• Topps Announces New MLB NFT Cards As It Switches From WAX To Avalanche

  • Topps, the world’s largest trading card company, announced today that it will release a new series of Major League Baseball NFTs in September. However, there will be a significant difference between this collection and the previous one, which was released this past spring: they will not be released on WAX.

    Topps released its first set of MLB cards as NFTs in April, dubbed the 2021 Series 1 baseball cards, and did so via the WAX blockchain. The new 2021 Topps MLB Inception NFT Collection, on the other hand, will be available exclusively through a new Topps-centric NFT platform built on the Avalanche blockchain.

    “We decided to create ToppsNFTs.com as a convenient centralized hub for fans to buy and sell Topps NFT collections,” a company spokesperson told us via email. “We chose Ava Labs to develop ToppsNFTs.com because of their truly decentralized high-performance platform, compatibility with Ethereum, and commitment to reducing their environmental impact.”

    Topps announced the platform earlier this month, along with a set of NFTs based on the German soccer league, Bundesliga. The NFT platform was co-created by the company and Ava Labs, the creators of the Avalanche platform. According to Topps, Avalanche is compatible with Ethereum, the largest trading platform for NFT collectibles in terms of volume. WAX is not directly compatible with Ethereum, but a bridge for transferring assets between blockchains is available.

    On September 9, the Topps MLB Inception NFT Collection will be available in packs through the Avalanche-based platform. An NFT functions as a deed of ownership for a digital item, including images and video clips, and in this case, collectors will receive a digital equivalent to Topps’ physical trading cards, complete with motion graphics and other flourishes.

    Topps NFT currently offers collections from Bundesliga and the classic Bazooka chewing gum brand. It remains to be seen if Topps releases new NFTs for brands that were previously released on WAX, such as Garbage Pail Kids and Godzilla. According to a company spokesperson, the company is “laser-focused on bringing classic Topps properties” to its new Avalanche marketplace, with no plans for WAX on the horizon.

    Topps’ reintroduction of baseball card NFTs comes at a difficult time for the 83-year-old company. Major League Baseball announced last month that it will end its 69-year partnership with Topps as its exclusive trading card manufacturer. Instead, when the current Topps deal expires in 2025, MLB will reportedly sell the rights to sports merchandising firm Fanatics.

    As a result, Topps’ plan to go public through a SPAC merger with Mudrick Capital Acquisition Corporation II was “terminated by mutual agreement,” according to the latter company. Topps was valued at $1.3 billion in the proposed transaction.

    Major League Baseball already has significant relationships with Fanatics and owns stock in the company. Fanatics manufactures officially licensed MLB apparel and merchandise, and its Candy Digital division produces MLB NFT collectibles for the league and its teams. If MLB’s trading card deal with Fanatics is approved in 2025, it could centralize all Major League Baseball NFT development under one company.

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