As many of you are now well aware, CS:GO Dev announced on their twitter account that Valve through a Twitter DM delivered a cease & desist note to well known skins trading marketplace OPSkins. As shown below, OPSkins by no later than June 21, 2018 must cease using any Valve intellectual property on any OPSkins property or media and will have all of its Steam accounts disabled.
This is not the first time a marketplace has faced this kind of action, and the implication is simple… all items held in those Steam accounts after June 21st will be irrecoverable and users will have little to no recourse in retrieving them. As OPSkins noted in its official response, players balances that are able to be cashed out will remain so. We commend Valve for recognizing the impact to its users and providing a window of time to withdraw, and on the other side the commitment from OPSkins to support player cashouts throughout and after that deadline.
What now? Well the value of skins is likely to fall dramatically, and peripheral businesses such as case sites and skins gambling will be materially impacted. The message is clear, effectively any use of skins outside of Valve’s own internal ecosystem, the Steam client, is at risk of being in breach and consequently shutdown. Whether that be operators or even the users themselves. At the end of the day these items are the intellectual property of the publisher, Valve, and although historically this kind of activity was accepted, or rather passively allowed, it did not mean it would continue that way forever.
At Rivalry we are keenly aware of these risks. Some members of the Rivalry team had once run a skins marketplace. We are all active gamers and participants in the ecosystem, and have experienced the highs and lows of this economy.
Of particular importance to us is the impact this will have on the multi-billion dollar unregulated, underage, and illegal skins betting market. It is now on notice. Anyone who gambles with skins should be aware of the risks. Your entire balance is exposed to shutdown and being lost. It will not be recoverable.
This is why we built Rivalry. Third-party trading of skins and skins betting always had a shelf life and we believe that time has come. The system leant itself to abuse and in particular underage and quite simply illegal betting operations. Online gambling is serious business. You must protect your customers, make sure they are over 18, are in a country that legally allows them to bet online, and most importantly protect their deposits. As evidenced yesterday, with skins betting this is impossible. Not only was the value already unreliable, now even the security of that deposit is in question. Steam accounts used to facilitate this activity are constantly at risk of shutdown and thus as a user you are at risk of losing your entire balance.
We built Rivalry to be a fully licensed, compliant, and legal pure esports betting platform. An alternative to the uncertainty provided by skins betting sites. Yesterday's action levels the playing field between legal and illegal gambling. We are thrilled to be on the right side of this decision and will continue to do what we can to service this incredible community with viable and secure ways to bet on the matches they love.