At eBay’s investor day March 10, CEO Jamie Iannone shared details about the company’s long-term growth strategy and previewed new products, including plans for the eBay Vault — both a physical storage facility and a digital marketplace for trading cards and other high-value collectibles. The company also announced plans to launch its own digital wallet.
“We are building an eBay for the future by doubling down on what we do best — connecting sellers and buyers of non-new in-season products,” said Iannone in a statement. “We see incredibly compelling growth potential in this market and believe it is our opportunity to win by sharpening our focus and continuing to create value through a tech-led reimagination of eBay.”
The eBay Vault will consist of a 31,000-square-foot secure storage facility and accompanying digital marketplace for valuable goods, beginning with trading cards and collectibles and eventually expanding to luxury goods. Within a few years, eBay expects the Vault will hold up to $3 billion in assets.
Debuting in Q2 2022, the Vault will be designed to not only give buyers and sellers peace of mind but also enable faster transfers of ownership. Once an item is in the eBay Vault, ownership can transfer from seller to buyer in a matter of seconds without the need to re-authenticate, repackage or ship the item anywhere. Keeping high-value inventory within the eBay ecosystem will also enable the rollout of other planned features, including fractionalization (multiple ownership of a single item) and live commerce.
The global sneaker, watch and trading card resale markets are valued in the billions and are expected to continue to surge, according to research from Boston Consulting Group and Cowen & Co. As a result, these “hobbies” are increasingly viewed as both serious investments and a lucrative opportunity for eBay, which considers itself the “original marketplace for enthusiasts and collectors.”
The announcement of the Vault follows several years of efforts by eBay to beef up its credentials for the trading of authenticated high-value collectibles, including the launch of its Authenticity Guarantee in late 2020, for which independent experts vet and verify items prior to their sale on the platform. In November 2021, eBay acquired Sneaker Con Digital’s authentication business to further bolster the program.
eBay also is making moves in the world of digital payments, with plans to launch its own digital wallet. This is the latest development in a nearly four-year transition away from former subsidiary PayPal toward an internally managed end-to-end payments system.
eBay and PayPal have been slowly separating their businesses for years, beginning with the 2015 spinoff of PayPal. Then in 2018 eBay signed Adyen to take over as its payment processing partner when its agreement with PayPal expired in mid-2020, with the ultimate aim of managing the payments flow on its marketplace internally. That process was completed in September 2021 and the platform is now quickly moving to expand its payments features, beginning with the launch of the digital wallet that will allow customers to easily use proceeds from sales to purchase other items or pay selling expenses.