What if eBay Was in The Trust Business & Not the Transaction Business?

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Imagine if 10 years ago eBay had opened up its account system to all commerce sites. By encouraging people to sign-in with eBay, any other site could have accessed eBay’s reputation system and, let’s say, discounted fee PayPal. For me it’s one of the biggest missed opportunities of the decade, one which could have put eBay at the center of P2P commerce.

So now, in 2015, having spun off PayPal is it too late? What if eBay opened up its reputation system today atop a Bitcoin wallet/exchange? Playing the bet that in a virtual currency environment, a realname (or pseudonym-based) reputation system could be valuable.

I’ve seen lots of startups pitch these sorts of reputation systems to me but they lack distribution or data to solve the coldstart problem. And I don’t believe P2P market leaders like Uber or airbnb want to either share data back into the ecosystem or adopt 3rd party reputation systems. Trust and ratings are a competitive advantage for them.

What creative steps could eBay take with its reputation system that thinks about the broader ecosystem, not just transactions on their platform? What if eBay decided it wasn’t in the transaction business, it was in the trust business?

Want more of me? I blog at www.hunterwalk.com & tweet @hunterwalk

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You’ll find me @homebrew , Seed Stage Venture Fund w @satyap . Previously made products at YouTube, Google & SecondLife. Married to @cbarlerin .

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