eBay pulls merchant listing for accepting Bitcoin

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Ebay apparently doesn’t want anyone competing with its Paypal service. The website recently took down a merchant listing because the owner was willing to accept Bitcoin.

While cryptocurrency is emerging as a popular online payment option, some companies such as eBay have been slow to adopt it.

Andy Shroder, who put the listing up, is a solar energy researcher and solar panel manufacturer. When Shroder inquired about the delisting, eBay responded that they do not allow merchants to accept Bitcoin as payment. Apparently, Bitcoin does not meet eBay’s requirements in regards to security and safety. Or at least that’s what the company told Shroder.

eBay’s reply, however, is questionable at best. It’s true that, if mishandled, Bitcoin can be somewhat risky. There are a variety of scams and other issues involving Bitcoin, but this is true for every type of payment and financial service. Where there is money and value, there will be thieves looking to steal. The real question is whether Bitcoin poses more of a risk than other forms of payment, which doesn’t appear to be true.

best bitcoin walletAfter years of development, security protocols and software of leading Bitcoin wallets are exceptionally strong. At the same time, anonymity features and the fact that Bitcoins can be stored offline – in “cold storage” – make cryptocurrency very safe if you take the proper precautions. Of course, if you mishandle Bitcoins by not having a secure password, for instance, then your wealth will be at risk.

The biggest downside to Bitcoin is that once your coins are stolen they are nearly impossible to recover. That’s why it is important to make sure that your BTC is secure from the get-go. Pick a very hard to decrypt password, use a secure wallet service, and split your wealth up among different wallets (each with a unique password). When you read about people being scammed, it’s often because they didn’t take the proper precautions.

eBay’s current anti-Bitcoin policy is a far cry from just a few years ago when the company’s CEO John Donahoe stated that he hoped to integrate the currency with Paypal, the company’s popular online payment service. Unfortunately, the integration never came to fruition and eBay has since adopted an active anti-cryptocurrency policy. In the past, it was common for eBay to delist postings simply for mentioning the online currency.

PayPal - The GuardianWe can’t speak for eBay, of course, but it seems the company is more worried about competition than about the “safety and security” provided by Bitcoin. eBay’s big money maker right now isn’t actually the company’s sales platform, but its payment service Paypal.

eBay will be spinning Paypal off in coming days and is expected to profit from the operation. The spun-off payment service could be worth as much as $40 billion on its own. Once eBay and Paypal begin to untangle themselves it’s possible that eBay itself may grow more open to alternative payment services. Of course, this is pure speculation and we’ll have to wait to see what the future holds.

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Brian Booker

An international financial analyst and writer. He has consulted for the Malaysian government, various MNC's, and other organisations. He focuses on currencies, commodities, and emerging South East Asian markets.

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1 Comment

  1. Hi, interesting article – however, I dont think this has as much to do with Bitcoin as it does with Ebay allowing merchants to accept payments outside of their network in general. After all, thats how Ebay makes it’s money. You can’t, within the terms of the Ebay user agreement, list things on Ebay and then meet the buyer and let them pay you with cash, circumventing the Ebay fees.

    So, I just think it’s good to note here that eBay is not singling out Bitcoin. They also do not allow Sending cash through the mail, Sending cash or money orders through instant, point-to-point cash transfer services (that aren’t banks) such as Western Union or MoneyGram, Mailing checks or money orders (except for items in categories specifically permitted), Paying through bank-to-bank transfers (except for items in categories specifically permitted), Paying by “topping off” a seller’s prepaid credit or debit card, Paying using online or other payment methods not specifically permitted in this policy, Asking buyers to contact you for additional payment methods, Offering a payment method to some buyers and not to others, Discouraging buyers from using any payment method you specified in the listing, Asking buyers to pay using a method not mentioned in the listing, and finally – Paying with Virtual or Cryptocurrencies.

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