(WXYZ) — NFTs have been around since 2014, but they only became known in the last two years as people started looking for non-traditional ways to make and use money and fuel their passion.
“During the pandemic, I started investing, I started learning about investing, which naturally brought me to cryptos, which naturally brought me to NFTs,” said Quinten Johnson, a football player and student at the University of Michigan.
NFT, which stands for non-fungible tokens, are unique digital assets that represent real-world objects such as art, music, and videos. They are bought and sold online, usually with cryptocurrency.
Artists are no longer dependent on galleries or auction houses to sell their work. Instead, NFTs allow people to buy them directly from the artist.
But for Johnson, NFTs are the future when it comes to taking community engagement to the next level.
“One of the first to showcase the whole team and bring supporters and alumni, the fans and connect them with the team,” Johnson said.
Think of them as your traditional trading cards, but now you can buy or sell them virtually, don’t worry about losing or caring for them, and most importantly, you can earn an income on future sales.
“As the community grows over time, more and more people join. The value of the collectible goes up, so you don’t lose money, so you generally make money from NFTs themselves,” said Richard Oh, the CEO from BlockPack.
BlockPack is a company that creates the NFT marketplace for college sports fans. But, Oh says, NFTs are more than digital assets — they’re a fan’s entry into an exclusive club.
“You get something signed from the player if you own all the NFTs of the whole team. You show up 2 hours early and you can have your picture taken with the team. Those kinds of events that you can create with NFTs, it’s pretty unlimited with what you can do,” said Oh.
While this is not an official University of Michigan venture for legal reasons, Oh has partnered with about 30 Michigan football players for the first time and believes Michigan loyalists will give the platform the right boost.
“Michigan football has your one and a half million Facebook followers. You get 1% conversation on that. You end up getting way more powerful than the voter community than anything there is in NFT land right now,” Oh said.
Even though this is the first of its kind college football initiative, in NFT land sports collectibles are skyrocketing. For example, according to stadiumtalk.com, a photo of Lebron James taken in 2020 has a price tag of $21.6 million. While a digitally signed card from WBC World Middleweight Champion Jermall Charlo costs $19.1 million.
Now, as with any investment, it’s important to do your research and due diligence before you get your feet wet. Meanwhile, to learn more about the college football NFT program, visit www.blockpack.io