MLB Swings @ Collectibles
Sheesh, did August 13th show up to work? By all definitions, the markets were a bloodbath – thankfully there are sporting events to distract from the carnage. And draft day for the latest attraction was yesterday.
Well… sort of. The “sport” is a blockchain-based card game called MLB Crypto Baseball. It builds upon CryptoKitties, the OG collectibles which led to the first marketplaces for non-fungible (read: unique) digital goods that use blockchain as a backbone.
But times have changed since digital cats
The game’s developer, Lucid Sight, partnered with Major League Baseball to create cards for players. With hordes of fans already drawn to physical cards, digital collectibles offer professional sports organizations an innovative way to engage with their fans.
The starting lineup
- 500 digital players per team
- 30 professional teams
- *does math*… 15,000 total cards
Picture this: Aaron Judge steps up, cocks his bat, and hits a SLUG out to left field. The two-seam fastball was a bad choice. Home run.
At least two groups win here. (1) The Bombers notch on a run, and (2) digital Aaron Judge’s owner receives a special giveaway. And if the Yanks pull off a W, giveaways are in the cards for owners of digital Yankee’s as well.
There’s a problem… dApps tend to splutter out.
While we think digital collectibles will become a hot commodity, scarcity alone doesn’t cut it. You need a market of folks who are willing to buy buy buy.
Take ‘Magic: The Gathering’. The mythical card game had a whopping 20 million players back in 2015 – more than 1,900 times the daily dApp frequenters. So in the hands of a free market, it’s easier to capture value over the long term. Then it’s simply a matter of identifying what makes trading cards valuable.
Fortunately, Jeff @ Axie Infinity did the field work. By his count, the plugs that make MTG cards valuable look to be the same as digital collectibles:
So was it reasonable that the “Alpha Black Lotus” was valued at $15k a pop? Well… yeah. It was (1) scarce (1,100 total); (2) had utility (the card was banned from tournament, for pete’s sake), and (3) was a looker.
MLB Crypto Cards don’t feel as “tout naturel”
That’s French for “all natural”, but it’s neither here nor there – we just can’t shake the feeling that the pricing of MLB cards comes off as too artificial:
- 30 cards released per hour
- Cards priced @ $20 each
- If a batch sells out in the hour, prices rise by 35%
Not to mention that MLB playoffs are conveniently weeks away. Call us haters, but until digital collectibles gain more traction, we question their ability to capture and store value over the LT as well as their physical counterparts.
But regardless… the idea is a cool test run, and other sports are sure to follow. We’re calling dibs on the Jamal Adams/Sam Darnold collectibles when NFL rolls out their version.