(WXYZ) — NFTs have been in existence since 2014, but they only gained notoriety in the last two years as people looked for nontraditional 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 brought me naturally 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 like art, music, and videos. They are bought and sold online, usually with cryptocurrency.
For example, artists no longer have to rely on galleries or auction houses to sell their work. Instead, thanks to NFTs, people can 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 really highlight the entire 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 have to worry about losing them or taking care of them, and most importantly you can generate an income on future sales.
"As the community grows over time, more and more people keep coming into it the value of the collectible goes up, so you don’t lose money so you overall make money from NFTs itself," said Richard Oh, the CEO of BlockPack.
BlockPack is a company that’s creating the NFT marketplace for college sports fans. But, Oh says NFTs are more than digital assets – they are a fan's entry into an exclusive club.
"You get signed something from the player if you own all the NFTs of the entire team. You show up 2 hours early and you can take a picture with the team. Those types of events you can create with NFTs, it's pretty unlimited with what you can do," Oh said.
Even though this is not an official University of Michigan venture due to legal reasons, Oh has partnered with around 30 Michigan football players for the first run and he believes Michigan loyalists will provide the right boost for the platform.
"Michigan football has you know million and a half Facebook followers, you get 1% conversation on that, you end up with much more powerful than the voter community than anything that is in NFT land right now," Oh said.
Even though this is the first of its kind initiative for college football, in NFT land, sports collectibles are soaring. For instance, according to stadiumtalk.com, a Lebron James picture taken in 2020 has a price tag of $21.6 million. While a digitally signed card of WBC world middleweight champion Jermall Charlo is priced at $19.1 million.
Now just like any investment, it's important to do your research and due diligence before getting your feet wet. Meanwhile, to know more about the college football NFT program, head over to www.blockpack.io