eBay’s has filled a patent application through PayPal for secure tokens that could potentially be used as a virtual currency.
The application was filed in June 2012 and published on 19 December 2013 and it would allow people to buy products without creating a payment provider account.
The patent application reads: "The recipient can use the token to purchase a product using a checkout though the payment provider. The purchase can be made without requiring the user to create the user’s own payment provider account".
In theory, the tokens could also be used for purchases outside of eBay and PayPal and not just for giving gifts, making eBay a competitor of other virtual currencies Bitcoin and litecoin.
In December, PayPal president David Marcus said of Bitcoin: "People are confused. They think because it’s called cryptocurrency it’s a currency. I don’t think it is a currency. It’s a store of value, a distributed ledger."
Marcus has said that he doesn’t think the proposed token could be used as a currency at this stage because its pricing fluctuates too much for practical use.
eBay’s rival Amazon entered the digital currency market a year ago with Amazon Coins. Facebook, on the other hand, scrapped the idea of virtual currency called Facebook Credits in June 2012.