NFTs revive nostalgia for trading cards
Future. An 80-year-old trading card company is about to go public. Another company (the one behind the NBA’s NFT trading cards) is valued at $2.6 billion. So while NFTs may turn out to be a speculative bubble, they’ve undoubtedly managed to revive the original progenitor of “manufactured scarcity” speculation: trading cards, which are back in fashion (for now) as digital assets.
Trading cars or trading shares?
Though there were signs of growth as far back as 2010, trading cards have really boomed since the pandemic began. Some experts say sales are at an all time high.
- Topps’ net sales spiked 23% in 2020 to a record-breaking $567 million.
- Blockchain company Dapper Labs — which was behind the NBA’s digital collectibles platform, Top Shot — received $250 million in funding.
- Dapper Labs is now worth $2.6 billion.
- In March, Rob Gronkowski announced he was launching his own line of NFT cards.
Trading cards are conceptually similar to NFTs: rare, extremely collectible, and unique, like Top Shot NFTs featuring NBA highlights.
Topps goes public
Topps, an 80-year-old trading card company led by chairman Michael Eisner, is going public after reviving its business with NFTs, crypto, digital apps, and online sales. But the company’s revival occurred mostly thanks to NFTs and digital assets, which produce 25% of its revenue (a number that is growing).
- Last year, Topps announced a Garbage Pail Kids collection featuring Wax’s blockchain technology.
- Last week, Topps released Godzilla NFTs, also on the Wax Blockchain.
Topps has always been the industry leader in the trading cards space. By going public with a $1.16 billion SPAC deal (which could generate over $570 million in cash), Topps is positioning itself as a leader in the transformation of trading cards into scarce digital assets.
- A Top Shot of LeBron James dunking on Nemanja Bjelica recently sold for $208,000.