Well it seems eBay is considering adopting Bitcoin as an additional way to pay for goods and services.
It seems that cryptocurrency will really be here to stay, especially if retail giants start taking it seriously. According to insider sources, eBay is in talks with various Bitcoin exchanges, seeking to integrate this new kind of currency into its existing Braintree payment system, opening the doors to paying for popular services like Uber using intangible money.
However that looks to be a very problematic situation, especially when prices rise and fall on a daily basis. For instance, if the goods you are buying today are valued at X, and then later in the day that changes and suddenly the value is Y, then how does that resolve the conflict with buyers and sellers over an individual transaction? Let’s say for instance you want to buy some product that costs 200.00 dollars. You send you money to the seller and then later that afternoon the price tanks to 120.00 dollars in value, what happens to the seller who sold his goods one moment for 200.00, which may in fact be only making him or her a profit of a few dollars, only to find later in the day the seller lost money on the transaction over the newer value of Bitcoin and even went into the hole?
Bitcoin’s popularity came to a head last year, but businesses and even governments haven’t exactly been rushing to adopt or acknowledge the cryptocurrency in their systems. Many aspects of the currency, which is generated purely through computer software and isn’t controlled by a central authority, still leave many scratching their heads. The scandals and issues surrounding Bitcoin also serve to cloud people’s judgment and reception of the currency. Nonetheless, companies are indeed taking note and proponents firmly believe that the decentralized, anonymous, and secure nature of the currency will eventually replace current money systems in the near future.
I shudder to think that eBay would want to further anonymize transactions within its systems. For instance, how does a buyer get his money back if he isn’t satisfied with the product and the transaction was done in secret or using an anonymous currency? Or what happens if the buyer gets sold a bill of goods and wants his money back, but the value of his Bitcoin has dropped to below the value he used to pay for those goods? How would eBay resolve these price fluctuations or differences in the value of goods purchased or sold?
eBay definitely isn’t the only big name trying to appeal to Bitcoin-wielding buyers. Online retailer Overstock just recently signed a deal with Bitcoin exchange Coinbase and started to accept bitcoin payments early this year. Coinbase is one of those named by sources to be in eBay’s list of potential partners. Last month, Dell also announced that it will be accepting bitcoins as well, which led to an order of PowerEdge servers worth $50,000 paid for with 85 bitcoins.
Well it seems that Coinbase is having problems with thefts and various other issues which have been discussed here, here and here. Apple at one point even pulled Coinbase out of their app store. So while Overstock bought into it and signed a deal with Coinbase, that doesn’t mean that people will have a smooth transaction with them or their exchanges. In fact, if I had a choice to make on whether to use my credit card or using Bitcoin and Coinbase as an exchange for my purchases, I would always choose a credit card over some digital currency which fluctuates with the wind, has exchange problems on a routine basis, and is supposedly totally anonymous in nature. I don’t care one whit that Overstock or any other major corporation wants to use or get others to use Bitcoins. The currency in its present form is just not reliable, and until they build in safety factors for the currency and the user base, it ends up being just another digital currency in a long line of digital currencies that have failed for one reason or another. Buyer beware, and if it sounds too good to be true it probably is.