When I was around 13, I had a hobby.
I was obsessed with Pokemon trading cards.
Every spare $10 I had, I would go straight to Toyworld and buy a pack.
My friends and I used to meet up on weekends and trade cards, build decks and battle each other, even enter tournaments.
I spent hours every week just sorting them into piles, folders, pulling them all out, and doing it again.
I’m not sure what drew me to the hobby, but I loved it, and still do today.
Of course, back when I was 13, I could only afford to buy a $10 pack of cards every other week.
But one day after school, I had the lucky day that every collector waits for.
I bought a $10 pack of cards and pulled the rarest card possible.
Here it is:
At the time, this card was worth around $60.
Today, it sells for closer to $2,000.
Truth is, trading cards have always been big money. Some are worth millions.
But I want you to take a closer look at the picture above.
Why is the card encased in a plastic slab, with a serial number, a barcode, and a “PSA” logo?
Obviously, the card didn’t come out of the pack like that.
It comes out as just a piece of cardboard.
This should give you a clue to the big issue with the trading card hobby today (and how NFTs are going to change the game).
Ever since the hobby was invented, the big issue with trading cards has been:
- Knowing if a card is real
- Verifying the card is in good condition
- Transporting the card safely from one collector to another.
For example, let’s say I put that Pokemon card for sale on eBay.
How do people know it’s real?
It could be a knock-off printed in a factory in Vietnam somewhere.
This is why I’ve gotten the card put into a plastic slab with a “PSA” symbol stamped on it.
PSA is a card grading service.
You send them your cards, and they will do three things:
First, they inspect the card and make sure it’s a genuine card.
Second, they grade the card’s condition out of 10. If it’s in pristine condition, it gets a 10. If it’s got a miniature scratch or scuff, it might drop to a 9. And so on.
Third, they encase the card in a sealed plastic slab to ensure it stays in that condition indefinitely.
I’ve sent about 150 cards to PSA, at a cost of around $3,000.
Yes, I know, it sounds ridiculous. But it’s what is required to be in this hobby.
People spend millions on card grading services every year, because to assure other collectors your cards are genuine and in collectible condition, there is no alternative.
To sell a high-value card, it simply must be PSA-graded.
Finally, there is the difficulty of getting the card safely from buyer to seller.
I’ve personally dealt with the dilemma of weighing up whether to insure a package with a $1,000 card in it, or just “hope for the best”.
Some cards are so valuable they must be personally delivered by private charter as they are too valuable to take through airports.
There are sealed products worth literally millions of dollars. What if airport security wants to open things up and “take a look”.
You’re hiding drugs in that Pokemon box thing, aren’t you?
No sir, honestly, it’s just a really expensive Pokemon collection and if you unseal it, it will lose millions of dollars in value.
Yeah, right. Where are my scissors? Snippppp.
It’s every collector’s worst nightmare, and definitely worth chartering a plane for $20,000 to avoid.
When I first started learning about NFTs, this was one of the things that excited me most.
I knew immediately it would totally revolutionise collectibles like trading cards.
This has already started, as many trading cards are already being moved to digital platforms (such as NFL All Day and NBA Top Shot).
NFTs allow trading cards to be digitised, and can solve all of the current problems we face with trading cards today:
- You will always know whether an NFT is real or fake – its information is permanently and publicly written into the blockchain. Anyone can instantly see who minted it and when.
- As a digital asset, an NFT can never be damaged, so you will never need its condition to be appraised or graded.
- An NFT can be delivered anywhere in the world instantly.
It’s no wonder this industry is taking off just like traditional trading cards.
Take a look at the prices these collectors are paying each other for NFTs on the NFL All Day marketplace:
Already trading card NFTs are selling for almost over $25k NZD, and the industry is barely out the beta stage.
As you can see, blockchain and NFTs have the potential to revolutionize all forms of art – from trading cards to paintings to comic books and even music and photography.
If you’re getting into the NFT space, keep these kinds of things in mind.
The amount of value that this technology adds is what will make this industry valuable.
Look at it through that lens and things will start to make a lot more sense, and your investing decisions will become a lot clearer.
There’s tons of value if you know where to look!