In January of 2020 Panini America launched its online NFT platform, where collectors could purchase NFT blockchain trading cards in U.S. Dollars. “We were early into this space and it was a couple of months prior to a real NFT boom, where it became more mainstream,” explains Mark Warsop, CEO of Panini America. “We initially started by selling individual trading cards as NFTs and linking them with a physical card, which encouraged our existing collector base to come onboard, check out the platform, start to understand it and get more comfortable with it.
“As time went on we started to do a more traditional pack product, where they will buy a pack of cards, and in a very similar way to the physical space, customers could find certain very rare cards in those packs. Once purchased, those cards automatically go into their NFT account within our platform, they are minted and go onto the chain, and they have a smart contract attached. Customers can then gift or sell them through our online auction platform, and the system will automatically transfer cards from one owner to the other, record it on the ledger and that will continue to update in perpetuity.”
Having started with the NBA, NFTs from Panini America have now been released for multiple sports including soccer and UFC, with the NFL most recently. “We have got many more pack launches going out in 2022, a lot of which will have a lot of unique content that you can only find within the NFT space, which will add value and we continue to add new features and elements to the blockchain all the time to drive more utility,” Mark reveals. “In the near future we will accept cryptocurrency and for NFT collectors our products will continue to evolve, and the features and elements that they get with their cards will grow. Improving our NFT offer is a core focus for 2022.”