GameStop, the renowned American gaming merchandise retailer, has recently announced its decision to remove its cryptocurrency wallets from the market starting from November 1, 2023. This move comes after the company had introduced these features in the spring of the previous year, allowing users to manage digital assets and non-fungible tokens (NFTs). In an official statement on its website, GameStop cited “the regulatory uncertainty of the crypto space” as the reason behind this decision.
With the removal of its iOS and Chrome Extension wallets commencing in November, GameStop has alerted its customers to ensure they have access to their secret passphrase by October 1. This precaution will guarantee that they can recover their accounts using any compatible wallet. By launching its self-custodial wallet in May, GameStop provided customers with the convenient option to send, receive, store, and use crypto assets and NFTs without having to leave their web browsers. However, the recent regulatory concerns in the crypto industry have prompted the retailer to take this step.
Despite the emergence of various new marketplaces such as Blur, the interest in digital collectibles, including NFTs, has significantly declined over the past few years. Although platforms like Blur rapidly gained popularity, the current NFT trading volume is nowhere near the levels witnessed in 2021 and 2022. The decrease in demand for these digital assets might have influenced GameStop’s decision to remove its cryptocurrency wallets from the market.
GameStop made efforts to expand its presence in the cryptocurrency space by not only offering digital asset wallets but also launching an NFT trading platform. In September 2022, the gaming giant partnered with the American subsidiary of FTX, a now-bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange, to introduce its clients to the FTX.US community and offer gift cards from the marketplace in select stores across the United States. However, the partnership was short-lived as the exchange filed for bankruptcy protection, resulting in GameStop terminating the collaboration and providing full refunds to affected customers. This setback could have influenced the retailer’s decision to withdraw from the crypto market further.
Following the collapse of FTX, other entities in the gaming industry also severed ties with the platform. Esports giant TSM and video game developer Riot Games were among the companies that ended their associations with the now-defunct exchange in the subsequent months. This event highlighted the widespread impact of the bankruptcy and showcased the fragility of partnerships within the crypto space.
GameStop’s decision to remove its cryptocurrency wallets from the market is a response to the regulatory uncertainty in the crypto industry. The declining interest in digital collectibles and setbacks experienced through failed partnerships further influenced the company’s move. As the crypto landscape continues to evolve, it is crucial for businesses to adapt to changing circumstances and reassess their strategies accordingly.