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Will GTA 6 Incorporate an In-Game Cryptocurrency? Lawyer Shares Insights

The much-anticipated Grand Theft Auto (GTA) VI is on the horizon, but speculation is arising about whether it will include an in-game cryptocurrency. According to a lawyer, the answer may be uncertain for now.

The fifth installment of GTA was released in September 2013, and Rockstar Games, the developer, recently announced the release of the reveal trailer for the next installment in December.

Digital assets attorney John Montague, based in Florida, suggested that regulatory uncertainty in the U.S. might deter companies from integrating cryptocurrencies into games. He mentioned to CoinDesk that the prevailing “regulatory ambiguity” hinders game developers from entering the crypto space, and it is a prudent approach until regulatory clarity is established. Montague further noted that Rockstar Games would likely carefully consider the introduction of any cryptocurrency within its ecosystem.

Montague expressed his perspective, stating, “My preliminary view aligns with the notion that there’s a legal grey area, substantial enough for a powerhouse like Rockstar Games to hesitate before integrating any sort of virtual currency within their games or issuing one of their own.”

The potential legal ambiguity becomes particularly relevant given Rockstar Games’ significant business operations in the United States. The country’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has gained a reputation for being cautious or even adversarial towards cryptocurrencies. The SEC has taken action against numerous major companies, alleging violations of securities laws for offering crypto services.

Montague suggests that Rockstar Games’ hesitation is likely rooted in a fear of potential issuer liability, especially given the SEC’s assertive stance, as exemplified by its ongoing dealings with Coinbase. He further noted that he understands the company’s desire to be conservative, considering the risk/reward dynamics for their shareholders may not justify taking such a step.

But There May Be a ‘But’…Followed By a ‘But’

Montague indicated that there might be a potential avenue for Rockstar Games to explore. He referred to a significant development in July 2019 when the SEC issued a letter to the crypto gaming project Pocket Full of Quarters. In this letter, the Division of Corporation Finance conveyed that it would not recommend enforcement action to the Commission.

This communication is known as a “no-action letter,” and Montague suggested it could be relevant in the case of Rockstar Games. The SEC, in the letter to Pocket Full of Quarters, indicated that fixed-priced in-game tokens may not be considered securities because they are not primarily used for investment but rather for in-game utility.

Therefore, Montague proposed that this aspect might play a role in the regulatory considerations for Rockstar Games regarding the potential integration of cryptocurrency within its gaming ecosystem.

However, there’s a significant caveat when considering the use of fixed pricing in crypto and decentralized finance (DeFi). Montague pointed out that price fixing isn’t a common practice in the crypto and DeFi realms.

He mentioned, “Given the evolution of DeFi and the free-floating nature of cryptocurrency, I do not think the price fixing is a particularly relevant factor and really just results in additional development costs, API, and oracle costs for game developers integrating tokeneconomic structures.”

As of now, considering the prevailing regulatory uncertainties surrounding in-game items in major markets such as the USA, Japan, China, and South Korea, the inclusion of in-game crypto in GTA VI seems unlikely. Nevertheless, given the unpredictable nature of the multibillion-dollar gaming industry, Rockstar Games may have some surprises in store for us.

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Cryptocurrency is essentially virtual money that operates in a decentralized manner, not through a bank but directly on multiple independent computers.

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