Matt Mudano used to beg his mother to buy him Pokémon cards. Two decades later, he finds himself in a flood- and fire-proof vault protected with two layers of heat-mapping and retina-scanning technology, surrounded by half a million dollars’ worth of trading cards.
Driving the news: Mudano’s company, Only Gems, launched today, bringing old-school card trading to the world of cryptocurrencies, non-fungible tokens (NFTs), and the blockchain.
- That vault in Tampa (he couldn’t reveal the exact location) is expected to be filled with $3 million worth of trading cards in the next 90 days, stored there for Only Gems customers.
The panorama: While the world of sports trading cards is dominated by crypto-averse seniors, a new generation is taking over the market.
- And just as those older adults saw the value in their trading cards as children, the younger ones see that value in NFTs.
How does it work: Each card is qualified by the Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA). Once certified, the card is backed by an NFT that Only Gems creates for their customers to sell the cards on their marketplace.
- Once the card is sold, the new owner can choose to keep it in the vault and receive the NFT, or move the physical card to another location and burn the NFT.
- Only Gems also accepts other trading cards such as Pokémon, Yugioh, and Magic: the Gathering.
The vault service is free.as Only Gems makes money from the royalties attached to the NFTs.
- Mudano and his co-founder Anthony Varrell will also pick up a card valued at $50,000 or more from anywhere and personally deliver it to the vault.
- For those worth less, it’s up to the vendors to get their cards to Tampa.
Of note: The vault will be audited twice a year by an external auditor to ensure that its assets are valued correctly.
Details: Only Gems, which raised $900,000 in its seed investment round, is launching its own GemToken on the Ethereum blockchain that will be fully integrated into its platform to access future giveaways and raffles, and avoid platform fees by holding a balance. in your “wallet”.
- “Think of the Only Gems platform as a carnival and gem currency as ride tickets,” Mudano said. “Except that travel tickets are a cryptocurrency that can be bought and sold on an exchange for other cryptocurrencies.”
- The public sale of that coin will generate around $5 million of non-dilutive capital to use for growth initiatives, according to Mudano.
If you didn’t understand any of that: You can also pay by credit card.
But but but: While NFTs can be chaotic, Varrell assures skeptics that his NFTs cannot lose value because they are backed by real-life card value.
- He points to the chaos of the business card world, where people make unverified sales on social media and pay high fees to sell through sites like eBay.
- At trade conventions, millions of dollars in cards sit unprotected in hotel ballrooms and kids run around with wads of $100 bills, Varrell and Mudano said.
What they are saying: “The responsibility and the risk that you are taking to reach your consumer is insane, that someone would be willing to do that,” Varrell told Axios. “You don’t see that in any other market.”
- Scott Braun of the NHL and MLB networks joined the company as a spokesperson. “As a Pokémon and sports trading card collector who grew up tracking those trading cards through family moves and other nightmarish situations, when I was brought into contact with Only Gems, I felt like I was meant to be,” Braun said during a Twitter Spaces with Wolf Financial earlier this month,
Between lines: While the name is similar to the infamous OnlyFans, the only thing they have in common is exclusive content.
- Purchasing your “Legend Card” NFTs will unlock exclusive giveaways, rewards, and content for fan communities.
- For example, if you purchase one of 2,000 Chevy Chase Legend Cards, you’ll have access to Q&As with the actor and a chance to win one of 144 autographed pages of his personal “Caddyshack” script and 100 signed flags and flags. of Bushwick Country Club. posters