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Panini to release blockchain collectibles for Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal

kobe bryant

Yesterday, collectibles company Panini America announced the release of officially licensed trading cards based on blockchain. The blockchain trading cards will have Panini’s National Treasure design and will feature iconic athletes such as Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal.

Founded in 1961 in Italy, the Panini Group manufactures licensed trading cards through its subsidiaries. Panini America was established in 2009 after buying out American trading card company Donruss. Panini currently has exclusive licensing deals from the NBA, NFL, NACAR, College athletics and many others.

Some of the players who will feature on the blockchain trading cards are baseball legends Honus Wagner, Mickey Mantle; basketball pros Charles Barkley, Stephen Curry, Zion Williamson; quarterbacks Lamar Jackson and Peyton Manning; and soccer stars Diego Maradona and Neymar.

“We were very thorough and a number of factors were considered in selecting the players that will be released in our Panini trading cards that utilize blockchain technology,” said Mark Warsop, CEO of Panini America.

The blockchain trading cards will launch in January 2020 and will be sold online in an auction format with payment in U.S. dollars instead of tokens or cryptocurrency. Ten new cards will be released each week.

The blockchain cards will be stored on a platform developed by Panini, which fans and collectors can use to trade the cards between each other. Additionally, the blockchain cards will come with a 1:1 representation of a physical version of the card. The cards will include an autograph of the respective player and in some cases will incorporate a piece of memorabilia.

“We believe our platform and the fact that the cards will be sold in U.S. dollars rather than a digital currency will help fans and collectors have a better understanding, knowing that their cards utilize blockchain as another level of authenticity,” added Warsop.

Last year we chatted to Amazon engineer Benjamin Djidi who, in his spare time, created an authenticity or traceability solution for physical collectible cards using Hyperledger Fabric. He outlined the challenges involved.

Meanwhile, Panini also plans to release blockchain versions of upcoming physical trading cards of NFL, NBA and MLBPA players.

Blockchain collectibles are becoming quite popular in Europe. Atletico Madrid and West Ham United have a licensing deal with Sorare for blockchain player cards.

UK-based Fantastec has signed up Arsenal, Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund for a blockchain card trading app called SWAP.

Fan engagement company Animoca Brands has a deal with Bayern Munich and is the licensee for Formula 1’s blockchain game.

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