eBay, an e-commerce giant, has announced the acquisition with KnownOrigin, a nonfungible token (NFT) marketplace that will help the e-commerce company foray further into the world of blockchain technology and digital collectables.
eBay and KnownOrigin announced in a joint statement that the e-commerce giant had acquired the NFT marketplace for an undisclosed sum.
KnownOrigin is a UK-based platform that allows for the buying and selling of NFT artwork. It runs on the Ethereum blockchain and allows artists to mint NFTs too.
“eBay is the first stop for people across the globe who are searching for that perfect, hard-to-find, or unique addition to their collection and, with this acquisition, we will remain a leading site as our community is increasingly adding digital collectibles,” said eBay CEO Jamie Iannone in a statement.
“KnownOrigin has built up an impressive, passionate and loyal group of artists and collectors making them a perfect addition to our community of sellers and buyers. We look forward to welcoming these innovators as they join the eBay community.”
KnownOrigin describes itself as ‘one the world’s first, and largest, NFT Marketplaces,’ and it currently ranks No. 12 on all-time trading volume for Ethereum-backed NFTs at $7.8 million.
eBay started allowing NFT sales on its site last year. With the KnownOrigin acquisition, eBay has the opportunity to control a proper digital marketplace where NFT transactions can be both monitored and controlled, not just offered with the fingers-crossed hope the seller transfers an NFT to the buyer’s wallet correctly.
eBay CEO Jamie Iannone said last year that his company was exploring crypto payments and looking at NFTs, which became available on eBay in May 2021.
The move comes among a number of NFT marketplace acquisitions. Just yesterday, Uniswap Labs, the company behind decentralized exchange Uniswap, said it was acquiring NFT aggregation platform Genie. And in April, OpenSea, the largest NFT marketplace, acquired NFT aggregator Gem.
The acquisition comes a month after eBay launched its first collection of NFTs in partnership with web3 platform OneOf. The company’s new ‘Genesis’ NFT Collection will feature 3D and animated interpretations of the iconic athletes featured on Sports Illustrated covers over the years. eBay says the surge in the collectables market led to its first collaboration in the NFT space.
Although eBay has a significant presence in online shopping, the company will have its work cut out for it, competing with dozens of crypto-native NFT marketplaces already out there. However, its acquisition of KnownOrigin indicates that the company is getting serious about NFTs.