For years, eBay has been one of the biggest marketplaces in the world to find collectibles. Founded in 1995 by Pierre Omidyar, eBay was first established to “bring together buyers and sellers in an honest and open marketplace.” eBay has been a home for modern collectibles–whether you’re looking for Beanie Babies or Sneakers or Pokémon cards. In 2022, eBay’s focus on collectibles continues to evolve in alignment with emerging trends and technologies.
Just last week, eBay acquired NFT Marketplace KnownOrigin for an undisclosed sum. While eBay may already be deep in physical collectibles, they hadn’t established a very notable presence in Web3… until now. With the acquisition, eBay is one of few “Web1 '' online marketplaces now prioritizing blockchain technology. Ebay viewed the purchase of KnownOrigin as a way to play a bigger role in the growing market of digital collectibles. KnownOrigin is a highly respected organization within the Web3 community, so eBay needs to ensure they are proper stewards of the brand.
While digital collectibles are becoming more popular, consumer interest in physical collectibles has also skyrocketed. PWCC’s 100 Index reports that the 2008 - 2022 ROI for professionally-graded trading cards is 1,346%, compared to S&P 500’s reported 218%. Pokémon card values have seen immense growth, in particular. Neustreet’s Pokémon Cards UK research report dives deeper into the details of the increase in Pokémon card values and search term trends.
In an effort to adapt to the increased interest in trading cards, eBay identified and acted on the opportunity to streamline a way to safely store these high-value assets. This brought about eBay’s trading card vault. The physical vault is a high-tech storage facility that offers storage and resale services for cards meeting its requirements. The introduction of this service also coincides with eBay’s relatively new Authenticity Guarantee that leverages PSA’s card grading expertise.
Similarly, eBay acquired Sneaker Con last November to enhance its sneaker verification operation. Following the acquisition, sneakers purchased from eBay for any price greater than $100 are sent to Sneaker Con for verification prior to being sent to the consumer. The authenticity guarantee was a bit of a necessity following the growth of StockX- a sneaker-focused marketplace that boasts its own authenticity guarantee, which has recently come into question amidst their heated legal battle with Nike.
It’s clear that eBay feels the pressure to evolve as the overall collectibles market evolves. All of these moves look to secure eBay’s viability in satisfying collector needs as we enter a new golden age of collecting- whether that be sneakers, trading cards, NFTs, or more. As Neustreet, we see these different worlds of collectibles blending together and it looks like eBay feels the same way. In a bear market, the tools both we and eBay are building for collectors will become even more valuable.