The pendulum of history has resoundingly swung back to “it’s so over” from any semblance of “we’re so back” for ailing retailer GameStop following its experiments with cryptocurrency and brief moment in the sun as some kind of Reddit meme thing. As reported by Decrypt, the company has announced that its NFT marketplace will shutter on February 2.
The marketplace has been updated with a notice to this effect, citing “continuing regulatory uncertainty of the crypto space,” the exact same wording GameStop gave when it announced the end of its crypto wallet. While users will no longer be able to buy, sell, or create on the platform, any assets they own will remain accessible on the blockchain via other platforms.
Like many retailers, GameStop has struggled in the face of ecommerce and digital distribution, though it still retains a strong nostalgic appeal to many gamers. In 2021 we saw the strange saga of its stock price getting driven into the stratosphere by small traders organized through Reddit. Though the story has been made into a movie with a bafflingly excellent cast, the good times didn’t last for GameStop or many of those hobbyist traders.
GameStop joined a wave of companies and individual celebrities to try and cash in on the height of 2021 and ’22’s NFT craze, which now feels like it happened in a different century. The company continued to lose revenue, however, and in June of last year CEO Matthew Furlong was terminated. While GameStop has cited regulatory uncertainty in pulling out of the space, it’s not even clear anyone even cares enough to regulate crypto anymore.
The failure of numerous so-called stablecoins, the bankruptcy of FTX and the highly publicized prosecution of its founder, Sam Bankman-Fried, as well as the general crash in value of cryptocurrencies and NFTs have led to potentially irreversible reputational damage for the technology. Besides, we’re betting our future and the entire economy on AI now, grandpa.