As sports fans continue to show interest in digital collectibles, it looks like Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady is looking to get in on the action.
Amid the massive rise in non-fungible tokens, more commonly known as NFTs, and the increased popularity of platforms like NBA Top Shot, Brady decided to take matters into his own hands by founding Autograph, which is reportedly expected to launch in the spring of 2021.
According to a report from CNN, Brady’s company will house “some of the biggest names in sports, entertainment, fashion and pop culture,” and will also include NFTs for Brady himself, as well.
“Autograph will bring together some of the world’s most iconic names and brands with best in class digital artists to ideate, create and launch NFTs and ground-breaking experiences to a community of fans and collectors,” Dillon Rosenblatt, co-founder and CEO of Autograph, told CNN.
Those NFTs would be connected to the Blockchain, which is marketed as “the most popular place to securely buy, store, and trade Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other top cryptocurrencies.”
Unlike Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, which are similar to printed cash in the sense that they are all created alike as a form of currency, NFTs like Brady’s collectibles and those found through NBA Top Shot are non-fungible, or unique. That model has led to a digital version of the card collecting scene, which allows collectors to hold onto physical cards with varying levels of rarity based on print runs and/or serial numbers.
While loads of focus has been put on NBA Top Shot as it relates to those types of NFTs, other athletes have dabbled with the idea of their own NFTs, as well.
For instance, Rob Gronkowski, a longtime teammate of Brady’s from their time on the Buccaneers and New England Patriots, put out his own set of NFTs, entitled the “Rob Gronkowski Championship Series NFT Collection.”
“The Rob Gronkowski Championship Series NFT Collection will commemorate GRONK’s four historic Championships with four limited edition NFTs,” the Championship Series’ website said. “Each NFT is a unique piece of memorabilia digitally hand-signed and numbered by GRONK. Limited to just 87 editions of each NFT, each edition will be minted on the blockchain and the series will never be replicated.”
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes joined in on the fun afterwards, with a 1-of-1 version of his NFT selling for $247,000 in March.
Even Panini, the leader when it comes to basketball and football cards, has included NFTs in their physical products before, giving fans of the brand the opportunity to add digital versions of cards from a specific set to their collections.
While the virtual version of sports card collecting has been met with skepticism by longtime members of the hobby, Brady’s company seems to indicate that the NFT scene is here to stay, and the 43-year-old NFL star is hoping to be at the top of the digital totem pole if it does.