In the trending non-fungible tokens (NFT) space in India, the new kid on the block is cricketer Rishabh Pant, who soon will be offering digital collectibles on Rario, a cricket-based NFT platform.
With Pant, the platform is looking to enhance moment cards. “We are looking to create some videos which will be proprietary and then player cards,” Ankit Wadhwa, founder and CEO of Rario, told Moneycontrol. He added that they are in talks with cricket boards globally to get the intellectual property rights of all the matches in the world.
“We are bringing moments, videos, images from tournaments endorsed by players themselves. We are creating moment cards that play video on them, player cards and artefact cards. Moment cards will come from tournament organiser partnership, player cards can come through partnership with cricket boards and through player partnership. Artefact cards we will add subsequently which would include things like bats, balls.”
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Moment cards are videos capturing iconic batting, bowling or fielding moments, player cards are like images of the players which can be used as badges and artefact cards give access to buyers to items like bat, balls, among others.
When it comes to NFT drops from Pant, the cricketer said, “The past year of my career has given me some very special moments, be it the century against England in Ahmedabad or leading Delhi Capitals to the IPL (Indian Premier League) playoffs. My innings in Gabba is also something I will never forget. By signing with Rario, both the fans and I can preserve and enjoy these moments in a new and modern way. I am really enjoying my cricket right now, and I am certain there will be many more such innings that we can fondly look back at.”
Asked how soon the platform will drop Pant NFTs, Wadhwa said that they are working around the cricket calendar which is bit of a challenge with players inside a bio-bubble. So it will be most likely right after the T20 World Cup, he added.
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In terms of pricing of these NFTs, most exclusive NFT cards will be launched through auction. "Top tier NFTs of sports players globally have gone in millions of dollars. We don't have a precedent yet (in India) but it can follow the global numbers,” Wadhwa said.
Apart from Pant, the platform has got on board cricketers including Smriti Mandhana, Zaheer Khan, Shafali Verma, Shakib Al Hassan and Faf du Plessis.
Rario, which had launched its beta version on August 15, saw sales worth $200,000 so far. During the launch, the platform had offered three types of card packs: All Stars valued at $10, Trail Blazers valued at $50 and Remember the Titans at $500. The $50 and $500 packs were sold out in less than three hours and the $10 packs were sold in 36 hours.
And its recent NFT drop called Remember the Titans 2k21 on September 24, which contained moments from the second half of Season 9 of the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) 2021, was sold out within 15 minutes of launch. These NFTs were priced at $500.
“Traction was strong and there was a significant share of India. There were some purchases from countries which are not cricket crazy like Brazil, Germany,” said Wadhwa.
The craze for cricket NFTs both in India and abroad is catching the interest of many cricketers. Among the newer cricketers to enter the NFT space is Dinesh Karthik who will be offering a digital collectible featuring the six he had scored on the last ball in the 2018 match between India and Bangladesh when the former needed five runs from one ball. Karthik’s NFT will go on auction from October 12.
Sales of digital collectibles through auctions are being preferred by many NFT marketplaces. This is because the trading aspect results in 10x of original sales, said Wadhwa who will be launching the Rario marketplace on October 15.
Globally, sports-based NFTs are picking up pace and these NFTs are commanding premium pricing. For example, a moment of American basketball player LeBron James was sold for $208,000 on NBA Top Shot.
NBA Top Shot, which is a blockchain-based platform, until February this year had over 100,000 active collectors and made $215 million in sales.
Overall, it is estimated that transactions worth over $2.5 billion are expected in the digital sports collectibles space this year globally.