Forward31, a subsidiary of Porsche that focuses on developing startups, has launched Fanzone to operate a non-fungible token (NFT) trading platform. The project announced that the German Football Association is its first partner.
Fanzone will work as a marketplace to purchase, collect, and trade sports cards. While competitor collectible platform Sorare emphasizes fantasy football, Fanzone seems to be promoting the tradition of collecting and trading sports cards, but in a digitized manner.
“The demand for classic trading cards and albums has been unbroken for decades,” said Christian Knörle, Head of Company Building at Porsche Digital. “With Fanzone, we are now digitizing this promising market.”
While the digitization of sports collectibles shifts away from the traditional excitement of owning physical cards, it has a series of advantages for collectors. Much of the value of a physical collectible relies on its condition. Therefore collectors must take precautions to prevent cards from deteriorating. In addition, there is always the risk of loss. Digitizing this industry would solve these issues.
Another issue with physical collectibles is forgery and fraud. It is easy to forge a sports card and attempt to sell it for an original. NFTs aim to address this by checking against the blockchain. But it needs to be validating against the correct source. Hence fraud is still a recurring issue even with digital collectibles, especially on open marketplaces. Fanzone and other established sports collectibles platforms address the issue of fraudulent trade of collectibles by ensuring the blockchain validation is accurate, hence verifying the collectible is unique and legitimate.
Fanzone is entering a very competitive market. While well-known players in the industry, such as Sorare are not necessarily direct competitors to Fanzone, various NFT-based sports collectibles platforms have been launched in the last couple of months, such as SportsIcon and Candy. SportsIcon seems to be more geared towards athlete-based partnerships and Candy has launched NFTs of moments in sports as opposed to a team player collectibles.
One exciting aspect about Fanzone is its partnership with the German Football Association that involves both the women’s and men’s national teams, the U21 youth team, and players from the German third league. Most platforms are looking to promote collectibles of mainstream and well-known teams. Therefore seeing the representation of a women’s team and other less popular but nevertheless engaged players in the NFT sports collectibles industry seems like a step in the right direction for Fanzone.
Meanwhile, Forward31 is one of Porsche’s initiatives to promote innovation through a startup ecosystem. Separately, through Porsche Ventures, Porsche also invests directly in promising startups such as blockchain-based vehicle management platform Gapless, and has partnered with media company Axel Springer for the APX accelerator program focused on developing companies. As for Porsche itself, it has a partnership with blockchain plastic traceability startup Circularise, and backed CircularTree’s CarbonBlock solution, which won the Global Innovation Award by Plug and Play in 2020.