US e-commerce giant eBay has bought non-fungible token (NFT) marketplace KnownOrigin for an undisclosed sum.
Founded in Manchester in 2018, KnownOrigin’s technology and platform enables artists and collectors to create, buy and resell NFTs via blockchain-support transactions.
eBay said the acquisition of KnownOrigin is an “important step” in its “tech-led reimagination, ushering in a new era of digital collecting to the world's top destination for collectibles”.
NFTs are ‘one-of-a-kind’ digital assets - such as art, pictures, videos, or even memes - that can be bought and sold online.
The highly speculative digital assets exploded in popularity during the pandemic, with a flurry of fashion companies launching their own collections as they looked to capitalise on the popular but nascent NFT space.
In December 2021, sportswear giant Nike snapped up RTFKT, a virtual sneaker and fashion start-up that makes wearable NFTs for the digital world.
Commenting on the acquisition of KnownOrigin, eBay CEO Jamie Iannone said: “eBay is the first stop for people across the globe who are searching for that perfect, hard-to-find, or unique addition to their collection and, with this acquisition, we will remain a leading site as our community is increasingly adding digital collectibles.”
The move comes after eBay began allowing the buying and selling of NFTs in May 2021.
Iannone continued: “KnownOrigin has built up an impressive, passionate and loyal group of artists and collectors making them a perfect addition to our community of sellers and buyers. We look forward to welcoming these innovators as they join the eBay community.”