Nearly two years after the introduction of the non-fungible token platform NBA Top Shot, a new group of entrepreneurs has launched Candy Digital to capitalize on the lucrative sports NFT sector.
Fanatics executive chairman Michael Rubin, Galaxy Digital founder and CEO Mike Novogratz, and digital media mogul Gary Vaynerchuck are all part of the agreement. According to a statement posted by Fanatics on Tuesday, Major League Baseball will be Candy’s first partner.
Candy’s biggest stakeholder will be Fanatics, a sports merchandise firm. Novogratz and Vaynerchuk will be co-chairs and equity partners. Vaynerchuk will serve on the board of directors and as an advisor.
Each member of the team brings a distinct set of skills to the table. Rubin is the brains behind the largest licensed sports gear retailer in the world. More than 80 million people are fans of Fanatics.
Vaynerchuk is the creator of VaynerMedia, a digital media company, and VaynerSports, an athlete management organization. He was an early entrant into the sports card market. Novogratz, a former hedge fund manager, is one of Wall Street’s most outspoken and well-respected crypto enthusiasts.
“While the NFT space has traditionally focused on a small community of crypto-first customers, Candy’s sophisticated team is building immersive brand experiences that appeal to crypto-savvy players, consumers, memorabilia collectors, and sports fans alike, and Galaxy looks forward to participating in the evolution in collectibles,” said Mike Novogratz, founder and CEO of Galaxy Digital and co-chair of the Advisory Board of the National Football League.
Candy is seeking to take advantage of the current surge in interest in the sports NFT sector. Investors flocked to assets like autographs and trade cards, causing NFTs to skyrocket early this year. Over the last six months, sports NFTs have dominated headlines and generated millions of dollars in revenue.
With its Candy agreement, Major League Baseball is following in the footsteps of the National Hockey League and the National Basketball Association.
Commissioner of Baseball Robert D. Manfred, Jr. said in a statement, “From trading cards to autographed balls, baseball fans have exhibited their devotion for the sport and its players through memorabilia for decades.” “By partnering with Candy Digital to sell NFTs to MLB fans, we’re adding an intriguing new dimension to the already thriving baseball collector industry. Candy’s founders are a vibrant collection of business leaders with a proven track record. We’re thrilled to be the first partner in this new business, and we have a team that is well positioned to succeed.”
Candy’s first collectible will be an NFT of Lou Gehrig’s final speech from July 4, 1939, which will be published on July 4. In the future, Candy will be the central location for acquiring, trading, and sharing all legally sanctioned baseball NFTs.
In the Last Month, Sales of NBA Top Shots NFT Have Increased by 72 Percent
After a $305 million fundraising round in early 2021, DapperLabs’ NBA Top Shots NFTs have been gaining traction since June 2021.
Despite the current crypto market downturn, NFTs are still thriving. In January 2022, OpenSea had $3.5 billion in sales. In addition, NBA Top Shot NFTs, a Dapper Labs NFT collection, debuted in October 2020. Top Shot was created to be purchased with money. To put it another way, collectors didn’t need to understand cryptocurrencies or blockchain to acquire these NFTs.
According to CryptoSlam, Top Shot NFTs raised $53.8 million in the last 30 days, increasing 72 percent. This week, NBA star Kevin Durant starred in a new TV and social media campaign. First-time Top Shot purchasers will receive a free Durant NFT moment. In addition, Durant just became a Coinbase ambassador, while Stephen Curry joined FTX as a worldwide ambassador.
The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Strike NFT Collectibles are Dapper Labs’ first foray into NFTs. These will primarily consist of video material from UFC events and Packs, which was released on January 23.
NFL to join the NFT party
After the current NFL season, NFL All Day will be available on the Flow Blockchain. In addition, digital video highlights will be available as NFTs. However, it’s unclear whether they’ll be as popular as the NFT Top Shots.
NBA Top Shot #16538716, which sold for $10,000 in the last 24 hours, was the most expensive Top Shot NFT sold, with $1.47 million in sales volume.
Surprising popularity of Top Shots
NFTs like the NBA TopShots haven’t gotten the same kind of attention from the crypto world as CryptoPunks, Bored Ape Yacht Club, Meebits, and World of Women. On the other hand, Durant could be to blame for the recent sales uptick. NBA Top Shot NFTs reportedly outsold CryptoKitties, according to BeInCrypto. In the first week of June 2021, DappRadar detected over 70,000 traders purchasing or selling digital cards. Top Shot’s volume increased by 67 percent to more than $8 million at the time.
Dapper Labs secured $305 million in March 2021, with Michael Jordan and Kevin Durant among the major investors.
In October of 2020, Top Shot was released. Hundreds of thousands of dollars have been paid for NBA Top Shot NFTs, and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban owns 87 “Moments” NFTs.
‘It’s Time’: NBA Top Shot Maker Dapper Labs to Launch NFT Platform for UFC
Following the UFC 270 pay-per-view event, NFTs from the Ultimate Fighting Championship will debut on Flow this weekend.
Dapper Labs announced today that it would launch an NFT platform for the popular mixed martial arts organization Ultimate Fighting Championship later this week, following its success with NBA Top Shot and subsequent arrangements with the NFL and LaLiga.
UFC Strike will premiere on Sunday, January 23, immediately following the UFC 270 live pay-per-view event on Saturday. UFC Strike’s digital collectibles, like Top Shot’s, will be based on video footage from previous events and will be minted on Dapper’s Flow blockchain. However, unlike Top Shot, the UFC collectible moments will include the original soundtrack to match the video clip.
Furthermore, rather than having different tier levels, all packs—which contain a random selection of moments—will be sold at the same price (as with NBA Top Shot). NFT moments from fighters like Francis Ngannou, Amanda Nunes, Kamaru Usman, Rose Namajunas, Derrick Lewis, and Justin Gaethje will be featured in the first pack.
Dapper’s contract with the UFC was signed before NBA Top Shot was out, which is interesting. According to statistics from DappRadar, the partnership was announced in February 2020, when the NFT sector was still small and niche—well before it grew to $23 billion in trading volume in 2021.
Dapper Labs’ head of partnerships, Caty Tedman, said that the company wanted to debut NBA Top Shot first and learn from the experience—which includes serious scaling issues early last year—before launching the UFC memorabilia.
She stated, “We’ve come to the stage where we feel ready to [launch].” “We’re ecstatic to provide UFC fans with a once-in-a-lifetime experience, as well as the utility that comes with this type of product. We’re finally ready to launch this as the industry, and we grow together.”
Tedman stated that the UFC Strike platform would be heavily promoted during this weekend’s pay-per-view event, including appearances by UFC President Dana White and fighters.
Because the UFC’s timetable is mainly based on pay-per-view fights every few weeks, UFC Strike will plan its releases to coincide with those significant events. As a result, the portal will first focus on fights from the previous year but ultimately include highlights from older UFC fights. The first fight in the promotion took place in 1993.
Despite the roughly two-year gap between the original announcement and this week’s launch, Tedman said the UFC—which already has a crypto fan token through the Socios.com platform—was keen to make a big statement in the NFT industry.
“Every company has its personality, and the UFC’s approach is to test with us and try new things with us,” she explained. “It’s fantastic to have a partner that doesn’t say, ‘Well, let’s try it little and see how it goes,’ when you’re talking about how to launch a product. It’s like, ‘Let’s make it as huge as we can.’ ‘Let’s do it in a UFC-style fight.'”
Unlike Top Shot and the impending NFL All Day platform, UFC Strike will be released without a closed beta period to the general public. According to Tedman, Dapper is investigating live activations at future UFC events, as it has done with the NBA, and added value for UFC NFTs, such as potential community or gaming features.
Top Shot in 2022
The UFC announcement comes on the heels of NBA Top Shot’s first major commercial campaign, including Kevin Durant, the Brooklyn Nets player and two-time NBA champion debuting yesterday.
In October, Durant and his Boardroom media group signed a deal with Dapper Labs to give him “a starring position across NBA Top Shot,” according to the company. According to Tedman, Durant, an early investor in Coinbase who has invested in other crypto firms, is familiar with the Top Shot concept.
“He’s a world-class athlete. He’s a top-tier human. He’s a tech entrepreneur,” she explained. “It’s been a long time since he’s been with us. He’s been interested in the crypto world for quite some time. Therefore, he ticks all the boxes. But isn’t he also swaggering? There’s nothing about him that wouldn’t make him a fantastic candidate for this type of campaign.”
ACCORDING TO TEDMAN, the NBA Top Shot team is “very focused on raising participation in the product and increasing accessibility” for 2022. Following the early 2021 boom in demand and Dapper’s time spent improving platform reliability and customer service, the business feels Top Shot still has substantial growth potential ahead of it.
“This sector is still in its infancy,” she explained. “There’s no such thing as ‘tried and true,'” says the author. “We’re going to attempt a lot of things, but we’re going to do a lot of things to make sure that current collectors feel valued—so they don’t feel like we’re creating an experience where they don’t feel valued.”
And NFL All Day, which Dapper promised would debut by the end of the current NFL season, is still on track to do so—for reference, Super Bowl LVI is on February 13. The NFT platform is now in closed beta testing, and given the recent nature of Dapper’s NFL partnership, Tedman said they’re concentrating on polishing it before going public.
“We’re much newer to the NFL,” she added, “in the same way that every organization has a different personality and every partnership has a different pace. So as a result, we’re taking our time with it.”
Meta’s Instagram Experimentation With NFT Marketplace
Meta, formerly Facebook, is said to be working on a feature that will allow users to display their NFT collections on Instagram.
According to the Financial Times, Meta, formerly Facebook, has new intentions to enter the fast-growing non-fungible token (NFT) market.
The Financial Times stated, citing unnamed sources, that the social media company is working on a tool that will allow users to mint and trade NFTs and display their collections on their Meta and Instagram profiles. In April 2012, Meta, formerly Facebook, paid $1 billion for Instagram.
The blockchain network on which these capabilities would be developed is still unknown. However, NFTs are currently available on several blockchains, including Solana, Tezos, Ethereum, Flow, and WAX.
According to two sources, an NFT marketplace similar to OpenSea is also in the works.
OpenSea has been a cornerstone of the burgeoning NFT industry. Despite a more significant market decline, the platform set a new monthly volume high of $3.5 billion two weeks before the end of January. According to a report by analytics firm Chainalysis, the total market for digital collectibles will reach $41 billion in 2021.
The $69 million auctions by digital artist Beeple at Christie’s, monthly million-dollar sales of CryptoPunks, and a slew of celebrities endorsing the craze in one way or another capped off a spectacular year.
This publicity has piqued the curiosity of non-crypto companies as well.
Instagram, Meta and NFTs
In December, Adam Mosseri, the CEO of Instagram, said that the company is “actively studying NFTs and how we can make them more accessible to a wider audience.”
The company organized a session for NFT makers earlier this year to raise awareness about how to use the technology. However, artists said they “need more information on how to [use NFTs], not just from us, but from other creators,” according to Instagram’s VP of global partnerships, Charles Porch.
NFTs are also expected to play a significant role in the metaverse, a persistent digital world where individuals interact through virtual avatars. Therefore, establish non-fungible ownership of objects inside a wholly digital environment.
With its latest push into NFTs, the tech industry is getting a glimpse into how Meta could implement NFTs on its platform. Facebook’s recent rebranding as Meta signaled CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s intent to move “from being Facebook first as a company to being metaverse first.” With its latest push into NFTs, the tech industry is getting a glimpse into how Meta could implement NFTs on its platform.
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