Chris Maurice, CEO of Nigeria-based crypto exchange Yellow Card, made his first business venture into the crypto space back in 2015, selling Bitcoin (BTC) on eBay.
"We did that for about a week and we did over $40,000 in sales at a 100% markup," Maurice told Cointelegraph in an interview. "We were seeing stars at this point," he recounted, describing his euphoria at the time.
The CEO first learned about Bitcoin in 2013 through a friend — Justin Poiroux, the co-founder of Yellow Card exchange, although Yellow Card was not formed until later, unrelated to the eBay endeavor.
While surfing eBay in 2015, Maurice saw BTC selling on the site for triple its going market rate at the time.
Coming up with an idea for profit, Maurice explained,
"I called up Justin and I said, 'Hey, we're two relatively smart individuals. I Know how to use eBay, you know what Bitcoin is so let's make some money,'"
After the mentioned initial success of BTC sales on eBay, however, the situation started unravelling. "That's when I learned what a credit card chargeback is," he explained. "People were just stealing credit cards online, coming to us on eBay and charging the cards," he said. "When PayPal found out, they pulled the money back from us, and then we had already sent the Bitcoin."
"Of course that was how I also learned just how irreversible Bitcoin is," he added. "Credit cards, not so much."
Credit card chargebacks essentially allow parties to take their funds back after a making transaction. Bitcoin does not host the same feature — both a benefit and a drawback, depending on the situation.
"That was my first foray into crypto," Maurice said.
Although evidently not especially feasible, the eBay endeavor shows a profitable early example of arbitrage, a common trading tactic used to profit on price discrepancies seen across exchanges and other avenues.