eBay CEO: 'Deeply' Considering Adding Crypto for Payments

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  • eBay CEO hints at accepting crypto payments soon
  • Current digital payment methods include PayPal, Google Pay, and Apple Pay
  • Investors meeting failed to offer additional crypto news

Crypto investors could get some good news in the near future.

Although hugely popular as a speculative investment, crypto has long had a particular flaw: It's hard to use for everyday necessities. You can't pay your bills with Bitcoin. You can't buy groceries with Ethereum. And despite last year's rumors, Amazon is still crypto-free.

But the future may be bright for the digital-currency inclined, at least for those who are also fans of popular marketplace site eBay. Jamie Iannone, eBay's CEO, recently teased interviewers at The Street with upcoming news about the site's payments future -- a future that many hope could include crypto.

"We continue to evaluate other forms of payments that we should take on the platform," Iannone said. He emphasized that the site doesn't currently accept cryptocurrency as a payment method, but added that more payments news would be released during the mid-March investors meeting.

As it turned out, however, that meeting didn't unveil any spectacular crypto news. Instead, the payments focus was on eBay's new digital wallet designed to allow sellers to more easily spend their earnings. There aren't any additional investor events on eBay's schedule, so there's no telling when the next announcement will come.

eBay currently accepts credit cards, mobile wallets

For many years, eBay had limited payment options beyond the standard go-tos of debit and credit cards. In fact, the only alternative -- beyond a few sellers accepting old-fashioned checks, cash, or money orders -- was PayPal.

It wasn't until the digital trading platform took management of its payments in-house in 2018 that we saw much payments progress. Shortly thereafter, eBay added both Google Pay and Apple Pay to its roster of accepted payment methods.

But despite many calls for crypto over the last few years, no one at the company has made any promises. Iannone's words may have triggered speculation -- but they should probably also encourage patience.

"We're just completing our transition to manage payments where we're now managing $85 billion of volume on our platform directly. This gives us the ability to open up new forms of payment," Iannone said. "eBay will be the place where people trade goods, whether they be physical or digital. So over time, you know, we want this to be the marketplace for sustainability."

While he made no particular promises about the direction -- or speed -- of the changes to come, there does seem to be room for optimism. There's an argument to be made that crypto payments are a natural evolution of eBay's current digital trajectory.

A welcome boost to the crypto market?

If eBay does open the proverbial doors soon, it could mean a healthy boost to a crypto market that has been somewhat flagging. Bitcoin (BTC), for instance, has been stuck under $45,000 since early January -- a far cry from the more than $65,000 it hit late last year.

Other major cryptocurrencies have also been less-than-stellar of late. In addition to Bitcoin's recent stagnation, Cardano, Dogecoin, and Ethereum have all been dropping steadily since mid to late 2021. And many experts have predicted that trend will only continue.

While it's no guarantee that some positive crypto news from a major retailer like eBay will solve all our crypto woes, it's not entirely out of the realm of possibility. Bitcoin was in the middle of a summer dip last year when rumors of a crypto-related Amazon job posting hit social media. While it may not be solely responsible for Bitcoin's subsequent upturn -- it probably didn't hurt.

At this point, it seems like a lot of, "hurry up and wait." But if crypto can get its foot in the door, there's no telling where it could wind up.

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