Right, sorry. “Non-fungible” more or less means that it’s unique and can’t be replaced with something else. For example, a bitcoin is fungible — trade one for another bitcoin, and you’ll have exactly the same thing. A one-of-a-kind trading card, however, is non-fungible. If you traded it for a different card, you’d have something completely different. You gave up a Squirtle, and got a 1909 T206 Honus Wagner, which StadiumTalk calls “the Mona Lisa of baseball cards.” (I’ll take their word for 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 goods such as avatar outfits and weapons, according to the people. The company is asking select game developers and publishers to list NFTs on its marketplace when it launches later this year, the people said.
GameStop also is close to signing partnerships with two crypto companies to share technology and co-invest in the development of games that use blockchain and NFT technology, as well as other NFT-related projects, the people said. The retailer expects to enter into similar agreements with a dozen or more crypto companies and invest tens of millions of dollars in them this year, the people said.
Grapevine, Texas-based GameStop has been working to reset its business after years of losses. The company was at the center of a stock-trading frenzy last year that boosted its share price, which rode a surge in interest and optimism from individual investors.
The turnaround effort has yet to show significant results in GameStop’s financial performance. In the quarter through October, the company said revenues grew, but its loss widened compared with the same period a year earlier. The revenue growth came from sales of hardware and accessories, while revenue from game software slipped 2%.
“We believe our emphasis on the long term is positioning us to build what will ultimately become a much larger business,” GameStop Chief Executive Matt Furlong said on an earnings call with analysts last month. Mr. Furlong, who joined the company last year from Amazon.com Inc., then mentioned that GameStop was exploring business opportunities involving blockchain and NFT technologies.
There have been signs some investors are losing patience. Through Thursday’s close, GameStop shares had plunged by more than 45% over the past six weeks, though the stock remains far above where it was when investors started piling into GameStop shares a year ago. The stock surged more than 20% in after-hours trading following The Wall Street Journal’s publication of the news.