A team of developers for game projects in eSports has undertaken to solve the problem currently faced by millions of gamers online by issuing a single token dubbed SkinCoin. This cryptocurrency could be used for trading in-game skins and clearing transactions at third-party platforms.
The project develops an exchange service with an API so that third-party websites could integrate it.
Skins are essentially in-game alterations of visual appearance of items of characters that don’t influence actual gameplay. First introduced at Steam platform as rewards, they soon became an economic phenomenon.
According to Bloomberg and analytics by Eliers & Krejcik Gaming, in 2016 alone the turnover of in-game items at third-party services has exceeded $7 billion, with some rare skins becoming collector’s items and costing up to $15,000 a piece.
Some websites even allow their users to employ skins as chips when making eSports bets or in online gambling. While this might give them a chance to make their inventory even more plentiful and increase its cost, it also poses some threat. There are known instances of skins stealing.
It all began when Valve launched a marketplace dubbed Steam Community Market so that players could trade skins for various popular games like Counter Strike: Global Offense or Team Fortress 2. It was complete with an API that third parties could use to integrate the service at their platforms.
This resulted in emergence of thousands of third-party websites that offered skin trades without harsh restrictions imposed by the official Steam’s administration. This involved applicability of skins and their prices. This, in its turn, resulted in uncontrollable expansion of the market, which, of course, invited some elements of risk.
Some users lost real-life money on skins and even attempted to sue Valve for letting third parties do what they do and indirectly benefit from their operations. Valve, on their part, started sending out cease and desist letters to such sites, but to no avail. Still, even though the entire industry could be completely eliminated by Valve discontinuing the API, the corporation opted not to do so.
All those problems caused the SkinCoin team to proceed with developing their solution. They believe that introducing blockchain to this chaotic and hardly regulated industry, they could provide security and transparency to all players involved in skin trades.
“We plan to solve the issues of skin trade on all video game sites. SkinCoin will provide security to players’ in-game assets and protect skin trade platforms from Valve’s claims. Unlike fiat money, SkinCoin is not a means of payment according to legal definition in most countries. Third party sites will be able to process trade transactions with the help of SkinCoin and still perfectly conform to Steam policies,” SkinCoin CEO Igor Solomatin stated.
The idea is fairly simple: players could use SkinCoins to trade skins for any game they like, and use the same tokens as chips or bets. In other words, SkinCoin could replace actual skins as a means of payment, which hardly was its intended function. The sale of tokens is currently in progress, and will end on July 22.