Make way, Topps MLB? Not quite, but baseball’s biggest league is expanding it’s NFT offering. The MLB announced a partnership with powerhouse NFT start-up Candy Digital. Candy Digital is led by Fanatics’ Michael Rubin, serial entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk, and Galaxy Digital founder and CEO Mike Novogratz.
Candy Digital: A Sweet Team
The powerhouse trio leading the way for Candy Digital is arguably unmatched in the NFT space. Gary Vaynerchuk has been exploring NFTs for many months now, calling them “the next big thing” on CNN last month and starting his own NFT project, VeeFriends.
Novogratz, of course, will be the mainstay crypto-connector for the team. A former hedge-fund manager, Novogratz founded Galaxy Digital fifteen years ago and has become a vocal name in the industry. He describes Galaxy Digital as “a merchant bank with a balance sheet to invest”, with a bevy of investments in crypto and blockchain technology.
Lastly, Fanatics’ Michael Rubin rounds out the team; Fanatics will hold a majority stake in Candy. Fanatics has dominated the sports licensing world for many years, serving over 80M consumers. In a statement about the project, Rubin said that “Candy is about allowing everyone to own a piece of their passion – whether that be sports or gaming, fashion or art, music or pop culture, the goal is to broaden the fanbase of digital collectibles.” Rubin cited common ground between Candy Digital and the league in that both “live at the intersection of passion, community, innovation, and digital transformation”.
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The Initial Release
While Candy’s site is live with today’s announcement, the webpage only features an email signup. The initial Candy MLB release will feature a one-of-one Lou Gehrig NFT, composed of Gehrig’s “Luckiest Man” speech after being diagnosed with ALS in 1939. The NFT is set to go live on July 4th weekend, and proceeds will support ALS charities.
Additional NFT assets will follow this initial drop for MLB fans. Candy will leverage the Ethereum blockchain to power the platform. The press release is already forecasting Ethereum’s proof-of-stake advantages, noting that ETH features “low gas costs, fast transaction finality, and 99% more energy efficiency than proof of work systems”.
Candy is set to be powered by Ethereum, a popular blockchain for NFTs as proof-of-stake approaches. | Source: ETH-USD on TradingView.com
Candy Digital’s Core: Community
Candy has ‘community’ top of mind, and the MLB is just an early stepping stone for building it. Tucked away at the close of the press release is a note that “Candy has ambitious plans for expansion in the digital asset marketplace and anticipates the announcement of additional partners and products in the coming weeks.”
Time will tell what other sport, entertainment, and pop-culture NFT partnerships this team can put together to further IP integration and fan engagement for leagues, individuals, and companies. Stay tuned.
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Featured image from Pixabay, Charts from TradingView.com