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eBay acquires NFT marketplace

eBay is making a new investment into NFT commerce.

eBay Inc. continues delving deeper into the sale of non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

The e-commerce marketplace has purchased NFT marketplace KnownOrigin. KnownOrigin's technology and platform is designed to provide artists a place to create unique, authentic, digital collectibles in the form of NFTs. Founded in 2018 in Manchester, U.K., KnownOrigin enables artists and collectors to create, buy and resell NFTs via blockchain-support transactions.

eBay initially gave the green light to the purchase and sale of NFTs in May 2021. NFTs are unique digital assets stored on a blockchain ledger that certifies the owner. There is no way for an NFT to have more than one owner, and only the certified owner can sell it.

At the time it first entered the NFT market, eBay said it would launch programs, policies and tools that will allow customers to buy and sell NFTs with greater ease and confidence, across a broader range of categories. eBay also plans to add new capabilities to bring blockchain-driven collectibles to its platform.

Other recent new NFT ventures launched by eBay include a May 2022 partnership with NHL legend Wayne Gretzky. The company is rolling out a series of exclusive NFTs through a strategic partnership with OneOf, a sustainable NFT platform. eBay's first-ever "Genesis" NFT collection will feature 3D and animated images of athletes featured on Sports Illustrated covers over the years.

Collectibles, digital and otherwise, represent an increasingly important product category for eBay. The company recently launched a new authenticity guarantee service for trading cards in January 2022, which it has since built upon through a new strategic partnership with PSA (Professional Sports Authenticator), a trading card authentication and grading company.

"eBay is the first stop for people across the globe who are searching for that perfect, hard-to-find, or unique addition to their collection and, with this acquisition, we will remain a leading site as our community is increasingly adding digital collectibles," said Jamie Iannone, CEO of eBay. "KnownOrigin has built up an impressive, passionate and loyal group of artists and collectors making them a perfect addition to our community of sellers and buyers. We look forward to welcoming these innovators as they join the eBay community."  

"We founded KnownOrigin to empower creators and collectors by giving them the ability to showcase, sell, and collect unique, authenticated digital items," said David Moore, co-founder, KnownOrigin. "As interest in NFTs continues to grow, we believe now is the perfect time for us to partner with a company that has the reach and experience of eBay. With more than twenty-five years building similar communities of passionate individuals, we are excited by the opportunity to bring a whole new audience on this journey. This is the start of a new chapter in the KnownOrigin story and we couldn't choose a better time to focus on building and innovating with the team at eBay. This partnership will help us attract a new wave of NFT creators and collectors."

eBay is acquiring KnownOrigin and the companies have signed and closed the deal as of June 22, 2022. Further details were not disclosed. 

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