Epic Games, the company behind the popular Fortnite online video game, has recently launched a merchandise store for it that accepts cryptocurrency payments, but only in the privacy-centric cryptocurrency Monero (XMR).
Called Retail Row, the merchandise store lets some of the game’s over 125 million fans purchase things related to it and its seasons. Accepted payments methods include major credit cards, PayPal, Google Pay, and Monero.
— Monero || #xmr (@monero) January 1, 2019
Cryptocurrency payments are processed by a service called GloBee, which lets retailers accept various major cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin, litecoin, XRP, Ethereum, Dogecoin, and XMR. Responding to questions on social media Moneros lead maintainer, Riccardo ‘fluffypony’ Spagni, noted that to pay with XMR users have to go through regular checkout.
When asked why Fortnite’s merchandise store isn’t accepting bitcoin, the flagship cryptocurrency, Spagni revealed it’s because of BTC’s “lack of privacy,” although Epic Games appears to be interested in the crypto’s layer-two scaling solution because it “restores *some* privacy.”
Notably bitcoin’s lightning network has grown tremendously last year. Back in November it hit a 180 BTC capacity, which at the time was of around $1 million. By the end of the year, its capacity was already above the 500 BTC mark.
While it appears to be inconsistent to accept credit cards and not BTC because of privacy concerns, Spagni noted that XMR is there as an option for privacy-centric users, and that a “tamper resistant” option isn’t a concern.
They want to give users an alternative that is privacy preserving. They have no desire to provide an alternative that is the most tamper resistent, because that is not a concern.
— Riccardo Spagni (@fluffypony) January 2, 2019
Notably given Fortnite’s popularity Epic Games has been valued at over $15 billion in its latest funding round. As CryptoGlobe covered hackers have hidden malware in cheats for the popular game, in an attempt to steal users’ bitcoin. The malware was being spread through the promise of “free” season passes, wallhacks, and aimbots.
Last year, teenagers in the United States revealed that, as a gift, they would like to receive cryptocurrencies and Fortnite’s in-game currency “V-Bucks” according to the Holiday 2018 consumer report, released by investment bank and asset management firm Piper Jaffray.
XMR is a somewhat controversial cryptocurrency, that rose to prominence after the now-defunct darknet market AlphaBay started accepting it as a payment method. Since it’s privacy-centric and easy to mine with CPUs and GPUs, reports have suggested cybercriminals are moving from ransomware to crypto mining malware to mine XMR.