NFT, the new investment trend arrives with force in sports.
Just a few days ago, the news that the artist Beeple had just sold a digital artwork for $69,3 million making him one of the most valued living artists in the world, caught the attention of people outside the crypto world.
A day later through the NBA Top Shot platform, it was announced that a record was reached, with the sale for more than 200 thousand dollars of a digital card of Lebron James. A card that while in the physical world would serve to complete an album, for example, in this case, are virtual highlights of different plays of the NBA season. Top Shot is in charge of selling different packs of these highlights and each one has a serial number, which indicates the number of times that play is repeated in the different packs and the number it occupies in the series.
It is now when it becomes necessary to explain what NFT or non-fungible tokens are, they are cryptographic assets based on blockchain with codes that make them unique and guarantee their authorship and authentication and therefore make them “unique”. A technology that certifies without the possibility of forgery any kind of work and to which much of the population is completely alien, but probably and more with the latest rises of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies we find it more understandable (or at least known) when we understand that it is the same technology that supports the monetary system. We talk about the democratization of the art trade, collecting or investment, being able to sell immediately any asset.
It is probably still not a very clear concept, but NBA Top Shot has already sold NFTs worth more than 230 million dollars. Real Madrid, along with other major European and international teams (125 teams to date), has joined forces with the French company Sorare to sell digital stickers that also allow points to be accumulated based on the performance of teams or players. So rare is probably the spearhead of this new movement in soccer and counts among its main investor’s such striking names as Griezmann and Piqué who invested in a recent round of financing of 40 million euros. It will be interesting to see how this new trend will coexist with the already popular “fantasy leagues” such as AS’s Biwenger. Free is always positive and attractive, but we cannot forget that they will have to compete against the possibility of earning money extremely fast by speculating with virtual players.
Just a week ago F.C Barcelona announced on their Twitter that together with the “Socios” platform they will create NFTs that can be purchased with specific tokens. We are facing a particularly complex and novel environment, in which some young law firms such as Above Sport are already working from a legal perspective to cover all due diligence and guarantees with some of the most promising Fan engagement platforms on the international scene, such as Fancisión.
An environment with exceptional volatility, in which this record in the sport of Lebron James, has not taken long to be surpassed, and last Sunday a new NFT broke records with the sale of a (virtual) sticker of Cristiano Ronaldo for 242 thousand euros. This investment fever promises to have only just begun (you don’t need to be an expert collector to guess the value that the clip of the winning goal in a limited edition Madrid-Barça match could reach), and entities such as LaLiga are surely already studying possibilities to grow in this sector. Only time will tell if it is a sustainable investment or a bubble, but it certainly seems to be a very interesting opportunity for sportsmen, clubs, and leagues to pay special attention to.