Panini Blockchain National Treasures Cards Bring Traditional Sports Trading Cards to Blockchain Crypto Collectibles
by R.A. Rowell
In a landmark move in the trading card industry, sports card giant Panini America announced that they will be producing a 100 card blockchain collectible set of one of one cards featuring sports legends new and old in baseball, basketball, football, hockey, and soccer. Not only will these cards exist on a private Panini-owned blockchain as non-fungible tokens, but the purchase comes with a physical copy, as well. Some of these cards feature autographs and relics, as well. They began selling as Dutch Auctions on the Panini America website in January 2020.
The checklist includes sports legends such as Honus Wagner, Mickey Mantle, and Barry Sanders, plus newer stars including Patrick Mahomes, Lamar Jackson, Shohei Ohtani, Aaron Judge, Zion Williamson, Cristian Pulisic, Kaapo Kakko, and many more. The set resembles Panini's widely popular National Treasures design.
The big knock so far against these blockchain trading cars is that they will not be “living” on a popular blockchain such as Ethereum. These Panini blockchain sports cards will exist on a closed blockchain network owned by Panini. This has led some collectors to call this innovation a gimmick or even going as far to call it a “scam.”
While I would hardly call it either of these things, the consumer concern that access could be lost to these items for whatever reason is a genuine one. While there is the physical counterpart, the thinking is that the price of the auction will be driven up by having the digital asset in addition to the physical one.
Obviously, this is all a big experiment and there are advantages to a dedicated Panini blockchain. How exactly it will all work isn’t drawn out at this time, but one would think anyone with the private keys can access the network like with any other blockchain. Panini announced that it plans to roll out addition blockchain counterparts of cards in other upcoming sets, as well. It will be curious to see how much the redemption codes for these “blockchain editions” will sell for alone and just how many collectors will buy into the blockchain collecting plan.
There is definitely a division in the sports card collecting community on this announcement. Many people aren’t thrilled about the digital counterpart and really just want the physical card. It will also be interesting to see how Panini’s rivals Topps and Upper Deck respond. It seems that these are a huge step up from other digital collection apps, even if they exist solely on a private blockchain - the cards themselves are separate from a single website or app and could be interacted with in multiple ways.
Panini already has digital card apps, so it will be interesting to see how these and other blockchain cards end up interacting with current and future mobile apps. What we do know is that the digital blockchain card is a separate entity from the physical card, so the winner of the auction can sell just the digital card on Panini’s new marketplace and keep the physical card.
(Note: there are fees to using Panini’s public auctions for blockchain cards. They are 10% for $.01 to $5,000.00, 7.5% for $5,000.01 to $10,000.00, 5% for $10,000.01 to $50,000.00, and 2.5% for over $50,000.01.)
Speaking of the card auctions, Panini launched the auctions in January 2020 as Dutch auctions beginning at $100,000 USD each. Yes, that’s an absurd number, but keep in mind that you get both the physical and digital card, which is a National Treasures Blockchain one-of-one. When you factor in selling the digital copy VS the potential value of the physical copy, $100,000 may be not as silly a price as it sounds now.
You can see the National Treasures Blockchain card auctions at Panini America here. As cards are sold, we’ll be sure to write about these landmark trading card sales.
What do you think of these Panini blockchain developments?
More to come.
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R.A. Rowell is a collectibles enthusiast who comes from a long history of collecting trading cards in both sports and in Trading Card Games. He is passionate about educating the world about the future promise and benefits of digital collectibles, both on the blockchain and off.