Major League Baseball has announced its latest move to cash in on the NFT craze: official blockchain-based versions of classic Topps baseball cards. Topps is selling the new NFT baseball cards through the WAX blockchain, which the company has used for its earliest blockchain-based collectibles.
The first “Series 1” cards will be sold starting on April 20th, with 50,000 standard packs (containing six cards for $5) and around 24,000 premium packs (offering 45 cards for $100) set to be sold in the first wave. Topps is also offering a free “exclusive Topps MLB Opening Day NFT Pack” to the first 10,000 users who sign up for email alerts for new releases.
It’s a similar idea to the NBA’s white-hot Top Shot NFTs, which offer fans purchasable video clips (called Moments) in card-like packs. Top Shot Moments are already a massive business — some have sold for upwards of $200,000, and more than 800,000 accounts have yielded over $500 million in sales so far.
And while the Topps baseball cards won’t be full-fledged videos like Top Shot Moments, the company is planning to take advantage of the digital nature of the NFT cards by adding things like animated backgrounds or holographic effects on rarer cards. It’s not the MLB’s first dip into cryptocurrency, either: the league has experimented with Ethereum-based blockchain bobbleheads in its MLB Champions game, too. The Topps cards promise a more traditional style of collectible, however.
Topps’ collectible baseball cards have been around for decades and bring a level of name recognition and respectability to the world of collectibles that other NFT efforts may lack. But it’ll still have to convince fans that the digital versions of those cards are a sound investment and not just a bubble that’s waiting to burst.
What's an NFT?
NFTs allows you to buy and sell ownership of unique digital items and keep track of who owns them using the blockchain. NFT stands for “non-fungible token,” and it can technically contain anything digital, including drawings, animated GIFs, songs, or items in video games. An NFT can either be one-of-a-kind, like a real-life painting, or one copy of many, like trading cards, but the blockchain keeps track of who has ownership of the file.
NFTs have been making headlines lately, some selling for millions of dollars, with high-profile memes like Nyan Cat and the “deal with it” sunglasses being put up for auction. There’s also a lot of discussion about the massive electricity use and environmental impacts of NFTs. If you (understandably) still have questions, you can read through our NFT FAQ.