GameStop's (GME) - Get GameStop Corp. Class A Report stock has surged as much as 31% in late trade Thursday after The Wall Street Journal reported that the company is launching a division to build a marketplace for NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, which are unique pieces of digital collectibles blockchain-based deeds of ownership to different kinds of virtual items.
The unit's task is to build an online hub for buying, selling and trading NFTs of virtual video-game goods such as avatar outfits and weapons. Twenty people have already been hired.
NFTs, which have exploded in popularity, as everyone from global consumer brands to artists have rushed to sell digital collectibles, can vary and reach hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of Ether, a well-known cryptocurrency and blockchain connected to most kind of NFTs.
The video game retailer wants to also establish cryptocurrency partnerships. It is reportedly creating partnerships with two crypto companies to "share technology and co-invest in the development of games that use blockchain and NFT technology, as well as other NFT-related projects", according to the Journal, citing people familiar with the plans.
The hope, according to the report, is that these efforts will make GameStop profitable.
The company didn't return calls for comment from TheStreet as of time of publication.
During the company's latest earnings call, CEO Matt Furlong teased about future digital plans.
"We believe our emphasis on the long-term is positioning us to build what will ultimately become a much larger business relative to where we are in 2021," Furlong said during the earnings call on Dec. 8.
"We've been exploring emerging opportunities in blockchain, NFTs and Web 3.0 gaming," he added.
Speculations ramped up last October when GameStop posted job descriptions which included NFT and Web 3.0.
"GameStop is looking for a unique individual who is a blend of Product Marketer and Product owner to help take out NFT platform to the next level.", one job description read.
The meme stock company has been, since 2021, a favorite of retail investors alongside (AMC) - Get AMC Entertainment Holdings, Inc. Class A Report. It's undergoing a turnaround plan and has established new offices in tech hubs such as Seattle and Boston.