Why is NFT so popular

by now you may also be wondering why would you want to buy something anyone can enjoy for free. the answer is simple: ‘anyone can see pictures on the internet of the most expensive artworks; posters are sold in museums,’ vincent harrison, a new york gallerist told wired. ‘but it’s the ownership that creates value. so with NFTs, not only do you have ownership, you have ownership on the blockchain, you have ownership that is transparent for everyone to see.’

what is an NFT, beeple, and why is the non-fungible art marketplace worth millions?

reza aliabadi constructs surreal towers using only 2x4 yellow LEGO bricks

short for non-fungible token, an NFT is the registration of ownership of a digital object on a blockchain. it can be any type of media including but not limited to art, videos, music, GIFs, games, tweets and memes. the non-fungible part means the object is unique, making it irreplaceable. ‘a bitcoin is fungible — trade one for another bitcoin, and you’ll have exactly the same thing,’ explains the verge. ‘a one-of-a-kind trading card, however, is non-fungible. if you traded it for a different card, you’d have something completely different.’

in short, NFTs help prove authenticity and ownership, powering the emerging economy of digital collectibles and virtual goods. from a virtual art collection by grimes that sold for $6 million to an original banksy burnt and digitized as an NFT, this new crypto-trend is the hottest topic in the digital space right now.

what is an NFT, beeple, and why is the non-fungible art marketplace worth millions?

details of ‘EVERYDAYS: THE FIRST 5000 DAYS’, digital artwork by beeple

editor’s note: as of march 12, 2021 NFTs have seen a historic, record-breaking sale. minted exclusively for christie’s auction house, a monumental digital collage by artist mike winkelmann, aka beeple (previously featured by designboom in 2015) was offered as a single lot sale at a whopping $69,346,250 to entrepreneur, coder, and blockchain angel investor metakovan, the pseudonymous founder and financer of metapurse. the sale of ‘EVERYDAYS: THE FIRST 5000 DAYS‘ (see artwork below) marks two industry firsts: christie’s is the first major auction house to offer a purely digital work with a unique NFT, and to accept cryptocurrency in addition to standard forms of payment for the lot. the sale also positions him among the top three most valuable living artists. see a video from christie’s of beeple reacting to the sale in his living room, below.

what is an NFT, beeple, and why is the non-fungible art marketplace worth millions?

about ‘EVERYDAYS: THE FIRST 5000 DAYS‘, digital artwork by beeple

‘what we want is to build a massive monument for this particular work of art which exists only in the virtual world. we have a wish list – a dream, so to speak, of some of the most prominent architects on the planet. ‘we’d like to collaborate with them to design something that can exist only in this virtual space and then install this art in it and open it up to the world. the dream is to build the monument and, in two months’ time or so, share a link with you so that you – wherever you are in the world – at the click of a button, can experience the grandeur of this work.’ said the singapore-based NFT production studio and crypto fund ‘metapurse’. read more on artnet news.

beeple also shares his last name with the literal founder of art history: johann joachim winckelmann, scholar of the german enlightenment, who in the late 18th century was the first to systematize the art of the past — read more about the artist on NYTimes

so why all the fuss around NFTs? they are proving to be a catalyst in the transformation of the economics of creative activities, allowing creators to monetize directly with their fans. being able to create artworks on the blockchain as NFTs means an artist’s content can be sold globally on decentralized marketplaces. as if that wasn’t enough, NFTs also have a feature that pays the artist a percentage every time the NFT is sold or changes owner.

in recent weeks, someone paid $3,600 for a gucci ghost GIF, and a collection of digital furniture by andrés reisinger made $450,000 in less than 10 minutes. but NFTs have been around for quite a while, having one of their first booms in 2017 with the cryptokitties, one of the world’s first blockchain games operating on ethereum’s underlying blockchain network. today, some of these virtual kittens are on sale and can go up to $1 million.

by now you may also be wondering why would you want to buy something anyone can enjoy for free. the answer is simple: ‘anyone can see pictures on the internet of the most expensive artworks; posters are sold in museums,’ vincent harrison, a new york gallerist told wired. ‘but it’s the ownership that creates value. so with NFTs, not only do you have ownership, you have ownership on the blockchain, you have ownership that is transparent for everyone to see.’

an original banksy has been burnt and digitized as NFT

an original banksy has been burnt and digitized as NFT | image via burnt banksy
read more on designboom here

amid all the flashy headlines of multi-million dollar auctions and celebrity sales, concerns about the ecological cost of NFTs are revealing a different side to the scene. cryptocurrencies on the blockchain use an algorithm to store information across many nodes in a network, while remaining reliable and secure. this process is extremely computer intensive and therefore the consumption of energy is remarkably high. ‘a single ethereum transaction is estimated to have a footprint on average of around 35 kwh,’ writes computational artist and engineer memo akten in ‘the unreasonable ecological cost of #cryptoart’. ‘I was also approached by another cryptoartist asking about their footprint. they were horrified to hear it was in order of a hundred tonnes of CO2. (to put this into perspective, across europe and the us the annual per capita carbon footprint of all industry, trade, and imported goods is on the order of ten tons of CO2).’ also read more on the topic on loop news here.

The NFT is like a certificate of authenticity, deed or ownership to an asset, so it's this that can be sold. But things aren't straightforward as the asset itself might be able to be shared freely - so the NFT is the claim to ownership of an item, not the item itself. Slightly confusing.

An NFT stands for Non-Fungible Token. Something's that's fungible can be replaced by something else that means the same - like swapping $10 for 10 $1 bills. Non-fungible, then, means that it's completely unique - like a one-off pressing of a vinyl record, a unique manuscript or a particular painting.

The NFT is like a certificate of authenticity, deed or ownership to an asset, so it's this that can be sold. But things aren't straightforward as the asset itself might be able to be shared freely - so the NFT is the claim to ownership of an item, not the item itself. Slightly confusing.

NFTs are secured with blockchain tech similar to Bitcoin (they're actually part of the Ethereum blockchain). Blockchains are, essentially databases that are encrypted and decentralised. They're hard to compromise due to the decentralised approach.

But an NFT is not like a Bitcoin, because Bitcoin can be exchanged for other Bitcoin - it's fungible.

Fantasy sports enthusiasts – What if there's a way for you to own every player (albeit virtually) you could dream of. What if you could 'invest' in those players' stocks, similar to how consumers invest in traditional stock exchanges, and make a profit out of it as well?

But How Does It Function?

The value of the Fantasy Stocks represented by the NFTs increases and decreases based on the players' real-life performance during the real-world games.

For instance, if you're a cricket fan, and Virat Kohli scores a double century, then because of his outstanding performance, more and more people would want ownership of the Kohli stock. On the other hand, people who already own the Kohli stock won't be interested in selling.

What This Means: This shows that since the demand is high, people will be willing to spend more to get hold of the stock, and the subsequent price increase will nudge people who already own the Kohli stock to sell it. As a result, the price of the stock will explode.

Now, let's imagine another scenario, where Kohli gets out in less than 10 runs in two consecutive innings. Due to such poor performances, people who hold Kohli's stock would now want to sell, and not many would be interested to buy.

What This Means: This shows that since the demand is low, people will not spend more on the stock, as a result of which the price of Kohli stock will wane.

<div top Gainers on TradeStars, a Fantasy Sports Stock trading platform.)</p></div>

Today's top Gainers on TradeStars, a Fantasy Sports Stock trading platform.)

(Photo: Screenshot from TradeStars)

Now, if you see the above picture, Prithvi Shaw is the top gainer on TradeStars, a Fantasy Sports Stock trading platform. Experts suggest that this is after former Aussie spin wizard Brad Hogg called Shaw as India's potential future captain.

Interestingly, the trade is entirely managed by Smart Contracts on the Blockchain. This means instead of every user fighting over a single Virat Kohli or Prithvi Shaw stock, users can also invest in fractions of these athletes. This, ultimately, increases opportunities to trade on top performers.

NFT is one of three tech-based words to make Collins' new words list, as well as "crypto", the short form of cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin, and "metaverse", which describes a three-dimensional virtual world.

NFT or non-fungible token is Collins Dictionary's word of the year

It says use of the abbreviation rose by more than 11,000% in 2021.

NFTs are certificates to say that you own something digital - so original versions of viral videos, memes or tweets can be sold as if they were art.

And from the Charlie Bit My Finger video to the Harambe the gorilla photo, NFT sales have made some people very rich this year.

Collins Dictionary's Alex Beecroft said it was "unusual" for an abbreviation to experience such a massive rise in usage.

"Whether the NFT will have a lasting influence is yet to be determined, but its sudden presence in conversations around the world makes it very clearly our word of the year," he added.

NFT is one of three tech-based words to make Collins' new words list, as well as "crypto", the short form of cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin, and "metaverse", which describes a three-dimensional virtual world.

Other words on Collins' list include:

  • "Climate anxiety" - reflecting people's growing concerns about climate change and the perceived lack of action to tackle it
  • "Neopronoun" - words that serve as pronouns but, unlike "he" or "she", are free of gender
  • "Cheugy" - a slang term used to describe, and dismiss, anything seen as hopelessly uncool or unfashionable

The 2020 word of the year was "lockdown" - and the influence of the pandemic on language remains strong.

"Pingdemic" is on this year's list, after self-isolation rules but pressure on workforces across the UK.

"Hybrid working" and "double-vaxxed" have also seen a boom in use, Collins says.

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“There’s going to be a slight change in the understanding and conversation about NFTs. NFTs will be seen not so much as a store of value, but really as a medium of exchange,” said Nick Chan, Co-Founder of Refinable. “NFTs and the tech that surrounds it are amazing for powering transactions and for ensuring the authenticity of assets–digital or physical,” he adds.

Can NFTs be about tangible items?

For many, NFTs are about digital items. However, as developments in the NFT market show, the tokens can also represent tangible or real-world items. NFTs, after all, are tokens. They are designed to represent something valuable in the eyes of the creator and the buyer.

One example is Nike’s system called CryptoKick, which employs NFTs to determine whether a Nike-branded shoe is authentic. This system generates virtual versions of the original shoes Nike manufactures to be given to customers when they buy Nike footwear. As such, the buyer gets an NFT that represents an actual shoe that goes to the possession of the buyer along with a digital version of the item.

Another instance of an NFT that represents something that exists in the real world comes from professional tennis player Oleksandra Oliynykova. The Croatian athlete auctioned a part of her arm as an NFT. The winning bidder gets to claim lifetime rights to use a 15cmx8cm section on the upper portion of her arm, just below the elbow.

Jackson Aw, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Mighty Jaxx, said that just like other decentralized tech, NFTs democratize the marketing and ownership of collectibles and other creative works. “The growing demand for better reselling options is driven by the desire to feel more confident in purchasing art in today’s context, and providing more leeway to sell will allow collectors to feel more secure in purchasing a more expensive work that might have just been out of their budget, or to buy more individual works by more artists.”

Good news! You can!

How is NFT Provenance changing the game?

If you are here, chances are that you know what a blockchain is, right? Even so, I will provide a brief recap to refresh your knowledge.

A blockchain is basically a ledger on steroids. It allows data, contracts, or whatever kind of certificate and/or transaction to be stored on a digital ledger. In a public, accessible, and permanent way.

So, let’s say you have a cool piece of digital art, maybe a gif that has become a worldwide famous meme.

You’ve heard about Non-fungible tokens and want to jump on the bandwagon. The first thing is the so-called “minting” of your digital artwork.

Doing this will create a permanent track of your ownership on the Ethereum (or else) blockchain. Remember: an NFT is not a piece of art, is a certificate of ownership of whatever good you want to attach to it, even physical!

There’s more: each image or photo that you “tokenize” on a blockchain will come with some metadata, and once those metadata are stored on the blockchain nobody can tamper them.

If you have ever bought or sold an NFT on a marketplace you know how it works. The owner and minter of the NFT are displayed as a series of numbers and letters, that uniquely identify the smart contract and those who minted it.

If someone bids and then buys your NFT, that will be publicly accessible on the Ledger, and you will be able to check that on Etherscan .

NFT provenance

This means that every time the NFTs are bought or sold in the secondary market, the transaction is permanently stored on the blockchain, along with its metadata and the info about the artist who created it.

On top of that, NFT provenance is crucial to determine the value of an NFT. If I know that an NFT has been minted by Beeple, well, that already changes the price quite a bit.

The same goes for VIPs NFT creators such as Steve Aoki and others. Knowing that behind a certain NFT there is someone that already has some track record in music, art, etc., or even if an NFT has been bought by a very well-established collector, it’s very important when it comes to establishing an NFT value.

Some examples of NFT provenance:

  • The first instance of a very famous meme
  • The first tweet ever
  • A collection of digital collectibles created by a famous artist
  • An NFT minted by a famous athlete, with additional physical perks attached to it, like a signed photo or whatever
  • Knowing that the NFT you hold is the only remaining edition as the others have been burned (i.e. permanently deleted from the blockchain, and yes it’s a thing)

That’s why some scammers are already trying to create fake NFTs with a technique called sleepminting .

Yes, the jpeg itself can be copied and pasted by anyone. But so what? If value in art really is attached to ‘originality’, why shouldn’t an NFT, which proves an original claim, be viable?

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That hasn’t stopped the world racing ahead with some eye-opening commercial transactions, such as Christie’s $69m sale last year of an NFT of a digital artwork (meaning a glossed up jpeg) by the British artist Beeple.

Or successful Irish artists such as Kevin Absoch, who continues to make millions on OpenSea through various NFT-backed digital collections.

The big question, for many people, remains: what do you actually get?

In theory, and maybe in practice, an NFT does confer something unique: an unalterable, unbreakable digital stamp that is connected to something. The proof of this comes through its place on a blockchain, which is visible to anyone.

This is sometimes portrayed as barmy. But it may not be, considering why we pay premium prices for things like art in the first place. For example, today’s digital technology allows anyone to have a stunning reproduction of any famous artwork.

From a few feet away, what is the main difference between one of these ultra high resolution copies and the original?

For most of us, it’s the knowledge that, on close physical inspection, the initial artwork can be claimed as being ‘original’.

So it’s not actually any major or noticeable difference in the appearance or output; the value resides mainly in the assurance (and provenance) of the artwork being hailed as a first run.

Is a digital artwork so different? If it has inherent aesthetic value as art (which is a different discussion, but suffice to say that there are more than enough people who believe that digital art is proper, valuable art), why would proof of acquisition or other proprietary association of the original not be similarly valuable?

Yes, the jpeg itself can be copied and pasted by anyone. But so what? If value in art really is attached to ‘originality’, why shouldn’t an NFT, which proves an original claim, be viable?

Obviously, it is in this birthing realm that hucksters, chancers and pyramid schemers play. NFTs are currently being offered for anything and everything – from farts and ‘digital’ toilet paper, to Premier League football clubs squeezing cash out of fans.

Worse, some fraudsters are actually selling NFTs to artworks they didn’t create or don’t own.

And because NFTs are the new, new thing, some mainstream brands feel they can’t be seen to not be involved. Hence, last week’s announcement by Samsung that its future TVs would “support” NFTs – by letting you do things like display NFT-acquired art on them.

For the most part, ordinary people are still staying away. There is not yet the mass movement we have seen with things such as Bitcoin, which is now fairly common as a casually-owned asset among some demographics in Ireland.

This was all but confirmed by a recent Financial Times investigation, which concluded that while the NFT market has grown to $41bn, the majority of that market value is millionaires playing around.

Which brings us back to Bored Apes.

Most of us probably still struggle with the idea of a Bored Ape jpeg, whether it’s original or not, going for between €50,000 and €100,000.

But we do know that it’s a craze among the mega-rich: Eminem has just paid over €400,000 for one of them.

But art collector Kramer’s experience – which is not an isolated one – is a reminder that the flip-side of our decentralised NFT revolution is zero protection if you make a single mistake.

Click on a dodgy phishing link? Sorry, you’ve irretrievably lost €2m.

Crypto-backed non-fungible tokens (NFTs) may be revolutionary and all, but they also mean you can be ripped off in a second.

Creating an NFT takes time, creativity and passion, so why let all that hard work go to waste? Use the best NFT promotion practices to ensure that your masterpiece goes for top dollar at auction!

Here’s the complete guide to promoting your NFT artwork!

The Ideation and Creation

Before you can start promoting your NFT, you need to come up with your design and mint it. Whether you want to use an avatar maker like 8biticon or you want to mint it manually using Ethereum’s tools, creating and minting your NFT is the first step of the journey.

NFT avatars made by 8biticon

Create a cool and unique design that stands out and reflects your passion. This will give you a great base for your promotional campaign. For example, if you make a retro game themed NFT, then you’ve got a great start for your target audience and theme for your promotional campaign!

Join Communities Dedicated to NFTs!

The crypto world is raving mad for NFTs right now, and they cannot get enough. As a result, there are dozens of different NFT communities dedicated to promoting and showcasing the hottest NFTs. There’s r/NFT on Reddit, there’s Binance NFTs on Telegram and there’s an NFT server on Discord.

Join all of these communities and more so that you can promote your NFT to the biggest audience of active NFT users. Obviously, there are loads more, but these are a great place to get your feet wet. From there, you can share your posts and NFTs to millions of potential buyers from all around the globe!

Sign Up to NFT Marketplaces!

If you’re not listing your NFT for sale anywhere, people can’t get hyped about it and queue up to place a bid. You can upload your NFT to the various marketplaces out there and start generating hype and attention. You can set a long auction time, giving your NFT plenty of time to get noticed.

One other perk of doing this is that you can see what everyone else is doing. You can check out the competition and the keywords that they’re using to get their NFTs to the top of the pile. There’s nothing wrong with pinching the best NFT marketing tactics!

Set the Right Price

The single biggest issue with the NFT world is that everyone wants too much for their artwork. If you set your price just right, you can make a nice chunk of change and draw in buyers. Don’t set your prices too high as you’ll never get a sale, but equally don’t set your prices too low – you’re underselling yourself.

Sign up to marketplaces and see what other NFTs are selling for in your niche. If you’ve made a cool Picasso style NFT of a cow eating grass, go to the middle of the market. Don’t try to get too much, but don’t undersell yourself. This way you are guaranteed a sale, but you make a nice chunk of change at the same time.

NFT by Artist Bitfried Features Kanye West as Jesus, Picasso Style

Try Effective Marketing Techniques

Now you know all the popular ways to promote NFTs, why not try out the tried and tested classic marketing techniques. Display advertising has been around for decades, meaning that the tools and methods are perfected to be as effective as possible. Team up with a powerful crypto display ad platform like Bitmedia and see the results roll in!

Press release distribution is also another fantastic way of getting your NFT out there. Just look at how much attention the fake news press release about Walmart and Litecoin was. Your press release can have the same effect on your NFT artwork collection!

Collab With Other Artists

The fastest way to boost your reputation is by collaborating with other artists and NFT superstars. This is the tried and tested method that catapults NFT artists from the doldrums to fame overnight. We’ve seen it work wonders in the music world and now it’s spreading to the NFT world.

Reach out to your favorite artists and ask them to do a collaboration with you. Even if they just lend their name in exchange for a small cut of the fees, it’ll catapult you to NFT stardom and your art will sell for a lot more money in no time at all!

Connect With Influencers

Influencers are the future, and there is already a great deal in the crypto space. It’s estimated that 90% of all ad spend will be on influencers within the next 10 years, so jump the gun and get in with this hot new trend now.

Picking the right influencer is key here, as some can sell to their audience better than others. These people have millions of followers that are ready to do anything their model says. So, team up with a good influencer in your niche (art, blockchain, crypto, music) and you can get a whole bunch of people queuing up to buy your NFT!

Get Written About

Never be afraid to reach out to writers in the crypto space. Whether they’re bloggers, journalists or big publications. Give them the down low on your NFT artwork and they’ll do a story on you.

Now, not all will do a story on your NFT artwork, but a good deal will, especially if it’s something that the author has already shown interest in. You can write your own blog posts and journalists will pick it up and try to cover it in the media. This is a fantastic way to get seen. So go with the flow!

Push Your NFT to the Masses!

Now that you know how to advertise your NFT art to the world, it’s time to pick your weapons and charge into battle. Combine a couple or all of these strategies into the ultimate NFT advertising campaign. If you do it well, you’ll get incredible results that catapult you to NFT fame and fortune. Good luck and may the NFT gods be on your side!

Daniel is an experienced journalist and has contributed to many publications with content ranging from music to business and finance. Daniel is committed to keeping ahead in his knowledge of finance and particularly cryptocurrency trends. He .


  • The astonishing rise of Axie Infinity, which has seen it gain nearly 2000%, in just a few months, has caught the attention of the crypto exchange, Coinbase.
  • A non-fungible token (NFT) is a digital collectable, and in the case of Axie Infinity, is represented by the little creatures in the game, called Axies.
  • Some Axies have been sold off for 600 Ethereum which equates to roughly US$190,000.

Cryptocurrency has been the rage this year as people have turned to the crypto space to make extra money amidst the COVID-19 lockdowns.

One of the most popular attractions in the crypto space is a non-fungible token (NFT) game by the name of Axis Infinity (AXS).

Axie infinity combines crypto with gaming and players can gain NFTs by collecting, breeding, and battling little digital creatures known as Axie’s. The concept is very similar to the Pokemon game which gained a huge following about five years ago.

However, people who might be quick to dismiss Axie Infinity as a craze or a fad might want to think again as Axie Infinity generated more than US$42 million in sales in June 2021 alone. Moreover, that number is rising very quickly.

Welcome to the All-Star Family Challenge expires Thursday, April 1 at 10am PDT ⏰

Sports card collecting is having a historic boom right now and here’s why

In this Aug. 19, 2011, photo, Joe Page a New York Yankees pitcher is one of the bubble gum baseball cards Sarah Maughan has in her gum collection of more than 1400 flavors and types, in Idaho Falls, Idaho. Associated Press

If there’s a dust-covered shoebox full of baseball cards hiding somewhere in your house, now’s probably a good time for you to go look for it because sports cards are having a moment.

And it’s a big moment.

Yahoo! News reports that seven of the 10 biggest sports cards sales in history have taken place over the past eight months and, during that span, the record for the “most expensive card ever sold” has been shattered twice. As of March 30, the current record holder is a 1952 Topps Micky Mantle card that was purchased for $5.2 million, according to Action Network.

How NFTs are turning the world of collectibles on its head

Card value is spiking at unprecedented levels. In February, a Michael Jordan rookie card sold at auction for $738,000, according to CNN. Two weeks earlier, the same card sold for $215,000. That’s a 243% value increase in only 14 days.

As card values are spiking, transaction numbers are following suit. The Athletic reports that eBay hosted 4 million more trading card transactions in 2020 than 2019 at a 142% growth rate. According to the site, the recent surge in interest has created problems for card manufacturers like Topps and Panini as they struggle to keep products on store shelves.

It’s clear more cards are being sold now than ever before, and some of them are fetching absurd prices. But what’s behind the trend?

What caused the resurgence of sports cards?

This trading card resurgence came as a direct response to the pandemic shutdowns in 2020, CNN reports. With live sports on hiatus, bored fans started raiding their attics and basements to dig up old cards and check their value. CNN mentions that the nostalgia wave brought on by the ESPN documentary series “The Last Dance” also helped usher sports memorabilia back to the forefront of people’s minds.

‘The Last Dance’ comes to Netflix this weekend. These 9 moments deserve a rewatch

With help from high-profile endorsers like Mark Wahlberg, Logan Paul, The Ringer’s founder Bill Simmons and Pittsburgh Steeler Cassius Marsh, the pastime has grown and found new hobbyists over the past year. Social media has played a huge role in the resurgence too as collectors are opening boxes of cards on YouTube and TikTok and racking up thousands of views.

Who’s collecting sports cards right now?

Brakken Barben, a Utah-based card collector who’s invested thousands of hours (and dollars) into the hobby, claims there are three main groups of people participating in the boom. Here’s how he breaks them down:

  • “Quick flippers” — Flippers are more interested making a quick buck than collecting cards, so they load up on boxes from local department stores to resell them online for a marked up price. According to Barben, unopened boxes are tough to find these days so scalpers are selling them for 200% MSRP, or more. Next time you go to Walmart or Target, take a walk down the trading cards aisle. Barben guarantees the shelves will be empty.
  • “Wall Street types” — Like stocks, card values fluctuate over time. Wall Street types see trading cards as tangible stocks. They put in time to research value trends and are always looking to buy low and sell high. Like the quick flippers, Wall Street types are in the hobby for the money, but they deal in larger sums and seem to find enjoyment in the ride.
  • “Nostalgic millennials” — This is where Barben places himself. Kids who enjoyed collecting sports cards in the late ’80s and early ’90s are all grown up now. A lot of them have homes, jobs, kids and (most importantly) disposable income. Now, these adults can throw hundreds (or thousands) of dollars into the hobby and snatch up rarer and pricier cards than they couldn’t afford when they were kids.

Lessons from the past: Supply and demand

According to The New York Times, scarcity has always driven the value of sports cards, and card companies learned that lesson the hard way in the 1980s. As card collecting surged in popularity, card companies like Topps, Donruss, Upper Deck, Fleer and Bowman overproduced cards in enormous quantities in an attempt to meet market demands. They mistakenly flooded the market, eliminated scarcity and rendered their cards worthless. Even today, many of them still are.

To assure that they never repeat the mistake again, card producers today are fabricating scarcity by creating special cards that are released in extremely limited quantities.

For example, the Kevin Durant rookie card pictured below comes from Upper Deck’s Exquisite collection, and only 35 of them were ever made. This card, which comes adorned with Durant’s signature and a swatch of cloth from one of his jerseys, recently sold at auction for over $750,000.

The most expensive Kevin Durant card, that was sold this week for $780K at @GoldinAuctions, was purchased by @OnlyAltOfficial, the sports card trading site that launches soon at https://t.co/0FE7Be631c. pic.twitter.com/tsT5ALhuM2

— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) March 8, 2021

Boom or bubble?

Is this hobby here to stay or will it vanish once the pandemic is in the rearview mirror? The short answer: Nobody knows for sure. But when it comes to opinions, there are multitudes.

Ezra Levine, the CEO of the Collectible app is bracing for what he believes is an inevitable market decline. In a recent interview with The Athletic he said, “There will certainly be losers once the market takes a downturn, and it will at some point. Many collectors, particularly those prospecting or investing in less rare stuff will get burned once the euphoria ends.”

Ken Goldin, the founder of Goldin Auctions, on the other hand, is expecting marginal fluctuations in the sports card market. But he said he believes overall demand will stay constant, according to CNN.

“The difference between cards and stock (is) nobody loves a stock,” he said. “Some people who buy these cards, to get them to sell it is like getting them to take off an arm.”

As the hobby has captured the world by storm this past year, it has taken on a new form online. The fact that card collecting is adapting to the 21st century might be an indicator that the pastime is here for good.

The future is digital

While people have been using the internet to buy and sell cards for some time now, the hobby’s online presence extends much further than transactions. Today, hobbyists are buying and selling purely digital products.

In February, someone sold a video clip of LeBron James dunking a basketball for more than $200,000 on a site known as NBA Top Shot. As previously reported by the Deseret News, NBA Top Shot is a blockchain-based online platform that creates and sells collectible videos called “moments.” These moments are part of a larger digital trend called NFTs.

The acronym NFT stands for “non-fungible tokens,” and NFTs are, in essence, collectible digital objects (like videos, images and sound bites) that people buy and sell with cryptocurrencies. I like to imagine NFTs as trading cards or collectible works of art that are only available in the digital world.

Each NFT video “moment” sold on NBA Top Shots is branded with a specific serial number that helps assign its value. For example, a 1 of 100 Steph Curry “moment” is more valuable than a 1 of 500,000 clip of Ersan Ilyasova, so it’ll fetch a much higher price.

Welcome to the All-Star Family Challenge expires Thursday, April 1 at 10am PDT ⏰

Collect all 5️⃣ required Moments & score this exclusive reward of Mike Conley breaking down the defense for an easy dime to Rudy Gobert

Just like physical sports cards, the NBA Top Shot website sells NFT “moments” in randomized booster packs. This method of distribution gives buyers the sensation they might open up a rare, highly valuable clip when they crack open their packs. Of course, if someone is looking to buy a specific clip of a certain player, the site gives users that option too.

The market for this new digital trading platform is no joke either. NBC reports that on Feb. 26, more than 200,000 eager collectors waited in an online queue to buy one of the 10,600 new virtual packs that NBA Top Shot released that night. The packs contained six NFTs each and were being sold for $99 a pop. During that week alone, NBA Top Shot reportedly raked in $150 million from sales.

So, is the future of card collecting really digital? If money is any indicator at all, then the answer is a resounding yes.


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