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Even eBay Is Getting Into NFTs — Here’s What That Means

Even eBay is getting in on the NFT frenzy.

The online marketplace has announced that it would allow the sale of non-fungible tokens for digital collectibles on its platform. It becomes the first e-commerce giant to tap into the craze surrounding the virtual assets, which can be bought, sold or traded online using blockchain technology.

“This opportunity unlocks new assets for collecting, new ways for people to fuel their passion and expands eBay’s appeal to a new generation of collectors,” SVP and GM for the North America market Jordan Sweetnam wrote in a statement. “In the same way digital publishing brought more exposure for writers, digital collectibles bring greater opportunity for artists and creators. We plan to double down on this idea — combining eBay’s global reach with the principle that anyone can find almost anything on our platform.”

The initial rollout of NFTs, it added, would apply across categories like trading cards, music, entertainment and art. According to the company, only “trusted sellers” who “meet eBay’s standards” will be able to offer NFTs to buyers.

The move is part of eBay’s bigger push to expand into the burgeoning business of digital collectibles. In the statement, Sweetnam shared that the marketplace would add new capabilities that bring “blockchain-driven collectibles” to its website in the coming months. It has continued to heavily invest in the sale of physical collectibles such as trading cards, watches and even sneakers.

The announcement comes a week after eBay CEO Jamie Iannone appeared on CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street,” where he discussed the retailer’s first-quarter results as well as its interest in accepting cryptocurrencies and incorporating NFTs on its platform.

“One of the great things about eBay is when there’s a new trend, it just shows up on eBay,” the executive said. “That’s what we’re seeing in areas like NFT, which we’re looking at how can we explore that better. eBay is really known as the place to transact goods.”

Recently, the NFT phenomenon has been most prominent in the art, trading cards and sneaker worlds. In mid-March, Christie’s sold a piece of art by digital artist Beeple for a record-breaking $69.3 million, while the NBA has partnered with blockchain firm Dapper Labs to create online marketplace NBA Top Shot, where fans can buy and sell video clips from pro basketball games.

For sneakerheads, RTFKT Studios — billing itself as “creators of virtual sneakers and collectibles, merging realities in fashion and gaming” — recently sold $3.1 million worth of NFTs in roughly seven minutes.

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