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EBay enters NFT business, with assist from hockey icon Wayne Gretzky

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The headquarters of eBay in San Jose, California.

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EBay is stepping into NFTs — with an assist from hockey legend Wayne Gretzky.

The corporate announced Monday that it’s launching 13 limited-edition digital collectibles in partnership with Web3 platform OneOf, each of which comprises a 3-D animated rendering of Gretzky making one among his signature moves on the ice.

NFTs are a sort of digital asset created to trace ownership of a virtual item using blockchain technology. Such unique items could possibly be artwork or sports trading cards. Each NFT is exclusive and may’t be replicated and accrues value independently, stored in digital wallets as collectors’ items.

“Forty years ago, I used to be grateful to be on the duvet of Sports Illustrated, it was a monumental moment in
my life,” Gretzky said in a press release. “I’m honored to bring this collectible experience to my hockey fans who’ve followed my profession for a long time.”

Canadian skilled hockey player Wayne Gretzky of the Edmonton Oilers in motion on the ice for an away game during his rookie season, 1979-80. (Photo by Bruce Bennett Studios via Getty Images Studios/Getty Images)

B Bennett | Bruce Bennett | Getty Images

There are 142 million eBay buyers worldwide. It’s the second-largest player — though a distant second to Amazon — in e-commerce. Electronics & accessories is the corporate’s hottest category, which appeal to a younger consumer demographic. Earlier this month, eBay bought a 25% stake, price $263 million, in toy maker Funko alongside a consortium including former Disney CEO Bob Iger, sports agent Wealthy Paul and the Chernin Group.

“NFTs and blockchain technology are revolutionizing the collectibles space, and are increasingly viewed as an investment opportunity for enthusiasts,” said Dawn Block, vp of collectibles, electronics and residential at eBay. “Through our partnership with OneOf, eBay is now making coveted NFTs more accessible to a recent generation of collectors in every single place.”

OneOf claims to be a “green” NFT platform that uses energy efficient blockchain technology. The cryptocurrency mining process can use a considerable amount of energy, in some cases as much energy as entire countries. OneOf, which uses a “proof of stake” blockchain network, claims to make use of greater than 2 million times less energy than what are generally known as “proof-of-work” networks. Moreover, the corporate — which to this point has focused totally on the music business — says greater than 80% of the collections featured on its platform come from minority creators and women-led projects.

“Our software and eBay’s software will probably be integrated to supply a brilliant easy NFT purchase experience for the buyer,” OneOf CEO Lin Dai told CNBC this past weekend at Gary Vaynerchuk’s “VeeCon” — a four-day NFT and Web3 conference hosted in Minneapolis. “Our goal is to bring on the following 100 million [currently] non-crypto users and I feel this partnership helps us do this.”

About one-third of eBay’s total customer base use the mobile shopping app every month, which makes it the third hottest shopping app within the U.S. after Amazon and Walmart. 

Throughout the rest of the yr, OneOf plans to drop additional NFT series’ in partnership with eBay featuring iconic athletes and “reinterpreting iconic Sports Illustrated covers within the era of Web3.”

The corporate says each NFT is “priced for the on a regular basis fan” starting at $10 each.

In the course of the recent collectibles boom, Gretzky trading cards have set records for hockey memorabilia, with a rookie card selling for $3.75 million in 2021. In 2020, one other Gretzky card became the primary hockey card to sell for over $1 million.

NFT collections have experienced a big slide in value this month. A few of the more distinguished collections, comparable to Bored Ape Yacht Club and Crypto Punks, saw prices fall 28% and 32%, respectively, in keeping with CREBACO research.

Meanwhile, cryptocurrency — the asset class that fuels each NFT purchase on the blockchain network — has experienced a downturn. The worth of ethereum has recently traded down by as much as 60% from its 2021 peak, while bitcoin hit its lowest level since December 2020 last week, under $26,000.

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