Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are quickly becoming go-tos for digital collecting, and that now includes something you might have had as a kid: baseball cards. Topps is launching its first NFT-based baseball card collection, 2021 Topps Series 1 Baseball NFT, on April 20th at 1PM Eastern. The MLB-approved cards are "digitally enhanced and creatively reimagined" from their physical counterparts, including themed animated backdrops and 3D team cubes. You'll even find one-of-one Platinum Anniversary Signature cards, provided you're willing to act quickly.
The first 10,000 people who sign up for email alerts for Series 1 will get a free Opening Day NFT pack. If you do hope to buy Series 1, they'll be available on launch day until they're "sold out."
They'll be available through the same WAX (Worldwide Asset Exchange) blockchain Topps used for its Garbage Pail Kids collection. It's the first time Topps baseball cards will reside on the blockchain, the company said. Atari, Capcom and Deadmau5 have also used the decentralized platform.
As Decrypt noted, this is the first set of MLB-licensed NFT cards (Panini made an unofficial collection). It's not MLB's first attempt at crypto collectibles, but its Crypto Baseball cartoon bobbleheads (traded on the Ethereum blockchain) never took off. The league is clearly hoping its Topps alliance, and the trendiness of NFTs themselves, will lead to more demand.
Both Topps and MLB are under pressure to act. The NBA and Dapper Labs have had strong early success with NBA Top Shot's video clip-based collectibles. Series 1 doesn't just represent a chance to profit from the red-hot NFT market — it signals that Topps and MLB won't be left behind as the digital collectibles world evolves.