MLBPA pens forward-thinking crypto-collectibles deal

Partnership will see popular baseball players featured in token packs.

MLBPA pens forward-thinking crypto-collectibles deal

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The Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) has teamed up with Seattle-based startup Player Tokens to create a crypto-collectibles offering for fans that is one part baseball trading card and one part digital asset.

The service will feature 73 Major League Baseball (MLB) All-Stars and players from all 30 of the league’s teams. Three types of token packs will initially be made available for purchase, each consisting of five to six Player Tokens priced between US$5.99 and US$8.49.

Like physical collectibles, the packs can be purchased with a credit card, which Player Tokens says makes it the first company to offer crypto-collectibles without the need for a crypto wallet or any knowledge about cryptocurrencies. The company’s technology will also allow fans to take their tokens with them, allowing for unique experiences in stadiums and access to token-driven games.

Player tokens are fitted with a unique ID that can be tied back to the blockchain, proving the authenticity of every asset. Much like a physical or digital trading card, the tokens come with images of the players and their signatures, but also allow consumers to track an individual token’s history with details of its mint date and previous ownership.

"Baseball has a strong track record of being pioneers and innovators, especially in the collectibles industry," said Evan Kaplan, director of licensing and business development at the MLBPA. "We believe Player Tokens is taking a great step forward, modernising the fan and collector experience while paying homage to the rich history of baseball collectibles. We look forward to fans, collectors, and players engaging in new ways through Player Tokens."

"At Player Tokens, we are re-imagining the collectible experience for collectors, fans and athletes by leveraging the latest technologies to provide experiences that were previously not possible," added Kush Parikh, founder and chief executive of Player Tokens. "Our intent is to deliver a simple, fun collectible, accessible to all fans and collectors globally, whether crypto veterans or novices.

“As we build out the Player Tokens platform, you'll see an ever-expanding way that fans and collectors can utilize their tokens, including engagement with their favourite players."

Parikh also told Forbes that the deal with the MLBPA will start with 200 players, including all those selected for the 2018 MLB All-Star Games, with a further 100 players to be added before the post-season begins. He also said Player Tokens is working towards agreements with other sports leagues.

The tie-up is the latest innovative partnership in the crypto space to be signed by a players’ union in the US, following the National Football League Players Association’s (NFLPA) deal last week with SportsCastr, which will allow fans to exchange cryptocurrency for content, tickets and merchandise.