FTX To Launch Gaming Unit To Support Mainstream Crypto Adoption

The unit is FTX’s newest effort to encourage gaming studios to use crypto, blockchain technology and NFTs


FTX’s Sam Bankman-Fried | Blockworks exclusive art by axel rangel


key takeaways

  • FTX Gaming will be a “crypto-as-a-service” platform where gaming firms can launch new tokens and offer support for NFTs
  • This news comes a few months after FTX, Lightspeed Venture Partners and Solana Ventures announced their investment to create a $100 million Web3 gaming initiative

Cryptocurrency exchange FTX is jumping into the blockchain-based gaming business with its own unit aiming to reach mainstream audiences.

The new division will encourage more game creators to use cryptocurrencies, blockchain networks and NFTs, Bloomberg reported.

FTX Gaming, run through the exchange’s FTX US subsidiary, is designed as a “crypto-as-a-service” platform, where game developers can launch tokens and build NFTs (non-fungible tokens) into their online worlds.

The company is looking to hire two software engineers, ideally aiming for gaming enthusiasts with developer experience in Unity, a gaming development platform.

One of the hires is tasked with product development, plus blockchain integration and improving developer tools for game studios. The other role is focused on partnering with game studios and integrating blockchain technology.

A representative for FTX was not immediately available for comment Monday.

The rollout comes months after FTX, Lightspeed Venture Partners and Solana Ventures partnered on a $100 million Web3 gaming funding initiative. It is focused on supporting game studios, technology and projects that focus on the overlap between blockchains and gaming, Blockworks previously reported.

In the past 12 months, blockchain games like Axie Infinity grew in popularity and have held steady around 1 million users across almost 400 active blockchain games, according to DappRadar data. Users peaked around 1.5 million in early January but have since retracted 28% to 1.09 million.

“In many ways, it could be argued that blockchain’s application to gaming is a no-brainer because gamers are already accustomed to tokenization and purchasing in-game items,” a Solana Ventures representative said at the time.

There’s a “decent probability” that gaming NFTs could be the driving force behind bringing crypto to mainstream audiences, FTX’s CEO and Founder Sam Bankman-Fried said during a panel at the Bloomberg Financial Innovation Summit in November.

Bankman-Fried, however, said there’s going to be a noticeable difference between crypto companies creating games and traditional developers looking to add digital assets to their franchise titles. 

“I think, frankly, it’s really hard to make a really engaging video game,” he said. “I don’t think I can do it. It would take a really long time to build up that expertise. So, when you hear about top-tier gaming publishers looking to introduce crypto into their system, I’m pretty bullish on that.”

Adding a liquid marketplace in games with massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs), like Eve Online or World of Warcraft, could speed up the integration, he said.

“One thing I’m really excited about is you take a top-tier gaming studio, that’s making a great game and wants to have market mechanics in it and wants to have real user-ownership of the digital assets in it and wants to use blockchain technology, payment rails and NFTs to enable that,” Bankman-Fried said. “That’s where I would guess you’re going to see the biggest adoption early on.”

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