How Panini is using Web3 to create a digital market and collectibles

Globally, Panini is the biggest name in the sports trading card business – a household name in its own right, with partnerships with global brands including FIFA, Disney and NASCAR.

How Panini is using Web3 to create a digital market and collectibles

adobe stock

In the past year, the company has begun to move into the digital collectibles space — specifically, experimenting with NFT technology to create scarcity and value with its digital cards in the same way it does with its physical collectibles. does with.

While the timing of the move may coincide with a dramatic crash in the global market for NFTs, Panini is moving forward with its plans. Jason Howarth, VP of marketing and digital at Panini USA, told me, the main effect of this collapse will be to “weed out” those who just went into the market to make a quick buck and those who see long-term value in the technology.

“We are focused on building a sustainable blockchain marketplace that is private and controlled, so we don’t have to worry about counterfeits appearing on our marketplace… and this time you can try our NFT products,” he added. The only way to consume is on our private blockchain.

One reason why NFTs make so much sense to business is that it allows them to take a cut of the valuable resale market. With cards in the company’s most favored series, such as FIFA and the NBA, often trading for thousands of dollars, it could create a lucrative secondary revenue stream.

crypto collapse

Of course, the NFTs and wider crypto space have recently been rocked by a number of scams and business failures, along with a dramatic drop in the asset’s trading value. Most notable among these is the collapse of crypto exchange FTX and Silicon Valley Bank, which bankrolled many of the major players and startups in the industry.

Do these failures indicate that we have reached the end of the great Web3 experiment before it even began? Well, Panini doesn’t think so. Some believe that what we have seen is the equivalent of the dot com stock market bubble crash in 2000. The technology itself is sound, but there aren’t really valuable use cases yet to support the industry that has sprung up around it.

Panini USA has maintained centralized control of its own marketplace rather than being the first to jump into big Web3 ideas such as decentralization and user-owned online communities. It aims to generate value in the market through interaction with customers and collectors, rather than pumped-up valuations for investment from venture capitalists.

Howarth describes this as creating a “sustainable” market for NFT collectibles.

“I think it has helped us weather the crypto storm,” Haworth told me.

“We have a lot of exciting elements coming to the blockchain marketplace; It’s going to be a lot more user-friendly and more user-centric, giving users the ability to see individual card sales data, pack data, collector-by-collector collection data… so they can really understand where the market is going. What is happening in

So part of the philosophy is that while the move into digital collectibles may not provide the same tactile experience, collectors can instead immerse themselves in the figures and data that can be created using digital platforms.

“We have a showcase where users can showcase their favorite NFTs; you also have the ability to see if an existing NFT is for sale, see its price, and buy it with one click.”

Unlike the vast majority of NFT marketplaces that currently operate, users of Panini’s Marketplace buy and sell collectibles using US dollars, rather than going and receiving cryptocurrencies. It’s a process that can be technically tricky for some and can leave less cautious users vulnerable to fraud and scams.

Howarth says, “There was a lot of uncertainty…and people didn’t understand how to go out and get a crypto wallet, and buy crypto, we wanted to let people just go and buy our product, and most The best way was to just let the transaction happen in US dollars.”

hybrid collectible

One innovation that is driving engagement is the bundling of physical business cards alongside digital NFT versions.

Howarth says, “There are both merits and demerits. The physical is never going to disappear; that tangible element of having the product in your hands and being able to hold it and display it … it’s something like That’s never going to change. In fact, we continue to see growth in the physical business card category globally in places like Asia, Australia, New Zealand and Europe.

“I think you’ll have these tracks where both [physical and digital collectibles] coexistence.

According to data from, a website that tracks NFT sales, Panini NFT sales generate approximately $2.38 million in revenue per month – this includes retail sales and resale among collectors. This shows that collectibles continue to have cultural relevance in an era where the attention of audiences – especially youth – can be captured by myriad competing channels.

“It’s a place where people can separate themselves from the chaos of the world,” Howarth says, “and gather around something they value, whether it’s a favorite team or player.” And connect with the kids — I know my kids … they go to their rooms, and they’re on social media and playing video games, and you don’t always have that connection, but when you’re together Opening a pack of cards and talking about the players… that connection doesn’t disappear.

you can Click here Read on to watch my full conversation with Panini’s Jason Howarth, where we dive deep into the trading card giant’s future plans for digital collectibles and NFTs.

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