Digital collectibles for the 2023 season are being released by Candy Digital, an NFT company in its third season as an MLB partner. As the NFT industry was booming in 2021, Candy Digital was founded, but it faltered in late 2022 and early 2023.
Fanatics fired more than a third of its 100 employees in November 2021 and sold Galaxy Digital the majority of its roughly 60% ownership in Candy in January.
“During the past year, it has become obvious that NFTs are unlikely to be sustainable or lucrative as a separate business,” Rubin said in an email to Fanatics staff. Candy Digital CEO Scott Lawin told Decrypt on Wednesday that Fanatics hasn’t entirely left the startup.
“Fanatics was a fantastic partner and investor to get started with—they’re still an investor in Candy, although at a smaller level,” Lawin said. “We still believe there will be opportunities to work together in the future.”
He claimed that Fanatics, a leader in sports merchandise, manufactures physical sports memorabilia as their primary product. Topps, which has its own NFT initiative, was purchased by fans. Candy was and still is a digital-first company, according to Lawin.
In June 2021, Candy Digital was established by Mike Novogratz, Michael Rubin, and Gary Vaynerchuk.
Peyton Manning, Insight Partners, Softbank’s Vision Fund, Connect Ventures, and Will Ventures raised $100 million in October 2021 to value the business at $1.5 billion.
As Fanatics divested, Galaxy and ConsenSys Mesh raised a Series A1 finance to carry forward. (Disclosure: ConsenSys Inc. continues to invest in Decrypt, which was incubated by ConsenSys Mesh and spun out in 2022.)
People may have different opinions about a company’s viability and focus when markets are erratic, Lawin told Decrypt. He talked about layoffs.
“We like many players in the space, unfortunately, did reduce some of our headcount at the end of last year—really with an eye towards an environment that could be lower for longer,” Lawin added. “At the end of ‘21 and beginning of ‘22, you had a ton of money flowing into the space and a lot of people jumping in who didn’t really have a long-term vision. They were there to try to make as much money as they could as quickly as they could.”
“I think those folks largely are gone,” he said. “The tourists are gone and the settlers are here to continue to build.”
Before Opening Day on Thursday, Candy Digital released its 2023 MLB Showstopper ICON series, an NFT collection of 43 MLB players priced at $43 per pack and included three player memorabilia. According to Lawin, the previous drop on Wednesday sold out in three minutes.
Candy’s commemorative game tickets will be distributed once more; last year, a #1 edition of 451 2022 Pittsburgh Pirates Season Ticket Collectors sold on Candy’s secondary market for $400. Candy’s commemorative game tickets were created by Palm, an Ethereum sidechain for NFTs, after approximately 200,000 NFT collectible tickets were redeemed by MLB fans.
Lawin believes that NFT collector tickets will eventually allow MLB fans access to events.
“I think it’s inevitable that the collectible ticket and the access ticket come together over time,” Lawin said. “Being able to create a dynamic digital asset that’s a collectible and has information—updated box scores potentially, video content, et cetera—and then being able to track that fan journey on chain and have that information available to teams where they recognize who their true fans are… we think that’s super exciting.”
“There’s a lot of big, incumbent players in the access ticket space,” he noted. “We do believe the access ticket and the NFT ticket become one, but it’s probably a bit further down the road.”
Candy and Netflix scanned items from Stranger Things into digital treasures last year using 3D volumetric technology.
Lawin intends to expand its current digital collectible projects, which include partnerships with the National Baseball Hall of Fame, NASCAR teams, WWE, and Getty Images, by incorporating AR connectivity. He said ConsenSys Mesh would influence Candy’s NFT product offerings.
In the sports NFT sector, Candy is joined by a number of formidable rivals, such as Dapper Labs, which manages digital collectible marketplaces for the NBA, NFL, UFC, and LaLiga, and Sorare, which collaborates with MLB, the NBA, MLS, and the English Premier League.
While Sorare published a fantasy baseball game based on NFT in 2022, Candy struck an agreement with the MLB as a “official NFT partner” in 2021. Despite having a shared MLB license, Lawin thinks they can work together for collectors and fans.
“I would love to find a way to work together with Sorare to bring utility to their customers and our customers on a joint basis,” Lawin said. “One of the factors of sports licensing across any league is there are different segments of rights on what can or can’t be done with those assets. I think from a fan’s perspective and collector’s perspective, if we could find a way to work together, that would be a great outcome.”
Content Source: decrypt