With eBay shares sinking on lackluster earnings guidance from the company's latest quarterly report released last week, CEO Jamie Iannone decided to spice things up by revealing in the middle of an interview on CNBC that the auction giant was looking into enabling payment in cryptocurrency. He also revealed that eBay is "exploring opportunities" on how to enable selling of NFTs, which have revolutionized the sports memorabilia business.
According to media reports, eBay originally started considering accepting Bitcoin for payments back in 2013, and there have been rumors since, but eBay has been much slower to embrace crypto than its former subsidiary, PayPal, which enabled customers to hold and trade crypto last year.
In a sign that investors might finally be catching on to executives jawboning their shares with talk of crypto-payments, eBay shares are languishing near their lows of the session.
If eBay does follow through with its plans, it would mark the latest US company after former partner PayPal, Square and Tesla all embraced crypto payments, among other firms.
Still, Iannone's abrupt announcement elicited praise from some investors on twitter.
In its latest earnings report, eBay said Wednesday afternoon that it expects 91 cents to 96 cents in adjusted earnings per share and revenue of $2.98 billion to $3.03 billion during Q2, which was less than analysts polled by Refinitiv had expected. Wedbush analysts Ygal Arounian and Chad Larkin downgraded eBay on Thursday to neutral from outperform following the guidance, which overshadowed better-than-expected sales and profits, as homebound customers spent more time hunting for deals on the site.
With PayPal shares surging partly due to its embrace of crypto, and purveyors of NFTs (which already includes the NBA's popular "Top Shot" series) reporting millions of dollars in sales, it's clear eBay needs to make a convincing attempt to break into the NFT market, an area where it might find opportunity as investors seek to "maximize value" and more mainstream players are drawn by sheer curiosity, combined with FOMO, as ethereum trades at new all-time highs north of $3K a coin.
A couple of hours after Ianonne's interview, the Block, a popular crypto news organization, reported that PayPal, which was once part of eBay, has held "exploratory talks" about launching its own stablecoin, and that the company has reportedly made the rounds with various stablecoin protocol developers.