eBay UK to allow trade in bitcoins from February

21 Jan 2014

E-commerce giant eBay UK has announced it will allow the sale of bitcoins on its website, in what could prove to be a watershed moment for the online currency.

From February, the online auction site will allow users to buy and sell the currency through its classified section, according to an email leaked online that was sent to one of its UK retailers last night.

In the email, eBay UK stated: “eBay is opening a Virtual Currency category to allow the sale of virtual currency in Classified Ads format on February 10, 2014. We request that you do not list these items until that date.”

‘Believers in bitcoin’

So far, the sale of bitcoins has only been confirmed in the UK, but it can be expected to be rolled out across eBay’s other channels soon.

The news comes after PayPal’s (owned by eBay) CEO David Marcus announced on 12 January on Twitter that he supported the currency. In his tweet, he explained he believed in the idea of the currency: “To clarify: we have no policies against using PayPal to sell bitcoin mining rigs. We don’t support any currency txn whether fiat or BTC for a host of regulatory issues. But we treat BTC and any FX txn the same way. We’re believers in BTC though.”

Smaller online retailers are already in the early stages of accepting the currency as payment, with Overstock.com being the largest one so far.

eBay UK’s decision to allow the trade of bitcoins is expected to be seen as a ‘trial run’ before it accepts the currency as payment.  

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic