There used to be a time when the smell of a newly-opened pack of NBA trading cards was something of appeal to me and my friends in the 90’s. Back in the day, every kid was shelling out their lunch money just to have a chance of getting a 1:1,000,000 Michael Jordan chase card. Well, those lunch money were huge ROI for trading card companies such as Upper Deck and Skybox.
Recently, I did some catching up with one of my junior high pals. We are huge comic book and trading cards fans. One of my friends, Jimmy, actually purchased a 1997 Skybox Michael Jordan BMOC trading card in 2010. It’s a 1:1,200 chase card that is selling around $12k+ in near mint graded condition (no lunch money here, folks!).
However, Jimmy was disappointed that after a decade of acquiring the chase card on ebay, the inevitable happened — termites raided his treasure trove of collectibles in his basement. Michael Jordan’s piece of game-worn jersey card turned into micro pieces. It’s every collector’s nightmare.
Now, I was thinking, what if this highly-coveted piece of Michael Jordan memorabilia was tokenized? Or better yet, converted into an NFT?
Are NFTs Holograms?
While it’s a challenge to explain how Bitcoin works during a family reunion, Non-Fungible Tokens or “nifties” are a stroll in the park whenever you introduce it to a bunch of collectors. NFTs have paved the way for a blockchain-based asset economy where sports cards, game items, and even a virtual racehorse can be placed in a dApp marketplace. Each nifty has an explicit public ID.
If ever that Michael Jordan chase card was converted into an NFT — Jimmy would still have solid ownership status of his asset. Why is this so? He has the liberty to move his collectible beyond eBay, he can easily sell it to peer-to-peer NFT exchanges or dApp marketplaces. NFTs are ERC-720 compliant that gives a collector a means of providing authenticity and legal ownership of a certain collectible. The value of an NFT will appreciate based on its total supply rather than the condition of its tangible counterpart.
So are nifties, holograms? They are simply intangible assets that are termite-proofed. You can still touch it on your computer screen that is. ;)
The Real World Value of Nifties
In September 2018, a buyer purchased a CryptoKitty named “Dragon” for 600 ETH or around $170k during that time. It’s one of the most expensive NFTs ever traded to date. Investors are also allocating real money to buy virtual land NFTs on Decentraland. Virtual reality platforms are frequently visited nowadays and it’s obvious that it can be the next big thing in terms of in-game advertising. Dapper Labs also has recently launched NBA Top Shot NFTs that feature animated “real moments and milestones” of NBA players that resemble a trading card pack.
As for our very own ZED Run, a user sold a virtual racehorse for 7 ETH (1,170 USD at the time) on the OpenSea marketplace. The user purchased it at 0.4 ($60 at the time), so what made this digital stallion jump in value? The ZED racehorse was named Cristiano Ronaldo, so was naming a virtual racehorse after an international football star enough to fetch for 1k USD? Arguably, it might be its color, even the breed type, or really the name itself. Hence, it only tells us that an NFT’s inherent value is its significance to a potential buyer.
But is there really a real world value for NFTs?
Is It Yours or Is It Theirs?
Let’s scratch the surface on how a conventional in-game economy works, if you purchase a gold shotgun on Call of Duty mobile that turns your opponent into a melting marshmallow, you own it because you bought it, right? Well, truth is, the items you buy in-game remain within the game, which gives you zero real-world ownership and you can’t sell it.
However, NFTs are decentralized in nature, same with dApps that thrive within a decentralized market which gives owners the liberty to move around their NFTs just like with cryptocurrencies. For the blockchain skeptics, they might simply dismiss that the NFT army is another cabal riding on the Bitcoin hype, perhaps, they are right, which brings me to a question: What is the true measure of a great NFT?
People who don’t care about the blockchain but would want to own an immortal collectible that they can play with and earn a profit from is the essence of a great NFT.
So would you rather own a real racehorse or purchase an immortal digital asset?
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