striker shut down: MPL-backed Web 3 fantasy platform Striker shuts down operations

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Web 3-based fantasy platform Striker, backed by Mobile Premier League (MPL), is shutting down its operations with one of its cofounders, Krisha Mohan Vedula, exiting MPL, people in the know told ET.

The shutdown comes amid several layoffs and closures in the online real money gaming sector, which followed the imposition of a 28% goods and services tax (GST) on the sector. This development was first reported by Moneycontrol.

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While MPL itself laid off 350 employees in August, other firms like Hike and Spartan Poker also conducted mass layoffs impacting hundreds of people. Meanwhile, smaller firms like Fantok and Quizzy temporarily shut down operations soon after the new tax regime was introduced.

A spokesperson for MPL declined to comment.

Striker was likely also impacted by a 30% tax on profits from trading virtual digital assets and a 1% tax deducted at source (TDS).

The platform, founded in 2022 by Vedula and his MPL colleague Nitesh Jain, allowed users to collect and trade digital collectibles and cards featuring cricket icons. Users had the option to redeem and trade these cards on its marketplace to earn money.

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Striker’s shutdown comes days after MPL decided to buy back all crypto tokens released under the Good Game Exchange (GGX) protocol, which MPL had earlier developed, according to people in the know. The firm reportedly issued about 2.5 million preferential shares worth $12.75 million to token holders to get all the tokens back.Striker had faced legal challenges earlier this year when Dream Sports-backed Rario approached the Delhi High Court in February 2023. Rario had alleged that Striker’s collectibles like cards had identifiers such as player names and caricatures of about 170 players for which Rario held exclusive rights. The court, however, rejected Rario’s petition, stating that the information used by Striker was publicly available and could be used by anyone.

Rario itself saw its founders Ankit Wadhwa and Sunny Bhannot leaving the company in September 2023, having raised a $120 million funding round in 2022 led by Dream11.

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