GameStop, the embattled video game store and meme stock, launched a non-custodial Ethereum browser wallet in beta on Tuesday. Users control their assets and must manage the wallet’s private keys themselves.
The wallet is available from the Chrome Web Store for the Chrome and Brave browsers, and an iOS version of the app is “coming soon.”
The new wallet precedes GameStop’s NFT marketplace, which the video game store expects to launch by September. In February, GameStop announced a partnership with Immutable X, an Ethereum Layer 2 for NFTs, to build the marketplace and launch a $100M development fund. Loopring will also help develop GameStop’s NFT marketplace.
GameStop’s wallet supports Layer 2 transactions on the Loopring rollup network. Loopring transactions are cheap, and secured by Ethereum’s base layer. Etherscan estimates that transfers on the Ethereum mainnet cost about $1.30 and swaps are priced at $10.45. The same transactions cost $0.02 and $0.50 on Loopring, according to L2fees.
GameStop’s brick-and-mortar shops suffered when the gaming industry went mostly online-only, but the company’s stock went viral in early January after retail investors piled in. The price of GME surged from $19 to highs of $483 in January 2021 before crashing to $40 in February. GME then hit $342 last June but now trades for $96. In its fourth quarter financials, GameStop reported losses of $147.5M, equating to a loss of $1.94 per share.
While plenty of crypto fans are looking forward to GameStop’s NFT marketplace, gamers have pushed back against NFTs, criticizing the energy expenditure associated with Proof-of-Work and the extractive business models game studios use when leveraging nonfungible tokens.
In February, Team17, the developer of Worms, canceled plans to launch NFTs less than one week after its announcement drew criticism from fans and one of its development partners.
During the same month, Electronic Arts (EA) CEO Andrew Wilson said the company is no longer “driving hard” on NFTs. Sega announced NFTs in April 2021, but after persistent criticism, the company said it will “carefully assess” users’ concerns before launching them.
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