivi Times article, “6 Must Know eCommerce Customer Support Growth Hacks When Expanding Overseas”., which even includes a short section on eBay and bitcoin.
Access to the international market is a major benefit of trading with bitcoin on eBay. As indicated by the map below, bitcoin use is becoming normalized throughout the world and inevitably this trend in favor of bitcoin will affect eBay, too.
How Can Users Access Bitcoin on eBay?
Despite not being able to use bitcoin as a currency on eBay, users can purchase bitcoin directly from sellers on eBay. These transactions are completed through third party medium of Paypal. Interested buyers will pay with traditional currency via Paypal and receive Bitcoin in return. In addition to buying bitcoin on eBay, there are several other routes for interested buyers to take in order to obtain bitcoin. Among others, eBay users can utilize digital wallets which them to convert their bitcoin to traditional currency in order to make purchases from businesses like eBay that do not currently accept bitcoin.
Source: Bitcoins Channel
One thing to keep in mind when purchasing bitcoin directly from eBay is the high prevalence of scammers using fraudulent complaints to steal bitcoin from sellers. Additionally, bitcoin sold on eBay is generally sold at a significantly higher rate than bitcoin bought from other sources around the web. Therefore, while eBay might not be the best place to purchase bitcoin directly, it does present a strong investment opportunity for sellers looking to trade with bitcoin.
Potential Drawbacks of eBay and Bitcoin
Perhaps the most complicated aspect of accepting bitcoin on eBay is the issue of returns. One of the features of bitcoin that sets it apart from traditional currencies is the fact that it cannot be traced. While this is a major benefit for some users, it presents a problem when it comes to following through on returns or refunds on items sold using bitcoin. Likewise, it is nearly impossible to reverse transactions made using bitcoin. Ultimately, it is up to the users of bitcoin to reveal their identity. If they choose to remain anonymous, it can be very difficult to enforce policies regarding returns or refunds through bitcoin.
For eBay sellers, this problem can manifest in several different ways. For example, eBay may have trouble dealing with unsatisfied buyers if they cannot trace the identities of sellers that use bitcoin. This issue could threaten eBay’s money-back guarantee on sales on the platform. There are potential solutions available, but most rely on using traditional currencies as a fallback to make up for the shortcomings of bitcoin. For example, users could have a credit or debit card on file to assuage the fears of buyers that are worried about buying from vendors that lack an identity and thus responsibility for their business practices.
Summing up the Relationship between Bitcoin and eBay
While there are many questions yet to be answered about the implementation of bitcoin on platforms like eBay, it seems inevitable in this modern age. As more and more powerful countries like the United States, Israel and Australia, legalize the circulation of bitcoin, it is only a matter of time before eBay follows suit. It is important for internet moguls to consider these questions now and stay ahead of the curve. Once major online marketplaces like eBay warm up to cryptocurrency, it is inevitable that mainstream platforms will follow suit. For this reason, it is essential that internet users and especially sellers stay informed about current attitudes toward bitcoin and its use.