No matter how old you are, nothing inspires nostalgia more than looking through the things you used to collect growing up. Pokemon cards, footy cards, pez dispensers and a bag full of tazos are what you’ll find hidden in the back of my cupboard. Whilst it's nice to reminisce when I come across these items, it's also disheartening to think that they'll likely remain hidden and forgotten, collecting dust until the next time I stumble upon them. Fortunately, digital collectibles provide a new and exciting way for people to showcase their prized possessions without having to sift through their closets. In this article, we'll explore the many advantages of digital collectibles over traditional collectibles, and debunk the myth that they're easily replicable by merely right-clicking and saving them.
By now you've likely come across the term "NFTs", or non-fungible tokens, but have you ever wondered what the term "non-fungible" actually means? In essence, it refers to the fact that each NFT is one-of-a-kind and cannot be replicated or replaced with anything else of equal value or attributes. The Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) is a prime example of the popularity and potential value of NFTs as digital collectibles. The project features 10,000 unique "bored ape" NFTs, each with its own distinctive appearance and attributes. These NFTs have become highly coveted among collectors and have sold for millions of dollars. One of the many benefits that digital collectibles offer is the ability for collectibles to provide real-world utility to the owner. For BAYC owners, they are given exclusive merchandise & free tickets to the annual “ApeFest” event featuring host world-class performers. So, what prevents someone from recreating the exact image featured on a Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT and claiming ownership? The answer lies in blockchain technology.
A blockchain is a decentralized network of numerous digital ledgers that securely and transparently record the ownership rights of digital assets, such as cryptocurrencies and NFTs. This ledger system requires regular updates to accurately reflect the true owners of the digital assets that exist on the blockchain. This process is secured through a validation mechanism, which eliminates the need to trust a centralized authority to keep track of ownership rights. This makes blockchain technology a reliable system for keeping track of "who owns what". As a result, NFTs are a dependable option for brands seeking to expand their collectibles into the digital realm.
One brand that has dived head first into the digital collectibles space is the NBA, who partnered with Dapper Labs to create NBA Top Shot in 2020. NBA Top Shot is a platform where users can own officially licensed “moments” from NBA players including spectacular slam-dunks, skilful assists and clutch three-pointers. Users can obtain these moments through either opening randomised packs or purchasing individual moments from other people off the marketplace. This is much like how you could purchase a pack of trading cards from a shop and sell or trade them with someone else, except digital collectibles allow for a trustless way to facilitate transactions of these collectibles with other users all over the world in an instant. On top of this, there is a wealth of marketplace data readily available, you’ll never have to worry about the collectible getting damaged and you don’t have to deal with unresponsive people on Facebook Marketplace or expensive delivery fees.
NFTs represent a breakthrough in the world of collectibles by enabling authentic and verifiable ownership of digital assets that are made scarce through code. With NFTs, individuals can finally own and trade unique digital items with the same level of confidence and legitimacy as physical collectibles. NFTs also offer the ability to showcase your digital collectibles to others, rather than them being hidden away. Moreover, NFTs present a new opportunity for brands to connect with collectors by offering surprise-and-delight experiences, providing real-world utility and fostering a digital community of like-minded enthusiasts. As a result, digital collectibles represent a dynamic and rapidly evolving field with tremendous potential for growth and innovation.