eBay's KnownOrigin Web3 Strategy Questioned As NFT Bubble Bursts

Liz Morton
Liz Morton


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eBay acquired NFT marketplace KnownOrigin for an undisclosed sum in June 2022, betting big on the nascent crytopart market, but progress on Web3 initiatives has stalled as the NFT bubble deflates.

eBay Acquires NFT Marketplace KnownOrigin
eBay acquires NFT marketplace KnownOrigin, built on the Ethereum Blockchain, as it moves deeper into cryptoart.

Metaverse Post took a look at where KnownOrigin stands a year after the acquisition and the results don't paint a pretty picture.

eBay’s KnownOrigin NFT Marketplace: A Year Later, What’s the Verdict?
NFT marketplace KnownOrigin was founded by David Moore, Andy Gray, and James Morgan in 2018 in Manchester, UK. The platform, known as one of the first NFT

What’s Brewing at KnownOrigin?
Despite being acquired by a tech giant, the platform has not demonstrated any impressive outcomes. According to Dune, in July this year, the platform only had 382 unique on-chain wallets touching KO contracts.

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On a side note, the platform reached its peak in December 2022, when 5037 unique users per month were engaged.

During the past month, there have been an average of three sales per day. According to Dune, nine NFTs are minted on the platform daily.

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In July, 370 NFTs were sold on the platform, while in December 2022, the platform saw 6739 sales.

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It seems like the NFT marketplace is not among the community’s favorites, with Blur and OpenSea at the top of the preference list.

A recent Ask Me Anything hosted by KnownOrigin on X/Twitter Spaces garnered only 145 participants, which is not exactly impressive for an account with over 123,000 followers.

Bloomberg recently reported the NFT bubble may have finally popped and the once shiny new thing is facing its "worst moment."

NFTs, Once Hyped as the Next Big Thing, Now Face ‘Worst Moment’
When you look at the charts, “everything is down.”

Nonfungible tokens, most popularly associated with the digital artwork and other collectibles recorded on crypto blockchains, have lost most of their value after once capturing the imagination of crypto enthusiasts as the next big thing. The hype and FOMO, or “fear of missing out,” around NFTs has faded since their all-time peak in January 2022, leaving beaten-down buyers and sellers struggling to find long-term value in the speculative assets.

Monthly trading volume for NFTs plummeted 81% between January 2022 and July 2023, data from DappRadar shows. Over the same period, monthly NFT sales figures have dropped 61%, per DappRadar. And floor prices for blue-chip NFTs like Bored Ape Yacht Club and CryptoPunks are at more than two-year lows, according to industry data tracker NFT Price Floor...

...NFTs, along with the rest of crypto, had a painful comeuppance last year as a cascade of high-profile collapses and scandals soured investors on a digital-asset market already pinched by rising interest rates. But even as the broader crypto market has stabilized somewhat this year, NFTs have failed to find their footing.

Investors aren’t the only ones suffering. NFT marketplace Recur, which is backed by billionaire Steve Cohen and known for its Hello Kitty NFT partnership, said it’s winding down due to “unforeseen challenges and shifts in the business landscape.”

Mark Cuban- and Joe Lubin-backed NFT social-media platform Nifty’s, which partnered with Warner Bros. on Looney Tunes-themed NFTs before changing strategy, also said it’s closing shop, citing investment opportunities that “didn’t pan out.”

Surviving platforms and projects aren’t faring well either: Leading NFT marketplace Blur has seen its sales volume — measured in Ether — drop 96% between a late June peak and early August, data from Dune Analytics shows.

In a glaring and perhaps telling omission, neither eBay nor KnownOrigin were even mentioned by Bloomberg.

After a short lived rush in August 2022, eBay seems to have slowed down hiring for crypto and NFT initiatives.

eBay Hiring For Crypto & NFT KnownOrigin Positions
eBay hiring for NFTs & cryptography after KnownOrigin acquisition - could cryptocurrency be on the horizon?

Currently eBay only has one open position for KnownOrigin, looking for a Web3 Solidity Engineer.

Web3 Solidity Engineer in Manchester, United Kingdom | Engineering at eBay
Apply for Web3 Solidity Engineer job with eBay in Manchester, United Kingdom. Engineering at eBay

We are looking for an experienced Web3 Solidity Engineer to join the team and help us define, deliver and realise our vision for the KnownOrigin / eBay NFT protocol. You will have the ability to work across teams and lead an internal Web3 community.

What you’ll be working on:

  • Build rich configurable and customizable NFT contracts covering various different use cases and requirements
  • Working closely with the wider Product and Engineering teams to flesh out and deliver a feature rich and extensive set of smart contracts for use on the platform
  • Building order book protocols responsible for settling millions of trades in a secure, GAS efficient and UX friendly way
  • Building efficient payment protocols for FX swaps and secure custodial and non-custodial NFT and other crypto asset exchanges.
  • Design and build an extensible NFT contracts framework
  • Integration of the smart contract suite into various parts of the application stack.
  • Helping upskill less experienced members of the team in how to write and deploy complex smart contract systems

eBay clearly entered the NFT space with no long-term strategy to capitalize on the technology and no idea what to do once the hype started to wear off.

Will CEO Jamie Iannone or Chief Business Strategy Officer Stefanie Jay face scrutiny from the board and investors for this strategic misstep or will shiny new AI toys be enough to distract from this failed acquisition?

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Liz Morton is a seasoned ecommerce pro with 17 years of online marketplace sales experience, providing commentary, analysis & news about eBay, Etsy, Amazon, Shopify & more at Value Added Resource!