Major retail platforms have danced around NFTs for the last year. The likes of Epic Games Store have offered mixed signals, but not so eBay. Today it's taken the leap and bought one of the biggest and most respected NFT marketplaces around. And its undisclosed offer for KnownOrigin is sending ripples through the metaverse.
KnownOrigin is one of the most recognised NFT marketplaces. The platform, which offers artists and creators a space to sell, resell and collect NFTs, is ranked 12th in the world for trading volume, according to crypto tracking site DappRaadar. The deal with eBay means the auction platform will own everything, including KnownOrigin's tech, IP and team.
eBay's purchase of KnownOrigin is exciting for artists and creators, and we could even be looking at the beginning of NFT 2.0. This could be the first step on the ladder for NFTs to break into the mainstream, and it may also mean that the merging of digital art and in-real-life physical artworks becomes a new standard.
It certainly feels like we're on the verge of something big; eBay's adoption of NFTs and crypto wallets could also give buyers more trust that what they're purchasing is an authentic product, collectible or piece of art, as an item's ownership can be traced on the blockchain.
In a statement eBay CEO Jamie Iannone says: "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."
He adds: "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."
NFTs aren't new to eBay. The site began offering blockchain collectibles last year and as recently as last month released a new collection of sports NFTs. But to date, the take-up has been limited, with only trusted partners being able to offer products across narrow categories.
The buyout of KnowOrigin blows the doors wide open, enabling eBay to fully integrate NFT sales, resales and collecting into the auction site, as well as bringing full crypto wallet connectivity. This deal could usher in a new NFT 2.0 era, pulling down the barriers to entry into non-fungible tokens. The technology behind NFTs is likely to become easier to understand and the value they represent more transparent. Above all, eBay is already trusted by millions, and that could now rub off onto NFT sales.
"We founded KnownOrigin to empower creators and collectors by giving them the ability to showcase, sell, and collect unique, authenticated digital items," says David Moore, co-founder, KnownOrigin, in a statement.
He continues: "As interest in NFTs continues to grow, we believe now is the perfect time for us to partner with a company that has the reach and experience of eBay. With more than twenty-five years building similar communities of passionate individuals, we are excited by the opportunity to bring a whole new audience on this journey."
KnownOrigin launched in 2018. Moore sees the eBay acquisition as a new chapter, saying: "This is the start of a new chapter in the KnownOrigin story and we couldn’t choose a better time to focus on building and innovating with the team at eBay. This partnership will help us attract a new wave of NFT creators and collectors."
You can learn more about how NFTs work in our comprehensive guide, What are NFTs? And if you're interested in making your own see our how to make and sell an NFT explainer. With eBay snapping up KnowOrigin, now could be the best time to start your own journey in non-fungible tokens.