The new GameStop NFT Beta landing page now states the marketplace is almost here, and invites users to beta test now.

Video game retailer GameStop has spent the last year undergoing a tech-centric transformation, with a premium NFT marketplace being at the core of this transition. This newfound interest for the brick-and-mortar was initially revealed through job postings alluding to blockchain developments at the company dating back to April of 2021.

GMEdd.com first unearthed the existence of GameStop’s Official NFT project one month later, 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.

By October 27th, 2021, GMEdd.com published source code that revealed Loopring, an Ethereum Layer 2 Protocol, had been hard at work building GameStop an NFT Marketplace of their own.

Loopring’s GitHub Code from October 2021.

Prior to this, digital breadcrumbs had led us to that same point, detailing how Loopring’s technology could power a bridge of traditional e-commerce and blockchain and engineer the revolution of gaming.

With Immutable, another Ethereum Layer 2 NFT Marketplace provider, announced as a preferred partner in January 2022, GameStop investors were uncertain what role Loopring still held in this deal.

Now, GameStop has launched a new beta page for the incoming NFT Marketplace. Alongside this, an announcement by Loopring answers some questions, as well as allows users to connect their wallets and beta test features for a launch that is coming soon.

Loopring Does the Honors

In a Medium.com post on March 23, 2022, at 4:29 AM EST, the Loopring Protocol announced that the future of NFTs are here and they’re powered by Ethereum’s second layer.

Loopring states that they are thrilled to announce that the long-awaited GameStop NFT Marketplace (beta) is now LIVE, with the full NFT Marketplace coming shortly, built atop none other than Loopring L2.

Loopring Protocol’s Medium Post on March 23rd, 2022.

“GameStop, in partnership with Loopring, has the opportunity to cement itself at the forefront of this new NFT + gaming paradigm and become THE destination for new global digital economies.”

To accomplish this, the new GameStop NFT Marketplace is reportedly built atop the second layer of Ethereum, specifically Loopring L2, to ensure that users receive the strongest digital property rights, anchored by a secure, decentralized, and a credibly neutral environment, like Ethereum. 

Loopring L2 inherits Ethereum’s self-custodial security while abstracting away costly gas-fees, leaving no one priced out.

Loopring also acknowledges that GameStop choosing to build on L2 first, bypassing L1 altogether, marks a huge step forward for the future of NFTs and an important moment for Ethereum scaling.

“Loopring has built the rails for creators to deliver high performance applications that rival the speeds and scalability of Web2, while also empowering users to receive provable ownership and control over their assets in Web3. These massive speed improvements and lower costs open up the design space to create all sorts of new use-cases for NFTs + gaming that were unimaginable prior.”

To wrap up the announcement, Loopring invites fans to get early beta access at beta.nft.gamestop.com, to set up usernames + profiles, make deposits, and be prepared for the full launch of the official marketplace coming soon.

Daniel Wang’s tweet on March 23rd at 4:57 AM EST.

The founder of Loopring, Daniel Wang, also took the opportunity to thank GameStop for the opportunity to work on multiple blockchain products. He states that this is certainly not the end of the partnership, and Loopring will continue to help GME polish their user experience.

A first look

GameStop, rockets, and the moon are three things very well-known to retail investors and GME aficionados alike. The GameStop NFT Beta landing page begins by marking three key elements that have become staples in the minds of traders across meme stocks and crypto for years. 

Upon first glance, the user is hinted towards a “Connect” button highlighting the opportunity to link a cryptocurrency wallet, which is fairly typical of existing NFT platforms such as OpenSea and Coinbase.

Following a wallet connection (we opted for MetaMask), users are invited to customize their profiles and make deposits.

GameStop NFT’s profile page.

The profile customization page allows users to set a username, choose an NFT profile picture, write a short bio, and attach an email address along with Twitter and Reddit usernames.

Users can also navigate to their owned, liked, and hidden NFT collections.

When depositing funds, the options are to buy ETH with a card, deposit ETH from your wallet, or ask a friend to transfer to your account.

The process of starting a deposit on the GameStop NFT Beta

Notably, deposits from Ethereum L1 are converted into Loopring L2 by default.

“Once on Layer 2, there are no more gas fees to transact!”

When users visit their account history, they will likely see a screen that shows “Nothing here yet,” we can assume this will display transaction history in the future.

GameStop NFT Beta’s Account History page

With over 1 million NFTs minted on Loopring L2 since early 2022, the page invites users to check the Loopring Layer 2 Explorer, further indicating the involvement of Loopring in this NFT Marketplace. 

Besides this, no other notable features are currently visible in the beta.

While the marketplace itself remains hidden, digital sleuths can tweak the code a bit to start showing listings, revealing what the final product may look like.

GameStop NFT’s hidden Explore page on March 23rd.

Some NFTs by Miguelgarest are displayed, an NFT artist who has been quietly working on new projects, alongside the GameStop NFT Arcade Machine, all of which are listed as not for sale.

some things aren’t so immutable

With nods to Loopring all over the GameStop NFT Beta, investors are left in the dark on Immutable’s role, as many thought the Australia-based Ethereum Layer 2 NFT Marketplace would be taking over the project entirely.

On the issue, Byron Wiebe, Loopring’s Head of Community, has again shared his personal thoughts on Loopring’s Official Discord server.

Byron Wiebe on Discord on March 23rd at 6:02 AM EST.

Byron states that Loopring has been working with GameStop for almost a year now to build and integrate this marketplace, fully built on Loopring L2.

“No IMX.”

Byron goes as far as to share that he believes Immutable (IMX) has been a little disingenuous with their marketing.

Byron Wiebe on Discord on March 23rd at 6:11 AM EST.

The Loopring Head of Community believes that Immutable’s marketing materials were “pretty shitty” and not true at all.

“Their marketing materials where they tried to position this upcoming announcement of ours to just be an “alpha” was pretty shitty on their part to be honest.”

According to Byron, as far as he is aware, there has been zero “technical work” done with IMX to this point, and it has just all been marketing, with GameStop doing “something” with them after the Loopring L2-based marketplace is fully live.

Byron Wiebe on Discord on March 23rd at 6:37 AM EST.

Byron also states that while he does not want to speak on behalf of GameStop, the marketplace was “genuinely supposed to be Q4, but had some unfortunate delays at the last minute.”

Over on the Immutable Discord, investors in the Ethereum Layer2 with 88% of it’s supply uncirculated are demanding the truth. 

Nigel Lee, Immutable’s Strategy and Operations Lead, is trying to fan the flames, stating that Immutable has never denied that Loopring was involved.

Nigel Lee on Discord on March 23rd at 6:20 AM EST.

Nigel even asks the naysayers, “Where’s the value talking about competitors?” in regards to questioning over Loopring’s clear involvement in GameStop NFT. 

Immutable’s Strategy and Operations Lead claims that IMX brings a network of games and partners they are working with to the table, and that the team has never denied Loopring’s involvement.

In a Discord Stage hosted at 7:45 AM EST, Robbie Ferguson, the Co-Founder and President of Immutable, was quick to insist that GameStop approved all of their marketing materials and nothing nefarious was at play.

GMEdd.com did not have any overpriced consultants available to ask whether this was the right strategy for Immutable.

What now?

GameStop’s retail investors will almost certainly spend the remainder of the week scouring through the GameStop NFT Beta, searching for clues as to what the marketplace will be like.

Some are even speculating that the website’s code may have accidentally revealed the launch date for GameStop NFT as “Astronaut day,” a national holiday on May 5th.

Code revealed on the GameStop NFT Beta on March 23rd, 2021.

Although this date does fall within with the recently announced launch before the close of Q2 2022, veteran GameStop investors are experienced enough to know to not rely on dates hidden within code.

While GameStop’s NFT Beta only allows users to create accounts, deposit funds, and claim usernames at the moment, we urge those curious to check the platform out themselves, as GameStop gears up to soon deliver power to the players.


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Source: Loopring on MediumGameStop NFT Beta, Loopring on Discord, Immutable on Discord

Who’s going to be the host for all these files?

It’s no secret that GameStop has been building a premium NFT marketplace, with job postings alluding to blockchain developments at the company dating back to April of 2021.

After a year of cat and mouse chases searching for clues as to who GameStop is working with, the aspiring technology company’s latest known technology vendor has been uncovered in what could be seen as an intentional Freudian slip. 

The Pinata Broke

Pinata’s very own Head of Product, Justin Hunter, confirmed that Pinata is providing backend distributed storage for the emerging retailer turned-NFT Powerhouse during a speaking event with Texas Blockchain.

The Head of Product at Pinata commented that the shadow vendor-client relationship hadn’t been intended for public scrutiny, but that Twitter had spread the message after a user dug into GameStop source code.

“[GameStop] is using us both for the storage of the assets and then serving the content back.” — Justin Hunter

Before this spill, investors were already clued into the relationship between GameStop and Pinata.

The DNS records of ipfs.nft.gamestop.com

GameStop’s own DNS records have long referenced gamestop.mypinata.cloud, revealing that the gaming retailer has been using their hosting services for some time now.

So what is Pinata?

Pinata claims they’re “the home for NFT media”, and trusted by well-known non-fungible pioneers such as Rarible, Autograph, Protocol Labs, and sorare.

Screenshot of pinata.cloud’s homepage as of March 5th 2021.

Pinata is a cloud based InterPlanetary File System (IPFS) service provider offering users the ability to host their NFT content on the decentralized Web 3.0. 

The company is currently a leading service provider for dedicated public IPFS gateways, which allows creators to upload their NFT content onto the peer-to-peer distributed file system where it will no longer need to rely on a centralized service provider such as Amazon S3, Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure, who currently lead the Web 2.0 services sector.

A visualization of HTTP vs IPFS

Due to the decentralized nature of blockchain technologies, in order to have true ownership of NFT content users cannot rely on a centralized server. 

In the centralized world of Web 2.0, users must trust the data provider as well as the data. Contrary to this, in Web 3.0 users only need to trust the data itself thanks to the decentralized nature of IPFS and its use of cryptographic hashing. 

By using Pinata and their IPFS services, GameStop can securely host NFT content on behalf of its users in a decentralized manner which enables players, creators, and collectors to have complete ownership of their content. 

IPFS provides both reliability and resiliency to attacks. When a traditional content provider goes offline, whether due to maintenance, software bugs, a cyber attack, or even censorship, users are left unable to access their data, games, media, or other files. With IPFS, users can rely on the many peers of the system to continue hosting content while some nodes may be offline. 

To put it simply, GameStop powers the players, creators, and collectors; Pinata powers the underlying NFTs. 

Pinata’s Roots

Established in 2018, Pinata offers professional services for NFT file management, allowing users to upload files of any type and size to the peer-to-peer distributed file system known as IPFS.

“Our mission is to help creators provide an experience worth paying for.” – Pinata

Pinata by the numbers, according to pinata.cloud/about

Pinata works via storing content, such as games, media, or files, within a hash of an NFT’s verified URL. This verification takes place with an access token that is only generated by the NFT owner. 

Think of a DNA strand: it’s tiny and works with others to make up a whole asset, but if destroyed, the next strand can reproduce the entire product! 

Pinata’s distributed storage creates DNA strands of digital assets, enhancing security and decentralized goodness. 

Pinata’s Submarining, explained.

One of Pinata’s distinct features is Submarining, which allows users to make an IPFS file they upload private from the public IPFS network. This capability allows people to attach data to an NFT and control who can view it based on ownership of the NFT.

It’s a Party

In essence, Pinata allows applications, end users, and creators to interact with the Blockchain to create trustless, decentralized verification between themselves and others.

GameStop using Pinata’s offerings to host and serve their NFTs indicates that the video game retailer is committed to the future of digital, pinning themselves at the forefront of the internet’s transition to Web 3.0.

Vice and kmsully contributed to this piece. Toast edited and contributed.


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Sources: IPFS Draft 3, What is IPFS, Pinata FAQ, Pinata Features, The Block Crypto

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.

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

GMEdd.com’s Research Report has remained untouched since release, until now.

On January 20th, 2021, as GameStop Corp. traded at $39.36/share on the New York Stock Exchange, GMEdd.com released their first research report outlying a case for an extraordinary $169.00 bull thesis, rebuting naysayers and self-interested short sellers who maintained the stock would plummet “back to $20 fast”.

Since then, GameStop has persisted on discreet public relations, while overhauling the company’s leadership and talent to gear up for a behind-the-scenes, game-changing metamorphosis, as detailed in GMEdd.com’s GameStop’s Impending Market Disruption through an Unprecedented Transformation.

The Foundation

The loose collective of retail investors with a distinguished fascination for GameStop founded GMEdd.com to immortalize the research and high-quality due diligence that the community put into the investment thesis — to prevent it from being drowned out by any attempts to mislead or confuse public discourse on the company’s value. 

And at the time of our initial report’s publication, there was tremendous need for the honest, independent discussion of the company’s value that we hoped to foster. At $39/share, the company had rallied more than 400% from Ryan Cohen’s initial 13-D filing, but remained undervalued even by conservative estimates. 

However, traditional media outlets were working overtime to cast the rally as illegitimate. Andrew Left’s Citron Research was toying with the public and suggesting longs were “suckers at this poker game”, and even attempts to share research on “retail investor friendly” platforms like Reddit, Twitter, and Stocktwits were met with posts being removed and obfuscated by bot responses.

Only a handful of independent voices had the courage, platform, and profile to stand out and engage in a reasonable discussion about what GameStop might be worth.

Keith Gill, aka ‘Roaring Kitty’, was a fan of both our original report – and updating his thesis as facts changed or emerged.

Post an unprecedented short-squeeze in January, GameStop’s stock has remained volatile – but GMEdd.com’s bullish price target has proven robust. 

Remarkably, GameStop Corp.’s VWAP, average of the daily Volume Weighted Average Price for the prior thirty consecutive trading days, since February, has landed at $169.79.

Despite the Reddit Apes and unexplainable volatility events, the market has accepted GMEdd’s January bull case of $169 with remarkable precision.

Now, on the one-year anniversary of Ryan Cohen’s landmark Letter to the Board, upon appraising all of the latest guidance and material on the company, GMEdd.com has prepared a refreshed Research Report, detailing a bullish, base, and bearish case once again.

The Report

We’re Sharing Our refreshed Homework

Our financial model has been made open and widely available to the public to facilitate transparent, productive discussion around “fair value” of GameStop Corporation shares

Click Here to get our latest Research Report & Financial Model

Do Your Own Due Diligence

 

The content of this report reflects independent research and analysis conducted by a collective of independent retail investors in GameStop Corporation, is for informational purposes only, and is provided “as is” with no warranty of any kind, express or implied. Any content or statement herein should not be construed as investment advice, or as an offer to buy, sell, or solicit the purchase or sale of any security or financial instrument. Your use of the information contained herein is solely at your own risk. Do your own due diligence.

At the time of posting, all GMEdd.com contributors hold a position in GameStop Corp.

GameStop’s stock may have gotten a little ahead of fundamentals in January, but everything that has transpired behind-the-scenes since then may be leading to a massive reevaluation. 

GameStop’s transformation from a struggling brick-and-mortar retailer into a technology company that will soon unveil GameStop NFT — a gas-free, consumer-facing, blockchain marketplace — may become one of the greatest turnaround stories in business. All the while, the company has remained silent and the financial media refuses to cover it.

If you’ve been following along since GMEdd.com’s inception almost a year ago, you already know the prologue, but for those who are new here: buckle-up and welcome aboard.

Glassware and Dog Food

The story begins long ago with a mentor’s inspiring devotion to his business…

Ted Cohen was a glassware importer with an impeccable work ethic, who reportedly never missed a day on the job. He led by example, but not in a deliberate way. “It’s who he was,” his son says. 

Ted Cohen pictured on the left.

With a keen eye for capital allocation, the disciplined leader kept track of the expenses that most entrepreneurs forget about. Power bills, the varying prices of hundreds of glassware products that he sold, and even the daily gas prices to accommodate for impacted transportation costs.

If you take a carload of this (pointing to a pallet of glassware) you’ll make more money. But if you take a carload of that (pointing to a different pallet), you’ll make less money, but you’ll keep the customer. So, take a carload of that.

Read more on Ted Cohen in Entrepreneur.

Ted Cohen was in it for the long haul. Less concerned with making a “quick buck,” Ted wanted to please his customers. Through his commitment to the business, Ted went on to motivate his son, Ryan, who credits his father’s guiding footsteps in his career.

Influenced by his father, the 25-year old Ryan Cohen dropped out of college and founded Chewy, originally MrChewy, with a friend he met in an online chat room. Chewy’s goal was to create a household brand and sustainable business that “delivers pet happiness” through unmatched convenience and customer service.

Joan Verdon at Forbes reports that, back then, Cohen used the 1997 Jeff Bezos letter to Amazon shareholders as a roadmap for how to grow the company. Chewy’s playbook became Bezos’ emphasis on the need to scale, to achieve market leadership, and to make bold bets.

MrChewy as seen in a 2011 screenshot of the site.

In need of capital, Cohen has said he approached over 100 venture capital firms. After being turned away by all of them, Cohen finally secured the company’s first outside investment of $15 million through linking with Larry Cheng of Volition Capital.

From that point on, the mission was larger. I was even more committed to making Chewy an industry leader, because it was no longer just our own money on the line. Larry had gone out on a limb for us. I felt that responsibility. [Ryan Cohen in HBR]

By 2016, the pet product retailer had grown to $900 million in sales and had become the number 1 online pet retailer. One year later, Cohen had raised $350 million and was preparing for an IPO.

This all took a turn when PetSmart purchased Chewy for $3.35 billion in the largest e-commerce acquisition of all time. Two years later, PetSmart took Chewy public at a valuation of $8.7 billion.

Ryan Cohen has spoken with TechCrunch about Chewy’s IPO.

In an interview with Connie Loizos of TechCrunch, Ryan Cohen referred to Chewy’s IPO as his “baby graduating from the college that he never went to,” and the year of the record-breaking acquisition Fortune named Cohen one of its “40 under 40.”

After continuing to operate as Chewy’s Chief Executive Officer for nearly a year after the sale, Cohen then stepped away from Chewy to begin an exploratory process.

Ryan Cohen considered retirement overrated.

Without any desire to retire at age 33, the relentless entrepreneur began plotting his next move.

I’m lucky. I’m talking to a lot of different entrepreneurs and business[es] and looking at corporate board opportunities. I’m going through that exploratory process.

RC Ventures

In April of 2019, Cohen saw an opportunity with GameStop and invested, pushing the video game retailer to focus on online sales and shutter unprofitable locations.

GameStop had tried and failed to sell itself after years of stagnant growth and corporate strategy missteps. The company hired a new CEO, George Sherman, a veteran of retailers including Advance Auto Parts. Sherman was GameStop’s fifth CEO in less than two years.

At the time, Ryan Cohen was far from being a household name. Living a private life, Cohen had rarely spoken with the press, and GMEdd.com can only cite seven media appearances despite selling a high-profile, multi-billion dollar company prior to his initial GameStop purchase.

With Cohen down on his GME investment, his suggestions to the board largely ignored, and stock reaching an all-time low of $2.80, the investor executed on an activist approach and upped the ante to a 9% stake, as he filed his first 13D for GameStop via RC Ventures LLC on August 28, 2020. 

RC Ventures’ first 13D filing, dated August 28th, 2020.

This sparked waves, particularly within value investor circles, as many pondered the e-commerce guru’s investment motives. What was the Founder of Chewy doing investing in GameStop?

For the past year, Cohen had been perfectly crafting a digital presence, coming out of his private life and conducting more than a dozen interviews, seemingly in an effort to build his credibility as an e-commerce mogul and aid with public support in the event of a proxy battle for control of the company.

When Cohen filed his initial stake in GameStop, traders were interested in the business magnate’s motives and discovered his recently-conducted media sharing his groundbreaking story of beating Amazon in the digital world.

At the time, Cohen had established a website, ryan-cohen.com, that embedded various media appearances and formal interviews the Chewy co-founder had given.

Roaring Kitty was impressed with Ryan Cohen’s success as an entrepreneur.

Retail investing icon Roaring Kitty first stumbles upon Ryan Cohen’s rudimentary homepage during an August 28th, 2020 livestream.  At the time, the deep value investor was merely trying to learn more about the Chewy founder. 

The website has since been shut down in December of 2020. Had the website done its job? 

The Letter and the Agreement

In November of 2020, Ryan Cohen again upped his stake, averaging into a 9.98% position.  More importantly, the activist investor amended a letter to the board in his 13D titled, “Maximizing Stockholder Value by Becoming the Ultimate Destination for Gamers.”

Snippets of Cohen’s Letter to GameStop’s Board in November 2020.

In a bold move, Ryan Cohen urged GameStop’s board to adopt the right roadmap to value creation, stating that the company needs to evolve into a technology company that delights gamers.

GAMESTOP’S LEADERSHIP MUST PROMPTLY PIVOT FROM A BRICK-AND-MORTAR MINDSET TO A TECHNOLOGY-DRIVEN VISION

The letter called to attention the ineptitude of then-CEO George Sherman, “Regrettably, Mr. Sherman appears committed to a twentieth-century focus on physical stores and walk-in sales despite the transition to an always-on digital world,” Ryan Cohen wrote. 

To this day, the November 2020 letter remains the preeminent voice of Ryan Cohen’s vision regarding the gaming retailer, that all investors should review for an inside-look at his strategy.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the board responded by hosting a private call with Mr. Cohen.

Outraged with a proposed dilutive offering that was never mentioned on the call, Cohen wrote an email to GameStop’s then-chairwoman, Kathy Vrabeck, warning her that he would go public with his disapproval if the company proceeded with the sale. He urged her to share the email with other directors, people familiar with the matter said.  [WSJ, Aug. 12, 2021]

“The ill-timed stock offering created a wedge and he used it to his advantage,” a former board member said.

Reportedly leery of a prolonged fight and open to new ideas to improve the business, the board invited Mr. Cohen and two of his associates to join in January.

Read How Ryan Cohen Took Over GameStop – WSJ for more.

GameStop announced the RC Ventures agreement on January 11th.

With Ryan Cohen and his colleagues from Chewy’s executive suite now appointed to GameStop’s board, the work was just getting started.

Cohen in Charge

One of GameStop’s first Cohen-lead initiatives was recruiting a Chief Technology Officer, Senior Vice President of Customer Care, and a Vice President of Fulfillment. 

All of these appointees came from Amazon and Chewy, with the job titles and work experience indicating a new direction the board member was steering the company towards.

Shortly thereafter, the then-CFO Jim Bell was pushed out and a “hiring frenzy” rapidly ensued.

In May, GMEdd.com published GameStop Poaches Talent From The Best – Amazon, Chewy, Facebook, Google, and More.

As if the decades-old company was a startup once again, tech and e-commerce talent looking to be a part of something began leaving blue-chips in droves to fulfill Cohen’s vision. LinkedIn chatter began hinting towards GameStop gearing up for a transformation that will be studied in universities for years to come.

The stock remained volatile, and in April a new slate for the board was announced, with Chewy’s first investor Larry Cheng nominated for a seat and Ryan Cohen to be elected as Chairman.

At the company’s Annual Shareholders Meeting on June 9th, 2021, the newly-appointed Chairman addressed claims that the company was withholding a roadmap from investors.

We know some people want us to lay out a whole detailed plan today, but that’s not gonna happen. You won’t find us talking a big game, making a bunch of lofty promises, or telegraphing our strategy to the competition. That’s the philosophy we adopted at Chewy.

After months of cheeky tweets from Cohen, GameStop had announced two new fulfillment centers, mirroring Chewy’s locations and strategy. Simultaneously, the company had eliminated all long-term debt and raised nearly $2bn to fund transformation efforts.

GMEdd.com also took note of several job listings and LinkedIn posts that indicated the company would be expanding their corporate footprint from Grapevine to South Florida, Seattle, and Boston in an effort to have a vast pool from which to recruit talent.

The Future of Gaming

Sprinkled in these job postings were hints that the company was up to something big. GMEdd.com first noted in an otherwise typical job posting from April 8th, 2021, GameStop inadvertently expressed interest in the booming non-fungible tokens market, alongside blockchain and cryptocurrency.

GameStop’s Job Listing from April 8th, 2021

Listed under additional skills and experience, GameStop asked that applicants have experience in: blockchain, cryptocurrency, or non-fungible tokens.

In an increasing mania, GameStop began recruiting individuals for an “NFTeam” upon establishing NFT.GameStop.com, asking for exceptional engineers, designers, gamers, marketers, and community leaders to join the project.

It wasn’t long until speculative investors began pondering GameStop’s move into NFTs, and what the brick-and-mortar retailer was up to hiring blockchain engineers.

By October, GMEdd.com was confident enough to put all of the pieces together and publish the findings.

Loopring is the key

Loopring is aiming to leverage blockchain to become the leading user-facing financial services application in the world. Revolutionizing trading, investing, payments, ‘banking’, to become the gateway of choice for users to experience the parallel financial system of Ethereum — in all its glory and security.

Loopring posted an interview titled, “Counterfactual Wallet & NFTs on Loopring” on Medium. 

For months, the technology company had teased an NFT Marketplace launch with a “premium owner,” coming soon, and with glaring business ties and family ties, it seemed Loopring had the technology that GameStop would utilize to bridge traditional e-commerce and blockchain, and engineer the revolution of gaming.

Read more on the clues in Clues Point Towards GameStop Launching NFT Marketplace with Leading Crypto Technology Company Loopring

Just days later, with the clues published and the theory gaining traction, GameStop bluntly requested NFT marketplace experience in a job posting, alongside blockchain gaming.

The very next day, GMEdd.com noticed updates pushed to Loopring’s public GitHub repository containing code referring to GameStop, confirming the highly speculated partnership.

Loopring’s ‘NFT feature’ code revealed several references to GameStop.

Loopring had also announced that the NFT marketplace will feature gas-free, instant transactions, eliminating a high drop-off point in the conversion tunnel and a major impediment to mass-adoption.

At this point, with over 250 fresh tech-experienced hires, it has become irrefutable that GameStop is on the brink of transforming into a technology company, and now it’s just a matter of valuation.

What’s it worth?

It could be argued GameStop’s NFT marketplace has a greater chance of success because the established gaming brand already has a customer base of early adopters, including 55 million PowerUp Rewards members and an enthusiastic base of retail investors eager to adopt the platform.

Through a successful NFT marketplace launch, GameStop has the potential to generate millions of high-value additional revenue per year, cementing itself in the technology sector and forcing Wall Street to stop evaluating the company as a brick-and-mortar retailer and start implementing tech multiples. 

On Tuesday, November 16th 2021, at 9:30 AM EST — the one-year anniversary of Ryan Cohen’s landmark Letter to the Board — GMEdd.com will be releasing their first refreshed research report since January, including updated price targets derived from new information, and you won’t want to miss it.

REFRESHED RESEARCH REPORT

Sources: Ryan Cohen in Entrepreneur, TechCrunch, Roaring Kitty on YouTube, SEC 13D Filing, GameStop Careers, Chewy.com Archive, GameStop News Release, Loopring on Medium, GitHub Archive, Wall Street Journal, HBR

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