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Amazon invests in fractional sports trading card marketplace Dibbs

Technology and retail giant makes move into booming market for sports collectibles.

3 December 2021 Steve McCaskill
Amazon invests in fractional sports trading card marketplace Dibbs

Getty Images / Dibbs

  • Dibbs launches direct marketplace ‘Sell with Dibbs’
  • Startup raised US$16m in Series A funding in July
  • Terms of Amazon’s investment not disclosed

Amazon is dipping its toes in the booming market for sports collectibles by investing in fractional marketplace Dibbs, which has just launched a feature that allows users to sell stakes in their items directly between each other.

Collectibles is not an area that has previously attracted Amazon’s attention, but the retail and technology giant has a history of making strategic investments and acquisitions to maintain its prominence, including Audible, Deliveroo, LoveFilm, and Twitch.

Growth in the sports memorabilia market is being driven by demand for alternatives to traditional financial investments like stocks and shares. Rare sports cards are now selling for millions of dollars at auction, while non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are also attracting interest from speculators.

It is a sector where many people are keen to get involved, not least because they can use their sporting knowledge to minimise risk. However, the large sums involved, especially at the top end, are prohibitive to would-be buyers and minimise the market for owners seeking to monetise their assets.

Dibbs was founded in 2020 as a way of tackling these challenges by offering fractional shares of cards and NFTs, presenting a more affordable route to participation and allowing collectors to unlock value without ceding total ownership.

The terms of Amazon’s investment have not been made public, but Dibbs did raise US$16 million in Series A funding in July this year. Among its existing investors are Foundry Group and Tusk Venture Partners, as well as athletes Chris Paul, Channing Frye, DeAndre Hopkins, Kevin Love, Kris Bryant, and Skylar Diggins-Smith.

“For too long, the collectibles market has been riddled with barriers to entry that render it inaccessible and inequitable,” said Dibbs founder and chief executive Evan Vandenberg.

“Traditional ownership has limitations that the emerging metaverse eliminates. Moving these collectibles, which genuinely represent an individual’s online persona, into the digital domain is essential for the future of ownership and identity.”

The latest expansion of this vision is ‘Sell with Dibbs’, a marketplace in which owners can sell directly to other users and control the process. This includes price and the number of fractions up for sale.

Fractions are detailed in ‘smart contracts’ authenticated by blockchain technology, while Dibbs stores and insures any card listed on the platform, charging 2.9 per cent commission on any transaction. If anyone acquires a 100 per cent stake in an asset, they can take possession and have it shipped to their home.

“We’re proud to establish Dibbs as a two-sided marketplace that offers both buyers and sellers stable pricing, instant and flexible liquidity, and transparent fees,” added Vanderberg. “‘Sell With Dibbs’ is yet another way we’re making collectibles more accessible by meeting collectors where they are, which today is on their phones and connected devices. Once an item is tokenised it gains immense capabilities and can be utilised in ways we’re only just beginning to understand.”

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