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Cryptogambling / GameStop halts NFT marketplace, exits crypto market

GameStop halts NFT marketplace, exits crypto market

Publish Date: 15/01/2024
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Video game retailer GameStop has announced plans to cease operations on its non-fungible token (NFT) marketplace by February 2.

“Important Update. GameStop has decided to wind down our NFT marketplace due to the continuing regulatory uncertainty of the crypto space,” GameStop said on its website’s pop-up message.

The company did not clarify the specific regulatory uncertainties that led to the halt of the NFT marketplace.

GameStop highlighted that customers will be unable to buy, sell or create NFTs anymore. However, it said that existing NFTs on the blockchain will remain accessible and can still be sold on other platforms.

The move to halt its NFT platform signals a shift in strategy, distancing itself from crypto and NFTs. This marks a departure from riskier investments in the crypto industry.

The NFT marketplace was introduced in July 2022. It aimed to enable transactions and the creation of gaming-themed NFTs linked to GameStop rewards.

In December 2022, GameStop signaled a shift from its focus on crypto following a $94.7 million net loss in the third quarter, which led to staff layoffs in its digital assets department.

GameStop CEO Matt Furlong clarified that even though the company holds optimism for crypto, he aimed to safeguard investor funds by avoiding unnecessary risks.

“Although we continue to believe there is long-term potential for digital assets in the gaming world, we have not and will not risk meaningful stockholder capital in this space,” said Furlong.

In August last year, GameStop recommended that its customers secure access to their “Secret PassPhrase” as the company planned to discontinue access to iOS and Chrome Extension wallets.

“Due to the regulatory uncertainty of the crypto space, GameStop has decided to remove its iOS and Chrome Extension wallets from the market on November 1, 2023. Any customer with access to their Secret Passphrase has the ability to recover their account in any compatible wallet,” said GameStop.

Ryan Kagy, GameStop’s former community and education lead, emphasized that NFT buyers from the platform are still contributing to building the NFT community’s future together.

“As owners, early adopters, and shareholders of GameStop, our continued activity keeps the lights on for RC and GameStop to potentially find the ecosystem is still thriving when it’s time to re-evaluate,” said Kagy.

NFT search engine DappRadar removed the GameStop NFT marketplace from its list, as reported by Decrypt.co. At the time of writing, the GameStop NFT Twitter account has not addressed the marketplace’s shutdown.

GameStop enters NFT, crypto as revival plan

GameStop 2022’s entry into NFTs and cryptocurrency was initially part of a revival plan following a tough business period in 2021.

In Q4 2020, GameStop reported a net profit of $80.3 million, while during the same quarter in 2021, there was a net loss of $147.5 million.

Crypto.News noted that the company’s loss was due to increased general expenses. This included hiring numerous employees with expertise in blockchain gaming and operations for the transition to Web 3.0, substantial investments in infrastructure and technology and expanding their stock capital.

During Q4 2021, the company recruited a 20-member team to manage the gaming NFT marketplace and partnered with Immutable X.

The NFT marketplace has experienced a substantial decline, with monthly trading volumes dropping by over 97 percent from its peak. This decline — combined with GameStop’s relatively limited involvement in the overall NFT trading landscape — likely played a role in the company’s decision to step back from the sector.

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