Gamestop’s highly anticipated NFT marketplace has been launched in beta. But it arrives with a surprise: It will be powered by Loopring instead of Immutable X, recently announced partner.
Both networks will eventually support GameStop’s NFT marketplace once it goes fully live by July. The beta deal is clearly a big win for Loopring. As for gamers themselves, who’ve become more vocally anti-NFT in recent months, that’s another story. Both networks are souped up Ethereum Layer 2s.
After the NFT marketplace was confirmed in February, Twitter user ‘Louie Pikmin’ tweeted at GameStop: “Wow, you guys will really do anything to stay in business, including investing heavily into a fad.”
This week’s news marks yet another twist in the saga of the gaming retailer. Left for dead a couple of years ago, it electrified the retail investing community in 2021 as the primordial meme stock. Investors piled into its shares to force Wall Street hedge funds with short positions to endure heavy losses. The campaign made GameStop shorthand for the power of the masses over the elites in the markets.
Layer 2s Flex and Efficiency Thrives
It also made GameStop a fave in the crypto community. Eager to leverage that popularity, GameStop embraced NFTs.
In April 2021, speculation began to swirl after the company posted a job offering for a security analyst experience with blockchain and nonfungible tokens. GameStop then quietly launched the nft.gamestop.com website the following month, which pointed to an Ethereum smart contract named ‘Gamestop’.
It was later revealed that Matthew Finestone, the former Head of Business at Loopring, had left the project to work for GameStop. Upon departing Loopring, Finestone wrote that he had received a “once in a lifetime opportunity” that would “help bring millions of users onto Ethereum.”
Miniscule Transaction Fees
As Ethereum Layer 2s, both networks leverage the decentralization and security of Ethereum while charging miniscule transaction fees.
In February, GameStop said it had partnered with Ethereum Layer 2 Immutable X to launch a $100M fund in IMX tokens to provide grants to NFT creators and builders. “Immutable X will also become a Layer 2 partner and platform for GameStop and the Company’s NFT marketplace that is expected to launch later this year,” the company said.
Immutable tweeted that the marketplace would be “100% carbon neutral” and will not feature gas fees.
However, GameStop’s filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in January showed the company had also teamed up with Loopring to power its NFT endeavors.
That’s why Loopring’s March 23 announcement that the GameStop’s marketplace had been launched in beta on its Layer 2 caught many onlookers by surprise. Users can now get early access to the marketplace. They can set up their profile and username, and also make deposits.
“We believe that today marks an important inflection point for the entire NFT space, and we are excited to be a part of what’s to come,” wrote Loopring’s Adam Browman.
Responding to the news, Immutable took to Twitter on March 23 to emphasize that it “is powering GameStop’s NFT marketplace as their preferred partner.” It noted that Loopring’s integration “was not a surprise” and was mentioned in the SEC filing.
“We are glad to work with all people who are helping to scale Ethereum,” Immutable wrote. “The GameStop marketplace will ultimately be an aggregator, with Immutable as its preferred partner.”