Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney says a newly announced cryptocurrency called Fortnite Token (opens in new tab) is “a hoax” and warned that the company is preparing legal action to end it. The creators of the Fortnite Token have backed off, however, describing it as a fan-created project “with no specified owner or company structure behind it”.
The Fortnite Token first appeared in late 2021, and there was no mistaking its attempt to tie into Epic’s mega-hit battle royale:
Despite the big, shiny “F”, the Fortnite Token has maintained a relatively low-key presence until today, when Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney apparently received a May 29 invitation to “start minting your NFT creations on the nftoken website and sell on OpenSea,” and answered bluntly “this is a scam (opens in new tab).”
But instead of unplugging the plug and heading for the hills, the cryptocurrency team has stuck to it. “Fortnite Token is not a fraudulent cryptocurrency project,” he replied. “Rather, this is a community-driven, fair-release, community-driven, fan-created cryptocurrency project with no specified owner or company structure behind it or a CEO deciding its future.”
Sweeney, who seems to have a lot of free time on his hands for a guy who is the CEO and main shareholder of a multibillion-dollar company with, arguably, a pretty robust legal department, took up the challenge. “But that’s not how trademarks and copyrights work,” he replied. “You may not use the Fortnite name and images without permission to market an unrelated product.”
But that’s not how trademarks and copyrights work. You may not use the Fortnite name and images without permission to market an unrelated product.June 6, 2022
He did, shortly afterwards, invoke the specter of Epic’s legal department, repeating the claim that the Fortnite Token is a scam and adding that “Epic lawyers are in it (opens in new tab).”
That wasn’t the end of it, however. Sweeney scoured Fortnite Token tweets and responded with some variation of “this is a hoax” to no less than nine of them since early February. However, while Sweeney obviously has a very bleak view of the Fortnite Token, his enthusiasm for cryptocurrency in general does not seem to have abated.
“When a new technology comes along, some make good use of it and some misuse it,” he said. tweeted (opens in new tab). “It would be terribly short-sighted to banish an entire field of technology for that reason.”
This fits with Sweeney’s earlier stance on the matter: he said in October 2021 that while Epic does not incorporate cryptocurrency into its own games, “it will welcome games that make use of blockchain technology (opens in new tab) provided they follow relevant laws, disclose their terms, and are age-rated by an appropriate group.”
“As a technology, blockchain is just a distributed transactional database with a decentralized business model that encourages investment in hardware to expand database capacity.
Epic’s position is in stark contrast to that of Valve, which in December 2021 banned “applications built on blockchain technology (opens in new tab) this issue or allow the exchange of cryptocurrencies or NFTs” from Steam. Sadly, Epic’s friendly policy towards blockchain games doesn’t seem to be off to a rocky start: the Epic Store’s first NFT game, Claw, (opens in new tab) It’s a cowboy battle royale that’s a little more “what the heck” than “yeehaw, mate!””
Epic Games declined to comment on the matter beyond Sweeney’s statements on Twitter.