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Photo illustration: Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

NFTs and games that use blockchain technology have been banned from Valve's digital distribution service, Steam, while Epic says it's open to including them on its platform.

Driving the news: As noted by a developer working on blockchain gaming title "Age of Rust," Steam began notifying creators it would be kicking all blockchain games from its platform.

  • Steam offers a guide for developers on topics like how to get paid, accepted content and more. Those official guidelines have been updated as well.
  • Under its "What you shouldn't publish on Steam" section, the company specifically includes "applications built on blockchain technology that issue or allow exchange of cryptocurrencies or NFTs."

Epic, meanwhile, told The Verge that it's "open to games that support cryptocurrency or blockchain-based assets” and is willing to work with "early developers."

  • "Epic Games Store will welcome games that make use of blockchain tech provided they follow the relevant laws, disclose their terms, and are age-rated by an appropriate group," Epic CEO Tim Sweeney said on Twitter. "Though Epic's not using crypto in our games, we welcome innovation in the areas of technology and finance."

Why it matters: Steam and Epic are two of the biggest store platforms for people to buy games; how they moderate their content, and what games they have on their platform, have huge implications for gamemakers.

  • NFTs — "non-fungible tokens" that can be art, memes, etc. as long as it's digital — can sell for millions but, because of how much electricity they use, can have a dangerous impact on the environment.
  • Cryptocurrencies are also ripe for scams. This month, Motherboard reported the scandal around Evolved Apes, a company working on a game that took investor money and disappeared.

What they're saying: "For the games we make, we aspire to adopt best practices in many areas like this," said Sweeney on Twitter. "Where we serve other developers, we don't seek to impose creative or technical decisions on these customers.

  • "When a company gives itself that power, the temptation to misuse it pervades everything."

Go deeper

New York game state

Photo: Fabian Sommer/picture alliance via Getty Images

New York City's game development scene is steadily growing, especially in the indie sector.

Driving the news: According to a new study from the Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment, New York "serves as an incubator" for the growth of creative game communities.

Updated 40 mins ago - Health

Massage, facial, pedicure... intravenous drip?

A salon on the Upper East Side of New York that offers IV drip therapies. Photo: Jennifer A. Kingson/Axios

IV drips — the kind you might get if you're rushed to the hospital — are trending as a spa treatment, thanks in part to endorsements by celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Madonna.

Why it matters: Like other "wellness" trends with a whiff of medical imprimatur, IV nutrient drips can be harmless or mildly restorative — or go awry, particularly in the wrong hands.

U.S. sounds alarm on Ukraine

Conscripts line up at a Russian railway station yesterday before departing for Army service. Photo: Sergei Malgavko/TASS via Getty Images

The Biden administration is "deeply concerned" by new intelligence — detailed for Axios and other outlets — showing Russia stepping up preparations to invade Ukraine as soon as early 2022.

Why it matters: Most of this was known from public sources and satellite imagery, but the administration is sending a stronger signal by releasing specific details from the intelligence community.