Blockchain-based game marketplace DMarket has raised $2.5 million in a presale and launched its public token sale (ICO) today. The ICO, which kicked off just an hour ago, has so far generated over $1.5 million.
DMarket’s decentralized, cross-game marketplace will let gamers freely trade and sell in-game assets, earning real value for those virtual items. In the $100 billion-plus gaming market, only about 4,000 of the millions of gamers are able to profit from their time spent gaming, the company said. It wants to open up that capability to all gamers.
Right now, people can make money off in-game items they sell on the Steam Marketplace, which is in Valve’s digital community and store for selling PC games. This works in Valve’s products such as Team Fortress 2 and Dota 2, and it can work in other games if their developers open up their titles to it. But this is locked to the Steam ecosystem.
Game developers will be able to use the DMarket API to make items from their games tradable, so they don’t need to create their own independent marketplaces. The idea is that this portability of assets will encourage players to spend more time in-game and increase revenues for game makers.
“With DMarket, gamers will be able to make their virtual items available on the global economy,creating a new billion dollar market. We are utilizing blockchain technology to act as matchmaker between virtual and real economies. DMarket will satisfy the demand of more than two billion gamers across different platforms,” DMarket cofounder and CEO Volodymyr Panchenko said in a statement.
The Kiev, Ukraine-based company is already in negotiations with “several major game studios,” a spokesperson told VentureBeat, and will be launching the alpha version of its platform in October.
Blockchain investment firm Pantera Capital is one of the company’s early backers. And the startup is getting support from a number of in-game trading and eSports experts, including Evgeniy Grygorovych, project leader at GSC Game World, creator of S.T.A.L.K.E.R, who is serving as an advisor. Andriy Khavryuchenko, who was senior developer of the well-known Dash cryptocurrency, is the architect behind the DMarket platform.
The DMarket ICO will run through August 21. Due to new SEC rules, U.S. citizens and permanent residents will not be able to participate. Singaporean citizens face a similar restriction.
[GamesBeat managing editor Jason Wilson contributed to this story.]