NextGen Investing: GameStop says game on for crypto

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It was just a matter of time before the turbocharged worlds of meme-stock and crypto trading collided in a burst of speculative frenzy.

GameStop, which became emblematic of 2021’s turbulent year of investing, is getting into the business of cryptocurrency and nonfungible tokens.

NFTs emerged as the hottest commodity of the crypto universe last year as prices for some NFT digital artworks spiraled into the millions of dollars and celebrities and athletes flocked to the asset class. GameStop’s flirtation with crypto follows that of fellow Reddit-crowd darling AMC Entertainment, which announced in November that it’s contemplating issuing its own cryptocurrency.

GameStop’s NFT strategy, first reported by the Wall Street Journal, involves talks with crypto and blockchain operators about what tokens would be accepted on its marketplace as well as the setup of potential funds, each of up to $100 million, to invest in NFT content creators and game studios.

Getting into the NFT trade would mark the latest pivot for GameStop chairman Ryan Cohen, whose push to reinvent the brick-and-mortar video games seller into a digital-first retailer sparked a fervor for the stock last year.

OpenSea, the largest market for NFTs, is valued at $13.3 billion. It saw an explosion in sales last year, with monthly volume peaking at $3.4 billion in August, up from $96.7 million in February, according to Dune Analytics. The company makes money by taking a 2.5% cut of every transaction.

Following OpenSea’s success, a slew of other NFT marketplaces have sprung up in recent months, hoping to attract users. GameStop already has a stable of millions of loyal gamer fans that it can direct into its own NFT marketplace.