By Akanksha Rana
(Reuters) – Ebay Inc on Tuesday allowed the sale of non-fungible tokens for digital collectibles like trading cards, images or video clips on its platform, the first e-commerce company to tap into the recent frenzy around NFTs.
NFTs, virtual assets that exist on a blockchain ledger, have exploded in popularity this year, as enthusiasts spend enormous sums of money on artwork and other items that exist only online, with some selling for tens of millions of dollars recently at auction houses Christie’s and Sotheby’s.
While multi-million dollar deals, including the $69 million sale of a digital artwork by Beeple in March, have created ripples in the art world, a market for digital collectibles such as NFT trading cards, images or video clips have also thrived alongside.
These could range from something like Kurt Cobain’s last photoshoot to historic moments from NBA games. While anyone can view the NFTs for free, the buyer has the status of being the official owner – a kind of digital bragging rights.
In the short term, an NFT inventory will be provided to sellers who meet eBay’s standards, the company told Reuters, adding that users can expect to see programs, policies and tools in future that will let them buy and sell NFTs across a broader range of categories.
“In the coming months, eBay will add new capabilities that bring blockchain-driven collectibles to our platform,” said Jordan Sweetnam, senior vice president and general manager for eBay’s North America market.
The announcement comes after eBay said last week it was open to the possibility of accepting cryptocurrency as a form of payment in the future and was looking at ways to get NFTs on its platform.
NFTs are usually bought with the cryptocurrency ether or in dollars and the blockchain keeps a record of transactions.
(Reporting by Akanksha Rana; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)