EBay recently posted a policy for payments that, using their power as market makers, regulates the currency substitutes which sellers are allowed to utilize for their transactions. It’s an interesting read. It provides a pretty wide ranging tour of some of the ways people have found to create currency substitutes.
For example I just love this section where precious metals and frequent flier points are lumped into one category “… payment model involves precious metals, or other non-cash (points, miles, minutes, coupons, discounts) …” who knew? At that point I’m find I’m wondering if people are actually selling things on eBay in exchange for long distance minutes and loyality club points?
I’m amused that eBay has declared cash to be verboten. In effect taking the default currency system and eliminating it as a competitor for PayPal is clever. They frame it up as about safety, but of course it also has consequences on anonymity and transaction costs.