Topps Gets Into the NFT Game

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Collectible cards are having a moment.

While the boom might have been fueled by the pandemic and hedge fund bros getting into Mickey Mantle rookies, there’s been an undeniable increased interest in trading cards, from limited-edition Bernie Sanders inauguration mitten swag to Topps’ latest Project70 that invited creatives and celebrities like Snoop Dogg to create specially designed baseball cards celebrating Topps’ 70th anniversary.

Now, Topps is getting into the latest art craze your parents definitely don’t understand, despite a growing number of unfruitful Google searches—NFTs. You know, non-fungible tokens.

This past week, the trading card giant announced they were releasing the 2021 Topps Series 1 baseball NFT collectibles in partnership with Major League Baseball. Launching April 20th, the digital cards will contain artwork and designs from the 2021 series of physical Topps cards, in addition to some pretty nifty throwback cards and anniversary sets.

“The partnership between Major League Baseball, MLB Players, Inc. and Topps has delighted collectors and fans for generations, celebrating the legendary players and iconic moments that have defined America’s Pastime,” said Tobin Lent, vice president and general manager of Topps Digital Sports & Entertainment at The Topps Company, in a press release. “Our MLB blockchain NFT series debut marks a historic moment in the modern evolution of collecting for both traditional and new collectors. We’re excited to bring almost a decade’s worth of digital collectibles innovations to 2021 Topps Series 1 and provide another fun avenue for fans to collect their favorite heroes and moments with secure digital ownership on the blockchain.”

With the initial NFT Topps release, there will be standard and premium collective digital packs, with some bonus rarities, ranging from Common to Legendary—meaning, these aren't necessarily your grandpappy's baseball cards. Hell, there isn't even a physical card to speak of, and it speaks to a growing basement-dwelling collector’s mentality for digital media that’s supposedly fetching big dollars or, uh, bitcoin, Maybe Ether. You get the point. The NFT collectibles feature nostalgic templates (Topps 85’-87’ forever, motion graphics, and other fancy digital flourishes which will maybe-kinda-sorta make you a million bucks, like autographed cards that aren’t physically autographed?

Help, please?

“As collectibles enjoy a breakout moment with NFTs and blockchain technology, we can’t think of a better way to honor the legendary players from years past and look forward to the incredible careers ahead of today’s stars and breakout rookies,” said Evan Kaplan, managing director of MLB Players, Inc, in the same press release. “These Topps cards offer a new innovative way for today’s collectors and fans to connect with their favorite stars.”

Anywho, who knows is this will start fetching Beeple-level money, especially since the NFT market has dropped some 70% in the last few weeks. To the moon, indeed.