Brittiska versionen av Ebay öppnar en avdelning för försäljning av digital valuta som till exempel bitcoin. Dock handlar det ännu så länge inte om auktioner utan om försäljning via vanliga annonser.
(Credit: Stephen Shankland/CNET)
It seemed like it was only a matter of time before e-commerce giant eBay and its payment platform PayPal addressed the sale and use of Bitcoin on its sites. And, despite concern from government regulators, it appears the company believes in virtual currencies — so much so, that it will soon start allowing their sale on its UK site.
Last week, PayPal President David Marcus tweeted ”To clarify: we have no policies against using PayPal to sell Bitcoin mining rigs. We don’t support any currency txn whether fiat or BTC… for a host of regulatory issues. But we treat BTC and any FX txn the same way. We’re believers in BTC though.”
Then, a couple of days later, eBay sent an e-mail to one of its merchants that was published on Reddit that said the company plans to open a ”Virtual Currency” category for the sale of Bitcoin and other digital currencies on February 10.
Marcus told CNET in an interview last month, ”I really like Bitcoin. I own bitcoins.” But, he also said he’s not yet ready to let people link their Bitcoin wallets with their PayPal accounts. ”Whenever the regulatory framework is clearer, and the volatility comes down, then we’ll consider it,” he said.
While eBay UK will start allowing Bitcoin to be sold in its classified ads format, it won’t yet let users sell the currency in the auction or buy-it-now formats. Additionally, all transactions will be required to happen outside of eBay. As for now, the virtual currency only appears to be allowed on eBay UK; it’s unclear if the policy will spread to other countries where eBay operates.
Bitcoin has proven that it can do well as a traded currency. It’s been around since 2009, but didn’t really get going until 2011 when it was worth $2 per coin. By 2013, the currency had climbed to $20 per coin, and then jumped to $266 last April. Within the past couple of months, it had another price jump and is now hovering around $1,000.
While eBay appears to be opening its doors to virtual currencies, China’s largest e-commerce site Alibaba shut the door on Bitcoin earlier this month. The company announced that the sale of Bitcoins on its Web site is now banned. While the majority of site’s sales are made via Taobao’s Alipay system, a handful of merchants were accepting Bitcoin payments or selling the digital currency.
CNET contacted eBay UK for comment. We’ll update the story when we get more information.