Following the WSJ Exclusive that revealed to the public GameStop’s plans to expand into the NFT market, Barron’s has reported GameStop considered acquiring Loopring.

GMEdd.com first published source code from Loopring’s GitHub repository in October that confirmed the highly-speculated NFT Marketplace partnership amongst the ambitious pioneers was in development.

Prior to this, digital breadcrumbs had led us to that same point, detailing how Loopring has the technology that GameStop would require to bridge traditional e-commerce and blockchain and engineer the revolution of gaming.

the second layer

Connor Smith of Barron’s has corroborated The Wall Street Journal’s claims that GameStop is moving on blockchain partnerships, revealing that GameStop’s crypto plans have been in the works for months, the source told Barron’s, adding that the company has retained top crypto advisors to support its efforts.

When Barron’s questioned the source familiar with matters at GameStop about the Loopring speculation, the source stated that GameStop explored an acquisition of Loopring, but ultimately withdrew from talks amid logistical concerns related to Loopring’s operations in China.

Connor Smith’s tweet on January 6, 2022

Reddit users for months have speculated on whether GameStop had plans to launch something with decentralized financial company Loopring, which backs the LRC token. The person confirmed GameStop explored an acquisition, but said the retailer ultimately withdrew from talks amid logistical concerns related to Loopring’s operations in China.

Barron’s reports that a Loopring representative was not immediately available for comment, although GMEdd.com notes that back in November, Loopring CEO Daniel Wang stated he ‘could not comment on that’ anyway when asked by a reporter about the decentralized finance company’s rumored deal with GameStop.

GameStop withdrawing from acquiring Loopring Technology Limited does not prevent them from utilizing Loopring’s zkRollup Layer2 protocol to power their NFT Marketplace.

Read the full article, ‘GameStop stock surges on nft and crypto plans’ at barron’s

Source: Connor Smith at Barron’s

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After GameStop shares fell to their lowest intraday price since February, the Wall Street Journal reported after-hours that sources at the company claim GameStop’s expansion into the NFT and cryptocurrency markets is launching later this year.

The Wall Street Journal has announced that GameStop is launching a division to develop a marketplace for non-fungible tokens and establish cryptocurrency partnerships, according to people familiar with its plans, pushing the company into much-hyped areas as it tries to turn around its core business.

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.

By getting into the crypto and NFT space while it is still in its infancy, GameStop hopes to avoid missing out on opportunities to be part of a budding trend as it did with computer-game downloads about a decade ago, the people familiar with its plans said. 

GameStop’s Blockchain Division has continued to amass innovative talent, with the latest hire filling the unposted position of Vice President of Business Development. 

On Tuesday, GameStop made a few changes to their NFT landing page for the first time since May, including a banner inviting creators to request an invitation to join the NFT Marketplace.

Today, GMEdd.com has taken note of the company’s latest hire according to LinkedIn, Kurt Bierbower, a Blockchain and Cryptocurrency executive with Business Development experience at some of the largest FinTech, blockchain technology and cryptocurrency companies.

Kurt self-describes as well networked, with a “global, active rolodex at hundreds of cryptocurrency and technology firms,” while being responsible for generating billions in new revenue/business opportunities across several industries.

Fingers in every pie

Kurt joins GameStop from GMO Internet, Inc. the largest internet infrastructure conglomerate in Japan with over 140 global subsidiaries.

In his Senior Vice President role he launched the U.S. regulated cryptocurrency and blockchain technical services division. This included “deal flow for the largest FX retail brokerage globally, the largest cryptocurrency exchange in Japan, a bitcoin mining operation, gaming platform, NFT platform and a regulated stablecoin issuer.”

Kurt Bierbower’s LinkedIn as of December 31st 2021

Prior to this, he was Head of Business Development at Omega One, the first regulated, institutional cryptocurrency exchange for trading digital assets without market impact. He negotiated and closed strategic partnerships with leading market makers, buy-side firms, OTC desks, exchanges and trading platforms.

Other notable experience includes a Vice President role at Ethos, the first universal cryptocurrency wallet, with retail and enterprise storage and payments solutions and a six-year stint with Deloitte leading business development, sales and execution of technology and strategic engagements, including blockchain, payments, process robotics and supply chain.

Getting people comfortable with digital money

In a March 2021 interview on CEL Bites (Celsius Network Podcast), Kurt was a guest to share on a new partnership he had structured and touched on topics around taking crypto mainstream. 

“It’s that next kind of baby step, getting people comfortable with essentially digital money.”

Kurt Bierbower on CEL Bites on March 31st, 2021

Throughout the interview, Kurt expresses his interest and involvement in both retail and institutional adoption of cryptocurrency, showing his wealth of knowledge on regulatory matters concerning the new technology.

“One of the biggest hurdles is getting people to understand how to set up a wallet… [to access a] whole other class of assets out there.”

From what Kurt shares, and from what GMEdd.com has investigated online, Bierbower seems focused on the financial services crypto can offer, with less interest expressed in the NFT market, making his hiring by GameStop all-the-more intriguing.

Greater ambitions?

It is possible that GameStop’s ambitions with Blockchain do not end solely with NFTs or the creation of just another jpeg trading marketplace. 

While Kurt Bierbower’s past includes working on both a blockchain gaming platform and NFT platform, his specialties stretch far beyond the low hanging fruit.

Kurt Bierbower’s “About” as of December 31st, 2021

The full grasp of GameStop’s NFT project(s) remains unknown, and speculative investors are longing to begin to see results in the new year.

What is clear is that Kurt’s vast experience and ambitions in DeFi seems to have satisfied Ryan Cohen’s November request for candidates who want to actually WORK.

Happy New Years to all of our loyal readers!

Sources: Kurt Bierbower on LinkedIn, CEL Bites on YouTube

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Editorial note: Since publishing, Kurt Bierbower has modified his LinkedIn privacy settings, leading our sources to now point to an archived version.

GameStop has made an update to their NFT landing page, indicating interest in recruiting creators to join the platform prior to launch.

GMEdd.com first unearthed the existence of GameStop’s Official NFT project in May 2021 upon discovering a website that didn’t detail much besides a potential slogan for the project, and ever since then investors have speculated what GameStop NFT entails.

On October 28th, GMEdd.com published source code from Loopring’s public GitHub repository that confirmed the highly-speculated NFT Marketplace partnership amongst the ambitious pioneers.

Prior to this, digital breadcrumbs had led us to that same point, detailing how Loopring has the technology that GameStop would require to bridge traditional e-commerce and blockchain and engineer the revolution of gaming.

Upon Tuesday’s after-hours session coming to a close, the company has made a few changes to the same landing page that started it all, including a banner inviting creators to request an invitation to join the NFT Marketplace.

Oh, and several hours earlier the Chairman of GameStop’s Board Ryan Cohen tweeted “taking a dump in the metaverse,” alongside a stock image of a man wearing VR goggles on the toilet. Really, we can’t make this shit up.

Change The Game

Now, GameStop has overhauled the NFT.GameStop.com landing page, including a banner inviting creators to request an invitation to join the NFT Marketplace. Scrolling down, visitors will see a second call to creators.

GameStop’s NFT landing page as of May 25th and December 27th, 2021.

GameStop has also changed the color of the text “GAME” on the site from purple to a pastel gradient, symbolic of Web3, representing GameStop’s interest in the emerging industry

Upon opening the form, creators are greeted with a message saying, “Power To The Creators,” and that the platform will open up minting access on a rolling basis.

Again, visitors see the lengthier slogan, but in an outlined font that looks fun and playful.

Power to the players, Power to the creators, Power to the collectors

By tapping, “Let’s go,” creators are taken to a typeform asking them up to ten questions about their experience with NFTs, their existing projects, and what they intend to create for the marketplace.

The survey starts with a request for what they should call you, and is followed by a thank you for wanting to participate.

A flow chart created by nateeo.eth for GMEdd.com visualizes the question process.

One of the categories for participating is “Independent artist / creator / game dev / meme lord,” while the other fills companies / brands / game studios / IP [intellectual property] holders. 

With such an in-tune NFT division at GameStop, the meme lord banter was no surprise, and can we really be surprised that Ryan Cohen signed off on it?

More importantly, these two choices reveal that GameStop is interested in the participation of both creative individuals and game studios, answering some questions as to what kind of content may be on this platform.

The email sent back to those who fill out the GameStop NFT Creator Form.

Upon filling out the form, respondents are notified via email that their submission was received and the rolling basis for minting is reiterated.

Wen Launch

Loopring is speculated to be one of GameStop’s partners in the NFT Marketplace, and while their Layer-2 wallet will allow for gas-free, instant transactions on the platform, it needs to be bug-free and ready to support hundreds of thousands of eager users when the marketplace arrives.

Loopring had previously disclosed an anticipated Q4 2021 launch date of their premium partner’s NFT Marketplace, but with less than a week of the year now remaining it seems to be an unlikely deadline to most. 

Back in October, Loopring’s Head of Community Byron Wiebe stated that Loopring’s free Layer-2 Wallet will be launching simultaneously or prior to the NFT Marketplace, allowing for easy adoption amongst those who aren’t used to crypto.

Byron answered some questions from ManBearOrca on October 26th.

Just one week ago, on December 21st, Loopring began rolling out their L2 wallet to “onboard the masses,” leading the curious to wonder when to anticipate a marketplace launch.

Despite an intuitive user interface, the wallet still lacks fiat off-ramps, a feature that, “is being worked on and coming hopefully early in 2022,” and would be required to allow users of GameStop NFT to convert their crypto back to usable cash. 

Loopring’s Community Manager has also changed his rhetoric in the last few weeks, now stating that “this quarter is only the beginning,” and “the major adoption will happen throughout 2022.”

Byron’s tweets on December 6th. Yes, that is really his profile picture.

It seems improbable GameStop is interested in launching an empty marketplace, and with applications for creators just now opening it will take some time for the team to go through the immense interest and coordinate with candidates on a rolling basis.

All factors considered, GameStop has undoubtedly made huge progress towards their NFT Marketplace launch behind-the-scenes, but short-term investors may need to remain patient for some time longer, as a buggy launch would be much worse than a delayed one.

In the retailer’s ambitions to transform into a technology company, GameStop has a lot to prove, and the execution matters most.

Sources: NFT.GameStop.com, Byron on Twitter, Byron on Twitter

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After a GameStop customer shared his appreciation for executives on LinkedIn, GMEdd.com reached out to hear what it was about; “GameStop has my business forever. I won’t buy video game stuff from anybody else after what they did.”

 
‘Twas the week before Christmas, and all through the nation
Supply lines were clogged, to growing frustration;
Even for those with a toy in their cart,
The system itself seemed unwilling to part. 

 

“I tried and tried, I would be signed in with my credit card info already in, open all day for Walmart, GameStop, Target… four or five different windows I had opened and signed in.”

 
The newest of consoles were hardest to find,
And so when it seemed that the stars had aligned,
And an order to buy one, at last it went through!
The customer fervently hoped it was true.

 

Having deemed the task too difficult last year, Jimmy Fontenot of Baton Rouge, Louisiana was determined to find the new Xbox for his son this Christmas.

 
But alas, ‘21 did conspire to thwart
And he watched as the online tracking cut short;
And the order it sat, in limbo for ages,
The frustration it grew, in fits and in stages;

 

“So the weird thing is, I got the tracking number and I could see that [the courier] had it, and then it just froze and just wouldn’t move.”

 
Then suddenly, cries for assistance were heard
And a flurry of emails gave the good word,
“We heard of your plight; we’ll work as a team,
And help you to realize your son’s gaming dream.”

 

After the shipping courier lost Jimmy’s order and with only a week until Christmas, the father reached out to several GameStop executives on LinkedIn for help.

 
And what should arrive in a matter of days?
The fabled new Xbox, that holiday craze!
“We shipped a second as well, to ensure its speed,
Please pass it on to a family in need!”

 

“They all sent me messages back, it was in an hour. They told me, ‘Look, we’re going to figure out what’s going on. We’re going to help you.’”

 
There’s a surefire way to make patrons delight,
And that’s to make every transaction end right;
To bring joyful smiles to little kids faces,
As they’re finally off to the Forza 5 races.

 

GameStop employee veterans and Ryan Cohen’s cohorts worked together, shipping an Xbox from both the York, PA fulfillment center and the Grapevine, Texas location to ensure one would arrive on time.

 
But wait! There’s a coda to this little tale,
So before you depart we choose to avail:
In the hustle and bustle at the end of the year,
When each of us seeks out a little good cheer;

 

“I said, ‘Look, I got a, you know, an underprivileged family that normally wouldn’t be able to buy this, I can donate the other console to them if y’all want,’” Fontenot said.

“Eric, Jorge, Jim and Kelli were all about it, they were like, ‘Yeah, absolutely, you read our mind. If you have a family that could really use it and it’s gonna make a huge difference, go ahead and give it to them.’”

 
We should each find a means through kind words or good deed,
To help those around us who may be in need;
If we all can do that, things will turn out alright.
And so: Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

 

A special thanks to Jimmy Fontenot for gracefully sharing his story with us, and a Merry Christmas to all of our loyal readers!

Sources: Kelli Durkin on LinkedIn, Jorge Zertuche, Eric Bright, Jim Grube, Jimmy Fontenot

GameStop Corp. today released financial results on the company’s Investor Relations platform for the third quarter ended October 30, 2021.

The gaming retailer in the midst of transformation will also host an investor conference call at 5:00 pm ET to review the company’s financial results. This call and any supplemental information can be accessed at GameStop’s investor relations home page.

GMEdd.com Co-Proprietor Rod Alzmann will be live on Bloomberg TV’s Bloomberg Markets What’d You Miss? at 4:30 PM EST to discuss the company’s financial results and ongoing transformation.

THIRD QUARTER OVERVIEW

Net sales were $1.297 billion for the quarter, compared to $1.005 billion in the prior year’s third quarter.

Sales attributable to new and expanded brand relationships, such as Samsung, LG, Razer, Vizio and others, contributed to the Company’s growth in the quarter.

Inventory was $1.141 billion at the close of the quarter, compared to $861 million at the close of the prior year’s third quarter, reflecting the Company’s focus on front-loading investments in inventory to meet increased customer demand and mitigate supply chain issues.

Ended the period with cash and cash equivalents of $1.413 billion as well as no debt other than a $46.2 million low-interest, unsecured term loan associated with the French government’s response to COVID-19.

Established new offices in Seattle, Washington and Boston, Massachusetts, which are technology hubs with established talent markets.

Secured a new $500 million ABL facility, which closed in November just after the end of the third quarter, with improved liquidity and terms, including reduced borrowing costs, lighter covenants and additional flexibility.

WEBCAST AND CONFERENCE CALL INFORMATION

The webcast with management is scheduled for December 8, 2021, at 5:00 p.m. ET to discuss the Company’s third quarter activities and financial results. This call, along with supplemental information, can also be accessed at GameStop’s Investor Relations. The phone number for the call is 877-451-6152 and the confirmation code is 13725350. This webcast will be archived for two months on GameStop’s investor relations website.

Source: GameStop Newsroom, Form 8-k


Read the transcript of GameStop’s Q3 2021 Earnings Conference Call here.

As Q4 2021 progresses and the launch of GameStop NFT remains ahead, the Chief Executive Officer of Loopring Daniel Wang has responded to a request for some Q&A.

On October 28th, GMEdd.com released source code from Loopring’s public GitHub repository that confirmed the highly speculated partnership amongst GameStop and the Ethereum-based high-throughput, low-cost, layer2 technology company.

Prior to this, GMEdd.com had published digital breadcrumbs leading to that same point, detailing how Loopring has the technology that GameStop would require to bridge traditional e-commerce and blockchain and engineer the revolution of gaming.

While speculative investors and crypto enthusiasts have eagerly awaited an official statement, a Canadian journalist has decided to ask Loopring’s CEO Daniel Wang his thoughts on scalability, the future of Loopring, and the all-but-announced partnership, granting GMEdd.com permission to share what he found.

The Interview

On November 23rd, 2021, the freelance journalist started with a simple request sent to the Loopring Foundation email for comment on a story in the works about layer-2 solutions in the Ethereum ecosystem.

Emails obtained by GMEdd.com, with private information redacted.

After requesting a quick interview with a Loopring representative and obtaining a response from Daniel Wang himself, the journalist, who asked we keep their identity private, sent over several questions for the CEO.

Three days later, Wang responded to the inquiry, providing color on several different topics related to the company’s technology and its anticipated adoption.

The questions, and Wang’s relevant responses, can be read in their raw format without edits below.

November 26, 2021

Q. Scalability has always been a major issue for Ethereum adoption. L2s like Loopring solve this problem, but the infrastructure is still in it’s beginnings. Do you think that, in the future, users will only interact with L2s, and that L1 will basically become an under-the-hood settlement layer?

Yes, I do think this will be the case for most users. A layered design is much easier to scale.

Q. How would you describe, in layman terms, the advantages of ZK rollups versus optimistic rollups? Is the withdrawal period the only major difference for the user?

The waiting period for withdrawals is a major (noticeable) drawback of optimistic rollups, but the other thing people often neglect is that there needs to be watchers of OR blocks to constantly find potential violation of rules and then challenge the operators in a timely minter to protect user’s interest. These watchers need to be incentives and they cannot share the same interests with operators to stay independent. 

Q. Loopring already has use cases, such as a DEX. But if you think about the finality of your protocol, ten or twenty years down the road, what use cases do you have in mind? Do you plan to be more business/payments-oriented, or game-oriented?

That’s a good question that I don’t have a good answer for. The blockchain space has been embracing new ideas and technologys on a daily basis. It’s hard to make a road map for even the next two years. We are more interested in building infrastructures instead of focusing on an application. Recently what makes me excited is that progress Ethereum Foundation has made in their zkEVM effort. I believe in a year or two, there will be general purpose zkRollup built on top of it to offer full EVM compatibility. 

Q. Vitalik Buterin recently talked about the importance of social recovery for wallets. Losing private keys is a big risk for users, and it’s holding many people from joining crypto/DeFi. Do you think products like Loopring Smart Wallet can help mass adoption? How do you see the evolution of this product in the next few years?

Smart wallet with social recovery is really a good product idea, but the adoption is slow due to higher gas cost of deployment and transaction compared with EOA wallets. I believe to solve this barrier to the market, smart wallets shall be deployed onto layer-2s instead of Ethereum mainnet. It will also be great if Ethereum can support converting EOA addresses to contract addresses so people can try EOA first, then convert them to contract-based wallets later to adopt social-revery based solutions.

Q. There have been a lot of rumors about a potential partnership with Gamestop, which is allegedly working on a NFT marketplace. Can you tell us more about this potential deal? And beyond Gamestop, how would you describe the way Loopring can integrate in the metaverse?

I cannot comment on that.

Q. How many users do you think DeFi can have in 20 years, and what place do you think Loopring will have in it?

I would image most people who have a smart phone will have crypto apps installed and owns some cryptocurrency. By then, Loopring will probably be gone — there will be a lot of younger and smarter people building next generation of technologies to outcompete most existing blockchain platforms/products. It will be sad that two years later most of the current projects are still around. Don’t you agree?

Our Interpretation

Daniel Wang envisions a future where end-users interact with Ethereum entirely on Layer2, leaving standard L1 ETH as a settlement layer, citing enhanced scalability. 

When the question was raised about a road map, the Chief Executive stated that due to the rapid embrace of new ideas in the sector, “It’s hard to make a road map for even the next two years.”

On Loopring’s Discord server in September, Wang stated he was struggling to write the company’s third quarter report in fear of leaking secrets and breaching a non-disclosure agreement, indicating the secrecy of the project.

Amid widespread rumors and source code leaks, by opting to state that he “cannot comment,” in his latest interview on the GameStop partnership, Wang acknowledges the existence of the speculation and declines to negate it.

While official announcements have yet to be made, and with GameStop’s third quarter fiscal 2021 earnings results disclosed on Wednesday, December 8th, retail investors anticipate a product launch of GameStop NFT, bridging the gap between traditional e-commerce and blockchain, within the upcoming month.

Source: Emails with Daniel Wang

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