GameStop shares surge on plan to enter NFT, crypto markets

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GameStop Corp is launch­ing a divi­sion to devel­op a mar­ket­place for non­fun­gi­ble tokens (NFTs) and estab­lish cryp­tocur­ren­cy part­ner­ships, a source famil­iar with the mat­ter said on Thurs­day, boost­ing the video game retail­er’s shares 27% in extend­ed trading.

GameStop declined to com­ment. The Wall Street Jour­nal first report­ed the news cit­ing peo­ple famil­iar with the matter. 

The video game retail­er is under­go­ing a revamp, with chair­man Ryan Cohen tap­ping exec­u­tives from com­pa­nies includ­ing Amazon.com Inc to turn GameStop away from brick-and-mor­tar and towards ecommerce.

The com­pa­ny is ask­ing select game devel­op­ers and pub­lish­ers to list NFTs on its mar­ket­place when it launch­es lat­er this year, the WSJ report said.

An NFT is a dig­i­tal asset that exists on a blockchain, a record of trans­ac­tions kept on net­worked com­put­ers. The blockchain serves as a pub­lic ledger, allow­ing any­one to ver­i­fy the NFT’s authen­tic­i­ty and who owns it. 

The retail­er has hired more than 20 peo­ple to run the unit which is build­ing an online hub for buy­ing, sell­ing and trad­ing NFTs of vir­tu­al videogame col­lectibles such as avatar out­fits and weapons, accord­ing to the WSJ report.

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GameStop launched its NFT web­site last year and has been invit­ing cre­ators to join the platform.

The com­pa­ny has also been at the fore­front of the “meme” stock trad­ing fren­zy last year, in which retail investors hyped stocks on news site Red­dit and bro­ker­age site Robin­hood, a blow to sev­er­al hedge funds that bet the stocks would tumble.

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