by R.A. Rowell
After Panini America's launch of the Panini Blockchain sports cards meeting generally negative reviews, sports card collectors were eager to receive Topps response. Their response was a big one: Topps has partnered with the WAX Blockchain to release their own digital collectibles. There are some key differences with the Topps x WAX blockchain cards that should make them a superior collectible to Panini America's blockchain collectibles offerings.
WAX is a Public Blockchain with Easy Account Creation and Easy-to-Use Wallet
According to the Topps x WAX website, the Worldwide Asset eXchange, better known as WAX, "has facilitated the trade of more than $100 million digital items since 2017." Initially, you had to purchase the native WAX cryptocurrency to trade assets. That meant you needed some experience with and knowledge of cryptocurrency. But, this is no longer the case.
WAX released their user-friendly crypto wallet focused on blockchain gaming in December 2019, which we covered on the December 6th Digital Collectibles Roundup. Adding Topps licensed products from Major League Baseball, Star Wars, WWE, and Garbage Pail Kids gives the young blockchain a major boost. The WAX blockchain wallet allows you to purchase blockchain cards with either a credit card or the WAX native cryptocurrency.
What Makes Topps x WAX Cards Superior to the Landmark Panini Blockchain Cards?
The key difference between the Topps x WAX cards and the Panini Blockchain cards is that Panini uses a private blockchain. This means you can only buy and sell their blockchain cards on their own platform. Panini also charges transaction fees for cards sold in their marketplace.
With Topps x WAX you can sell and trade without fees! Also, as WAX is a public blockchain, you don't have your cards tied to a single marketplace. The blockchain cards exist as non-fungible tokens on the WAX blockchain. This means that the complete history of any blockchain card is available to anyone. From the Topps x WAX website:
"By interacting with Garbage Pail Kids cards on the WAX Blockchain, anyone can see the details of the cards’ information and trading history. This enables everyone involved to make informed purchases, sales, and trades, with anyone else in the world - instantly."
Since blockchain records can't be altered and are available to anyone, there's no uncertainty about the authenticity or transaction history of a given card. Having a complete trade and sale history takes the guesswork out of card buying, trading, and selling. Also, since you can buy these WAX cards with either a standard credit card or WAX cryptocurrency, you don't need any previous experience with blockchain collectibles.
The First Panini Blockchain Cards Lack Public Oversight and Distributed Through Dutch Auctions
The major complaints about the Panini blockchain cards are the private nature of the Panini blockchain and the method used tonfistrivute them. While reverse auctions, known as Dutch auctions, are popular in the blockchain world, the starting prices of the first unique Panini blockchain cards were much too high for average collectors to afford.
The upside of the Panini blockchain cards is that you receive a physical counterpart to the digital card. The obvious flaw to this strategy is that the digital blockchain token is a separate asset with no value outside of the uniqueness of the asset. So, the sales of these cards often closely tracked the sale prices of similar physical one-on-one sports cards.
It remains to be seen how valuable the Panini blockchain cards themselves prove to be. But, being essentially trapped on a private blockchain means that Panini has complete control over the assets. If Panini ever shuts down their program, what will happen with the cards?
Also, because there are fees involved in the sale of these blockchain tokens, you don't have the freedom to trade freely among members. You are essentially forced to buy and sell at Panini's profit. While you do get the transaction and sales history of a given card, there's no public oversight and the market is much more limited.
You do use US dollars to purchase the Panini blockchain cards with no cryptocurrency involved. But, as WAX allows the same thing with it's own crypto wallet, this is no longer an advantage for Panini. It will be interesting to see how Panini responds to the Topps x WAX partnership.
Garbage Pail Kids Blockchain Cards Launch in March 2020
The Topps x WAX Blockchain offerings begin with Garbage Pail Kids collectibles released in March 2020, in honor of the Garbage Pail Kids' 35th anniversary. You can sign up for the waitlist here for the chance of exclusive Garbage Pail Kids cards.
What do you think about these Topps X Wax cards? Are they something you'll collect?
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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.