Inside the High Stakes World of Counter Strike Skin Trading

Counter Strike Global Offensive (CSGO) is a first-person shooter video game created by Valve on the platform Steam that has been a game changer in the digital item economy. CSGO has a virtual skin market where players can trade virtual weapon skins for real world money to other players. Skins are created by the developer of CSGO. A Skin is an in-game weapon that changes the appearance of an in-game weapon or item. Skins are solely cosmetic and don’t give any advantages in the game. These skins are purchased using real money in the virtual world of Counter Strike. This lucrative business is making some players six figure salaries. Released in August 2013, the community has opened over 30 millions skins up to 2018.

Outsiders to video games usually wonder if its possible to cash out these virtual items and turn them into real world money or items. The answer is a HUGE YES. If you’re lucky enough To become a top tier trader you can cash out and buy yourself a Porche, or pay for any other expense you might have. Popular youtuber TDM_Heyzues created a great advanced in-depth guide on How to Cashout Skins Without Losing money.

Some skin traders have attracted a huge following with many top tier traders making it their full time Job. There are just as many good stories for any bad ones you will hear. One of the most common concerns about trading is potential fraud as it is an unregulated market. So what’s it like to be a full time trader and where is it going in the future ? Listen to the King of CSGO trading Zipel talk about his experience with trading and where he sees its future.

New CSGO skins are obtained everyday through the In game case opening system. Players Earn crates while playing matches every week but before the player opens his weekly case drop, they must purchase a key from Steam. Once the case is earned and the key is purchased the case can hold any of the 7 different rarities. These skins can range from 3 cents to Hundreds of thousands of dollars. Usually, The higher the grade of the weapon the more money it can fetch. Just yesterday a high tier item sold for $122k.

The next factor in determining the price of an item is float value. Float value is the exact wear of the skin, or in other words, how perfectly unscratched a skin is. The Float value (Fv) can be anywhere between 0 and 1 and is randomly generated when a player opens a case and earns a weapon. Within this range there are 5 different categories with the best being named Factory New and the worst being battle scarred. The categories mean exactly what they say in that a Factory New Skin is the most perfect unscratched skin and a battle scared skin is very beat up. The float value wont change overtime so whatever the player gets when they open the case will be permanent. When your playing the game Most of the time you can tell the difference between a Factory New Skin and a Battle-Scarred Skin.

CSGO’s system of case opening is legally considered gamboling since you are paying for a randomized chance at a skin. This method of opening cases is very similar to any baseball or Pokémon cards you collected as a kid. You open the case and hope for the best. Different countries have different laws but in whole it is an unregulated market.

Once players obtain their skin they usually go to third party platforms to sell their skins or look for cash trades. Third party markets are the most profitable option for selling skins as the developer Valve, charges extra taxes up to 15% based on the purchase amount. These third party markets charge as low as 3% as a selling fee similar to how ebay has listing fees. Players can save close to 12% profit by selling or trading off the steam platform. CSGO skins are often traded between different parts of the world so easy currency conversion has been created to accommodate this and automated websites have been set up to make transactions run efficiently and smooth.

In April of 2020 CSGO hit its highest number of current players ever, 1.3 million. This month just so happened to coincide with the release of CSGO in China. The numbers show there has been a huge influx to the gamers from China, which brought along with it a huge amount of people ready to spend thousands and flood the skin market driving prices soaring high.

Just recently a player that goes by the name of HFB, who many thought wasn’t a real person, accidently let public his huge inventory of collectors weapons. This shook the community as everyone rushed to see what he has been hiding all these years. The few traders who have done transactions with HFB have explained how important privacy is to him. He has been known to threaten legal action against anyone who attempts to expose his true identity or his inventory.

“The probability of him talking to you, even accepting your friend request is pretty much non-existing. You would have to bother some the people that bought from him and I’m pretty sure they would never put you in touch out of respect for him.”

-Anonymous Trader when we asked for an interview with HFB.

Steam has a feature enabling the player to private their inventory blocking access of its contents to everyone including data bases. This has been the case with HFB for quite sometime. When doing a trade HFB accidently unprivatized his inventory allowing the data bases to pick up on over 600 unique one of a kind weapons, ranging from $1000-$200k per item. THE Website CSGOFloat was very lucky to be able to pick them up on their database as they were only available for a few moments.

Three skin experts by the names of Zipel, Ohnepixel, and Heyzues summed up the totals of the inventory, valuing it at approximately 2 million dollars. All 3 players are well known in the trading community building a repertoire as being the most knowledge in the game when it comes to skins.

The mysterious HFB owns many of the most top tier items in the game. The list is too long for all of the one of a kind skins he owns. However, his most notable skins is the lowest float Factory New Souvenir Dragon Lore in existence. This skin was completely unknown before today with the previous #1 being valued in the mid hundred thousands. Today the experts believe the skin can pull in anywhere from $150k-$220k. HFB has a total of 9 Dragon Lore’s most of them with very high ranking approximately valuing them at at least $50k minimum.

To find out a more in depth guide to all the skins revealed visit TDM_Heyzues on YouTube as he gave a great in depth guide and has covered HFB in the past.

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