There have been a number of misconceptions circulating since Valve announced on Friday that they will disable OPSkins Steam accounts after three years and six months of uninterrupted service. We would like to clear these misconceptions up, and clarify what this decision means for the future of WAX and OPSkins. Our main points, detailed in this post, are:
- OPSkins is not shutting down and Valve is not suing OPSkins
- OPSkins’ customers’ funds are safe
- The future of digital item trading is instant, free, peer-to-peer trades
- ExpressTrade is the future of instant, free, peer-to-peer trades
- WAX is being built to support a post-Valve trading economy
- Valve’s decision was not unexpected
- One company cannot kill the digital items trading industry
- All of the above has been true for quite a while
OPSkins is not shutting down and Valve is not suing OPSkins
A lawyer from Valve sent OPSkins a direct message on Twitter asking us to cease operating ExpressTrade and stop using Steam bots for commercial purposes. This is not a lawsuit. Valve has simply informed us of their issues with what we’re doing, and notified us that the bots will be locked on June 21, 2018. Within one hour, we notified our customers of the situation and advised them how to proceed to avoid uninterrupted trading.
We don’t expect Valve to sue OPSkins because ExpressTrade, being free, is not a commercial use of the Steam accounts and, therefore, is not a violation of Valve’s terms of service.
OPSkins’ customer’s funds are safe
Funds deposited on OPSkins and earned from customer’s items sales are completely segregated from operating capital. We don’t touch our customer’s money – customer accounts are treated as individual wallets. Customer funds are 100% safe. Funds will remain on the site and fully accessible by customers per the existing terms of our marketplace. Nothing is changing in regards to funds or cashouts.
The future of digital item trading is instant, free, peer-to-peer trades
The market has been gradually moving away from the outdated, fee-driven, centralized business model that is OPSkins, and instead towards a decentralized model that is WAX, where item traders have true ownership of their items, transactions are instant and free, and where competing marketplaces can thrive to grow the trading economy as a whole. Item purchases and sales will have associated fees, but peer-to-peer trading must be free for the industry to flourish.
Last year the team behind OPSkins decided to build WAX because the OPSkins business model, where a centralized marketplace dominates the economy and charges fees for nearly every aspect of the transaction, is not ideal for customers and therefore not the future of this industry.
When OPSkins launched in 2015, it was far superior to what existed at the time and this is why it succeeded overnight. But the landscape of digital items trading has changed significantly over the last 3 and a half years, changes which WAX has been carefully monitoring. Rather than cling to an outdated business model, WAX is reinventing how trading works to improve the process for everyone in the ecosystem, including buyers, sellers, listing sites, marketplaces, casual traders, those who trade for a living, guild stakers, WAX Token holders, Block producers, and transfer agents.
Platforms that depend on third parties will not succeed. This became clear from seeing OPSkins and other virtual item trading marketplaces. That’s why WAX is the only blockchain-based digital item trading platform that doesn’t require third-party integration or permission in order to function in the video gaming space.
The future of digital item trading is instant, free, peer-to-peer trades, and that’s what WAX will provide.
ExpressTrade is the future of instant, free, peer-to-peer trades
WAX ExpressTrade trades digital items instantly and for free. Instead of listing an item for sale on OPSkins or purchasing one, users can simply trade items back and forth with other users. ExpressTrade is being built on the WAX Blockchain.
Since both WAX and ExpressTrade are open source, there will be tens of thousands of sites that operate using the service. This not only encourages the trading community to thrive, most importantly it means that these your items cannot be lost because they’re built on top of a blockchain.
Additionally, we are working with several games who are going to use WAX exclusively to power their item trading marketplaces.
WAX has more than 100 people working on developing the project, directed by a team who has done this many times in the past. This is not OPSkins’ first rodeo reinventing an industry. Not a single employee is being laid off in light of last week’s events, quite the opposite as both WAX and OPSkins are aggressively hiring.
WAX is being built to support a post-Valve trading economy
If you believe like we do that the future is Augmented Reality, and in that future most possessions will be virtual. Do you want a corporation to dictate what is yours and not yours? What you can do with your digital possessions? Who you can trade them to, when, and how often? Ownership means control of your own possessions – this is no different for digital items – and this is what WAX brings to the $50 billion world that is digital items trading.
Based on some rash decisions made by Valve Corporation which have arguably had a more negative than positive impact on item trading for gamers (for context, the 7 day trade hold led to a change.org petition with 150,000 signatures), OPSkins determined that a better solution was required for this industry to flourish. That is why the team behind OPSkins created WAX, so that digital item trading can survive an attack from a single party.
WAX will inoculate the trading community from trade restrictions through decentralization and use of transfer agents. If any digital (or tokenized physical) item is tradable, it can be traded on WAX.
Steam games can and very much will be traded on the WAX Platform and no one can prevent that from happening, not even us. If the items for a game can be traded at all, then they can be traded with WAX. That’s the beauty of the blockchain.
For example, let’s say an owner of a CS:GO Dragon Lore wants to trade it to another user. There are two ways this can happen. The first is that the buyer and seller connect with one another, share their trade details (a customer-specific URL), and trade instantly for free. Since the trading is peer-to-peer, Valve would have to outright ban trading to control this. Even the images of the items will be decentralized and on the blockchain. ExpressTrade OPSkins is a prototype of this model.
The second way is that the owner lists the Dragon Lore for sale on a site supported by a blockchain on the WAX Platform (ie: OPSkins), and a buyer sees it and purchases it. The item and WAX Tokens are transferred to a smart contract, which settles the transaction. WAX Token holders earn a small fee on this transaction, in addition to possibly the marketplace, affiliate, and/or listing site depending on how the sale was initiated.
Through decentralization, Valve and other corporations no longer control item trading. WAX doesn’t even control what items are traded on the platform. WAX can’t blacklist or ban any items from any particular game or publisher because of the decentralized nature of the blockchain. WAX puts the power of trading into the hands of the traders and the ownership of a virtual item back into the hands of the person who acquired the item.
One company cannot kill the digital items trading industry
Valve has restricted access to trading for items from Steam games. But Valve does not own or control the overall concept of item trading. There are a tremendous number of other avenues, both existing and untapped, that will support an item trading economy such as what OPSkins is building with WAX. One is example is that items for 20 new NFT (non-fungible token) games and blockchain-based partners will soon be tradeable on WAX ExpressTrade, instantly and for free. This is why WAX ExpressTrade is being built upon the WAX Blockchain.
Valve’s decision was not unexpected
OPSkins knew ExpressTrade was a bold move, and we anticipated Valve’s next step. With ExpressTrade, Valve no longer has control over every aspect of the community that trades their items. However this was seen as less of a risk than staying dependent on them, especially considering that interest in CS:GO is in a freefall. April 2018 had the lowest CS:GO Steam Community Market sales in nearly four years. The 7 day trade hold update led to a change.org petition that earned 150,000 signatures from the community. The daily player count is plummeting.
Valve has instituted extreme trading restrictions that are destroying the ecosystem. Valve initially said the 7 day trade hold was necessary to combat fraud, so we took them at their word – and found a better way to trade instantly without risk of fraud through ExpressTrade. Then Valve showed their true motivation when it announced that they would disable OPSkins’ Steam accounts. The narrative that fraud was the reason for the 7 day trade hold was immediately exposed as a red herring. Valve simply didn’t want to have OPSkins operating a better trading system than they are capable of doing.
We understand that Valve has an interest in driving sales to their Steam Community Market, however customers have clearly shown that it’s their choice to use OPSkins instead (for more information, read this blog post).
Over the last few months the entire industry has witnessed a continued decline in interest in CS:GO trading due to the 7 day trade hold and we predict it will continue. We are seeking to salvage the trading community by reinventing the system through ExpressTrade.
All of the above has been true for quite a while
None of this is new. None of the above is in reaction to Valve’s recent decision regarding OPSkins bots.
In conclusion, the future of trading is a decentralized model that is instant and free. We have known this for a long time. Rather than “go down with the ship” tied to a third party, we chose to reinvent trading for the sake of all parties involved by creating ExpressTrade. OPSkins is not going anywhere, and through ExpressTrade will come out stronger, more independent, and providing better service for the trading community that OPSkins helped build. We thank the community for your support, and look forward to continuing to provide updates about our progress in the future.