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Prepare for a Surge of NFTs from College Athletes

A fresh crop of NFTs has sprung up as a result of the NCAA’s new rules permitting college players to sign business deals. Could this help to resurrect the NFT market?

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NFTs are supposedly dead, according to most of the media.

Protos, Gizmodo, Hypebeast, the New York Post, and Quartz all reported in the first week of June that the NFT market was a bubble that burst in May, citing statistics from NonFungible.com. Other tracking sites’ data suggests that the price-volume peaked much earlier, in April. According to DappRadar, the total pricing volume on NBA Top Shot, one of the most popular NFT markets, has decreased by 33% in the last week, and the total number of traders has decreased by 14%. The figures back up the notion that blockchain-based collectibles are just a transitory craze.

However, we believe that the demise of NFTs has been unduly exaggerated.

When we talk about NFTs, we tend to bundle them all together under one big umbrella, combining different sorts with varying levels of popularity and stickiness, such as music, art, gaming, and sports. However, there are examples of both fascinating and shrug-worthy items in each area.

We think we’ll see some amazing applications for NFTs that we haven’t seen before in the long run. A new influx of collegiate athlete NFTs could bring money and attention to space shortly.

The AP Men’s College Basketball Player of the Year, University of Iowa senior Luka Garza, sold his own NFT one week after Iowa lost in the NCAA tournament three months ago. Garza had to wait until the end of his final college season due to NCAA “amateurism” restrictions prohibiting athletes from forming business arrangements.

Everything has changed since then. The NCAA has allowed athletes to earn from their own name, image, and likeness as of July 1st (NIL). It’s a major shift in collegiate sports that many predicted would never happen.

On the first day, the floodgates opened at midnight. University of Wisconsin quarterback Graham Mertz and University of Oklahoma quarterback Spencer Rattler tweeted their new personal brand logos. At the same time, Hanna and Haley Cavinder, twin basketball players at Fresno State University, had 3.3 million TikTok followers, signed with Boost Mobile.

McKenzie Milton of Florida State University and D’Eric King of the University of Miami co-founded an NFT firm.

Of course, not all of the NFTs we’ll see from college athletes will be beneficial applications of the technology.

There will be money grabs from collegiate stars hoping to cash in on their short-lived celebrity on the court or field. And that’s perfectly fine. There may also be meaningful and conscientious efforts from athletes who are genuinely interested in connecting with their fans.

Spencer Dinwiddie, an early proponent of cryptocurrency, aims to recruit collegiate athletes for his crypto-powered influencer platform Calaxy, which recently acquired $7.5 million in funding.

He does, however, have some advice for sportsmen who sign hasty endorsement deals. “Obviously, it’s a gold rush right now,” Dinwiddie said in an interview this week. “People are rushing to sign everything they can, make whatever money they can. There will be a reversion to the mean, and people will become more strategic in how they evaluate and value their brands, as well as which companies they partner with.”

Dinwiddie expects to see a lot more athlete NFTs in the future, both in college and in the pros. As a result, the major leagues will be forced to embrace cryptocurrency.

“You’ll see the NFL make more of a push with NFL athletes doing their NFTs,” Dinwiddie adds. “No league wants to be in a scenario where they feel like the players are going to rush off and front-run something they can’t control. It’s inevitable that the NFL will become involved in the game.”

With Top Shot, the NBA is already in the game, while MLB Crypto Collectibles has been in the game since 2018. (that one fell flat).

NIL guidelines will encourage many more college athletes (and possibly even the NCAA) to participate in the NFT game, thus reigniting an industry that many have pronounced dead.

ART & COLLECTABLES

NHL Opens Hockey Collectibles NFT Marketplace

The NHL, along with its Alumni Association and Players’ Association, said on Thursday that it has joined with NFT platform Sweet to build a distinctive NFT marketplace and libraries of NFTs—individual blockchain tokens that denote ownership.

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The NHL’s market will fall between a full-fledged NFT trading platform and a website that enables momentary NFT drops, according to David Lehanski, the league’s executive vice president of business development and innovation.

By creating an NFT marketplace with exclusive releases, the NHL hopes to give fans a little bit of both. In preparation for the commencement of the 2022–2023 season, the NHL’s Sweet marketplace is anticipated to launch in October.

The NHL aims to gamify NFTs with “questing and collecting” components so that fans will interact and can be rewarded with benefits like other NFTs, according to Lehanski, who spoke to Decrypt.

Depending on a player’s performance, some of the NFTs will also be dynamic and alter over time. According to a statement, NFTs will also include “cinematic game highlights from past and present NHL seasons” or surprise packs of NFTs that may be seen in “3D interactive trophy rooms.”

Lehanski claimed that the NHL wasn’t yet ready to reveal which blockchain it would be constructing on. Though it might be on Polygon or Tezos if Sweet’s offerings are any indicator.

Lehanski stated, “We’re looking at everything,” and that the NHL’s top priorities in its search for a blockchain include “cheap gas expenses” and “environmental sustainability.”

The NHL is one of the most recent major professional sports leagues to enter the NFT market, following the NBA’s Top Shot NFTs, the NFL’s “play and own” NFT game, and MLB’s impending NFT contest.

Lehanski commented on the NHL’s approach to NFTs, saying, “There was clearly a lot of temptation to potentially moving very rapidly […] but we thought that was a little shortsighted.” He added that, in his opinion, spending the time to investigate indicators like fan behavior was worthwhile. Especially in relation to digital collectibles and gaming, NFTs have a long-term future as relevant and meaningful items for enthusiasts.

But according to Sweet CEO Tom Mizzone, the NHL’s NFTs won’t simply be targeted at hockey fans who are unfamiliar with cryptocurrencies; seasoned NFT collectors will also be able to participate in a way that feels natural to them.

It will undoubtedly appeal to that degen culture, he continued, but not to the extent that it excludes fancier consumer bases.

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ART & COLLECTABLES

The CryptoPunk Sale raises $100,000 in Ethereum to support the war effort in Ukraine

Before the recent crash, the NFT was worth about three times that when it was donated in March.

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The Ukrainian government stated today that their Aid for Ukraine crypto fundraising campaign sold a donated Cryptopunk NFT and raised over $100,000 to support the country’s anti-Russian war efforts.

In March, Cryptopunk #5364 was donated to a Ukrainian crypto fund. The fund sold the NFT to an unidentified buyer for 90 ETH yesterday. NFTs are digital or physical assets that are represented by blockchain-based tokens.

In a tweet today, Alex Bornyakov, Ukraine’s Deputy Minister of Digital Transformation—the office in charge of supervising the country’s crypto fundraising throughout the war—announced the sale.

In late February, just after Russian troops entered the country, Ukraine began receiving crypto and NFT donations. Since then, the country is said to have raised more than $135 million in cryptocurrencies through cryptocurrency donations and the selling of given NFTs.

A crypto organization collected $6.75 million for Ukraine’s military effort in early March by selling a single NFT of the Ukrainian flag. The Ukrainian rap group Kalush Orchestra, this year’s Eurovision champions, auctioned off their trophy to generate nearly $1 million in ETH for the foundation a few weeks ago.

The cryptocurrency fund assists Ukraine’s military in purchasing non-lethal goods such as protective vests and medical kits. The Ukrainian government does not hold or spend the funds; it just approves and monitors the initiative. The fund’s treasury is run by the Ukrainian crypto exchange Kuna, which is used to assist support volunteer purchases.

Ukraine’s use of cryptocurrency throughout the crisis has acted as a case study for the potential benefits of crypto in geopolitical conflicts where fiat currency (such as US dollars) is difficult to move fast.

It’s also brought up some possible downsides. Although U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen claims the practice hasn’t been widely seen, the International Monetary Fund warned in April that Russia could circumvent economic sanctions by mining cryptocurrency.

Furthermore, the present crypto bear market has completely exposed crypto and NFT donations. The price of Ethereum has dropped about 70% in the previous ten weeks, severely limiting the fundraising possibilities of NFT collections based on Ethereum, such as Cryptopunks.

The Cryptopunk that was sold yesterday raised just over $100,000 for Ukraine’s war effort; the same amount of ETH would have been worth almost $267,000 on the day the NFT was given in March.

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ART & COLLECTABLES

Jay-Legendary Z’s Sneakers Are Worth More Than 1 BTC As an NFT, go to auction

Relevant Customs, a well-known shoe brand in celebrity circles, has launched an auction for a “artist-proven” pair of the iconic Brooklyn Zoo sneakers. On the ClubRare platform, the auction will take place on June 21.

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Only ten pairs of Brooklyn Zoo sneakers were ever made, and thanks to Jay-Z, one pair went viral, selling for more than $24,000, which is now more than the value of a single Bitcoin. Now, the artist has shown the sneaker’s initial prototype, the same pattern that was used to make the other ten shoes. On June 21, the “Brooklyn Zoo” Jordans will be auctioned off as an NFT-supported, Metaverse-compatible item. This is the only pair of Brooklyn Zoo sneakers with web3 functionality.

NFT-commerce
Despite the fact that the cryptocurrency market is currently experiencing a major downturn, NFT assets are the first to be sold by investors, losing the greatest value. As the preceding news shows, NFT aficionados and entrepreneurs are unconcerned about the current state of affairs. On the contrary, based on their activities, they appear to want to give NFT collectibles greater weight and establish them as a whole entity. As a result, Paul Chung, the CEO of ClubRare, planned a Brooklyn Zoo Jordans auction conference on the future of e-commerce on blockchain.

This is an extremely crucial question. NFT assets are no longer associated with anything other than conjecture and pricey photos, thanks to their original high buzz. But it’s crucial to emphasize that, first and foremost, it’s a fantastic tool for registering ownership and e-commerce, and that every digital area of products and services turnover can benefit from these features.

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