It’s understandable that people would be fearful of handing over their personal information to the Epic Games Store after they read over the terms of service, and some people assumed that Tencent Games would somehow be involved with their privacy information (something that Epic Games owner Tim Sweeney attempted to dispel). However, it appears Epic is trying to win over some gamers by allowing its partners to dabble their financial toes into the crypto arena.
CCN (not to be confused with CNN) published an article on January 2nd, 2019 reporting that the Monero cryptocurrency can be used through GloBee to purchase items from the Fortnite retail store. Now this is separate from Epic Games’ cash shop where you can purchase skins, emotes, dances, and other in-game items. The Fortnite retail shop opened up on December 19th, 2018, and it offers physical items such as onesies, t-shirts, head gear, and other merchandise related to Epic Games’ highly popular third-person shooter. The store is not operated by Epic Games, though, it’s actually being maintained by SparKart.
Upon adding items to the cart, putting in your shipping info, and selecting a shipping method, there’s the payment select screen, which gives you the option to use Monero cryptocurrency as a form of payment.
I tested it myself and it is there as a legitimate form of making purchases through the storefront.
Obviously, the most pressing question is why isn’t SparKart allowing gamers to make purchases through BitCoin? According to CCN it has to do with privacy and security concerns. According to Monero’s project lead, Riccardo Spagni, he told CCN via a tweet…
“[BitCoin isn’t allowed due to] Lack of privacy, but they’re considering [Lightning Network] because it restores *some* privacy to Bitcoin.”
“[Fortnite is] very interested in Lightning Network, and we’re pushing hard to get them to add that to the list. Right now, they’ve only enabled Monero, even though they have a number of options (including bech32-enabled Bitcoin).”
The reason for the security concerns is to limit the use of private data from users by big corps.
CCN also notes that the U.S., government is putting together a sniff squad to snoop on Monero transactions. CCN points to a document featured in a press release made by the Department of Homeland Security on November 30th, 2018 that indicated that they would be monitoring cryptocurrencies on the blockchain such as Zcash and Monero.
So what little privacy you thought you might gain from using Monero instead of BitCoin, you aren’t gaining it at all. The measure is to ensure that cryptocurrencies aren’t being used for “fraudulent” activities, but as evident with Operation Choke Point, it’s more-so to keep control over how people have access to finances and how much control the government can maintain within the financial/business sector.
Nevertheless, if things work out well with purchases made via the cryptocurrency in the Fortnite retail shop, one must question how far off Epic Games would be from accepting cryptocurrencies for in-game Fortnite purchases and for software purchased from their own Epic Games Store?
(Thanks for the news tip The Positivist)