Surprise! eBay is Launching an NFT Collection

Although Instagram’s entrance into the NFT space made waves in the community last week, it’s far from the first Web2 staple to make the transition. Just a little over a year ago, e-commerce juggernaut eBay announced that it would start listing NFTs for sale on its site. Now, one of the internet’s oldest institutions has launched a collection of its own.

eBay has partnered with green NFT platform OneOf to release its Genesis NFT Collection — a series of animated 3D interpretations of some of the most iconic athletes to grace the cover of Sports Illustrated. This falls perfectly in line with eBay’s long history as a haven for sports memorabilia collectors, as well as the entrance of entities like NBA Top Shot into the NFT space.

The great one of one

Kicking off a year jam-packed with drops and releases is an initial run depicting hockey’s undisputed GOAT, Wayne Gretzky. This first collection is set to come in tiers, with the most common and accessible collectibles falling into the green tier at the lowest end and the diamond tier at the highest end.

Pricing is set to start at a fair, fan-friendly $10 at the green tier, which will consist of up to 299 editions of Gretzky-themed 3D renderings or animations. Currently, there’s no announced pricing on the rarest diamond-tier collectibles, of which there will only be 15 highly-rare editions.

Speaking on this collection in a press release, Gretzky shares: “Forty years ago, I was grateful to be on the cover of Sports Illustrated, it was a monumental moment in my life. I’m honored to bring this collectible experience to my hockey fans who have followed my career for decades.”

Going mainstream

Since its earliest days known as AuctionWeb during the peak of the 90s dot-com bubble, eBay has brought millions of online users into the high-stakes world of auctions. With this latest project, eBay hopes to do for NFTs what it did for online auctions all those years ago: bring them into the mainstream.

By using a sports icon as widely beloved as Gretzky as the face of its first foray into selling and curating collections, eBay and OneOf alike hope that this will be a significant step forward in bringing in more people into the web3 space. OneOf CEO Lin Dai stresses the importance of making the NFT space more accessible, stating in a press release, “You don’t have to be a crypto expert to buy, sell, and collect NFTs.”

Should this campaign succeed, Dai hopes that eventually it will empower OneOf, eBay, and any other interested parties to ”[bring] transformative Web3 technology to the next 100M non-crypto-native mass consumers.”

However, the key to achieving this goal doesn’t just lie in creating a project that’s easy to market and sell. Both OneOf and eBay are acutely aware of the importance of eliminating what they call “technical friction” from the end user’s experience. As such, eBay is utilizing its decades of experience in the realm of online collectibles to make the transition for non-crypto-native consumers into the space as smooth and simple as possible. Following the launch of its genesis collection, eBay plans on launching the eBay vault, a dedicated, hassle-free digital marketplace for trading cards soon after.

OneOf’s involvement in this project is also key, as this digital marketplace for music and sports memorabilia runs on the Polygon blockchain. By hosting its services on this proof-of-stake blockchain, OneOf says that transactions on its platform are up to two million times more energy-efficient than transactions on platforms utilizing the Ethereum blockchain. Aside from the energy savings and significantly lower environmental impact, the efficiency in which the Polygon blockchain runs allows partnered platforms like OneOf to opt-out of charging users for blockchain gas fees altogether. Interested buyers can browse the collection here.

Editorial Note: This article has been updated. A previous version said the collection would be listed on Tezos. It will be listed on Polygon.

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