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GameStop shares jump 20% on report it will launch NFT marketplace

By Ramishah Maruf, CNN Business

The calendar changed, but the roller coaster ride for GameStop’s stock continues.

GameStop shares jumped as much as 20% Friday morning after the Wall Street Journal reported the company is creating a nonfungible token, or NFT, marketplace.

After a wild 2021 for the video game retailer as a “meme stock” with lots of attention on Reddit, shares have fallen almost 12% in the new year as of Thursday’s close, though that narrowed to down 6% year-to-date as of midday Friday.

CNN Business has reached out to GameStop for comment on the WSJ report, which said the company plans to allow people to buy, sell and trade NFTs for virtual video game goods — think avatar outfits and weapons — on the marketplace. Though GameStop hasn’t confirmed the news, a new page on its website invites interested developers, artists and “meme lords” to fill out a form to request to become a creator.

NFTs are a rapidly growing space. The largest and most well-known marketplace, OpenSea, is valued at $13.3 billion. OpenSea currently has few competitors, but that may change as firms like GameStop enter the market.

GameStop has hired more than 20 people to run the new unit, according to WSJ. Last year the company reshuffled its executive board and placed Chewy co-founder Ryan Cohen as chairman. The new NFT market could signal Cohen’s vision to transform GameStop from a traditional brick-and-mortar retailer to a tech-centered e-commerce powerhouse.

The company also hired former Amazon executives as CEO and CFO.

The NFT marketplace news comes almost a year after GameStop shares began surging thanks to amateur daytime traders on Reddit’s WallStreetBets forum, popularizing the “meme stock.” The stock soared up to 1,600%, heavily squeezing short sellers on the real Wall Street.

GameStop stock is up more than 673% over the last 12 months, but it’s still well below its all-time high.

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