Innovation

Exploring the Opportunities of Blockchain and Cryptocurrency

By: Alyssa Cutright, VP, Global Payments, Billing & Risk

At eBay, we’re excited to be at the forefront of payments innovation, focusing on the potential for opportunities in blockchain and cryptocurrency.

In the ’80s, the advent of the internet revolutionized the way people connect. Fast-forward to the ’90s when eBay launched a new way to transact with buyers and sellers from all corners of the globe, redefining how people connect through modern-day commerce on our online marketplace.

Now, eBay enables millions of people to come together every day as they buy and sell on our platform. As we look to the future, there is a growing opportunity with emerging technologies like blockchain and cryptocurrency to spur a new way of connecting around the world. We’re moving into an uncharted era where speed is the new currency. Blockchain and cryptocurrency will inevitably change the way people connect and pave the way for a redefined commerce.

We are taking a particular focus on cryptocurrency and blockchain because we see their potential to expand global ecommerce and make it more frictionless and affordable for consumers – however there are many unknowns to work through. Cryptocurrency is still very much in its infancy when it comes to practical consumer application and adoption.

Today, we shared that we’re joining the Libra Association as a Founding Member in its pursuit to develop the Libra Blockchain and to promote, build and expand the Libra network. In these pioneering days of cryptocurrency and blockchain, we are excited to be at the forefront of development, testing and learning in our role as a Founding Member of the Libra Association. Libra is intended to be a global cryptocurrency powered by the Libra Blockchain. It will be fully backed by the Libra Reserve, a collection of low-volatility assets.

By becoming a Founding Member of the Libra Association, we are looking at the potential of this emerging technology as it relates to the eBay experience. To the Libra Association, eBay will bring our unique perspective and experience with massive scale, infrastructure and product development to contribute to its success.

We support Libra’s aim to create a simple, secure global currency and financial infrastructure that empowers billions of people, stimulating the global economy. It complements our purpose of empowering people and creating economic opportunity for all. Furthermore, one role of the Libra Association is to lead social impact grant-making for financial inclusion, which directly aligns to the work we do through the eBay Foundation.

We’re excited about the possibilities a trusted, accepted and stable cryptocurrency could bring to eBay’s marketplace. We want to ensure that our seller inventory is accessible to buyers around the world, and those buyers have the ability to use their preferred payment method. We are also keen to innovate with technologies that have the potential to lower transaction costs for our sellers and make their businesses more profitable.

eBay firmly believes in the power of collaborating and developing through open source – it’s true to who we are as a driver of opportunity and empowerment. The open source development of the Libra Blockchain is important to us and we look forward to working with others to collaboratively advance the technology stack. We will bring the perspective of global commerce and ensuring that as these emerging technologies are developed, it’s done with people in mind.

Looking to the future and how payments will evolve, I think about ways the experience can be easier and more seamless for the people around the world actually transacting – it’s central to the strategy for me and my team as we build out eBay’s own managed payments offering.

It took a bold vision for our founder, Pierre Omidyar, to start our marketplace and it will take a bold vision to rethink the future of payments.