Get out your checkbooks, or crypto wallets, michigan football fans. Wolverines players are headed to the world of NFTs.
Not to be confused with the NFL, where multiple Wolverines are expected to be recruited in late Aprilimages of Michigan players will soon be available as individual “non-expendable tokens.” NFTs are unique digital assetsusually audio or visual files purchased with cryptocurrencies, which represent real-world objects and are stored on a blockchain.
BlockPack, a company that creates NFT marketplaces and plans to link them with college sports fans, will manufacture the digital tokens and facilitate the resulting auction, according to a statement from the company. Players will provide the images themselves, said Richard Oh, CEO of BlockPack.
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Last summer, the NCAA rescinded or relaxed most rules that prohibited student-athletes from earning money based on their name, image, and likeness. Oh believes this partnership with Michigan will be the first of its kind.
A Michigan associate athletics director declined to comment on any potential BlockPack relationship with players, saying the company is not an official partner or licensee of UM. Universities, due to state regulations that will take effect later this year, are not supposed to have a financial stake in or monitor NIL deals. with students
Oh said he had been in contact with Michigan officials, adding that NCAA and state rules prohibit the university from reviewing or participating in deals.
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Michigan football players were the first partners in this exercise, Oh said, because of the size of the school’s fan base and the number of players who agreed to provide the footage. He said this first-of-its-kind idea is different from other NFT markets because the market will be built by interested buyers before NFTs go public, rather than the other way around: someone making an NFT and then trying to generate interest.
The intensity of college sports fanaticism makes Oh believe that hundreds, if not thousands, of Michigan fans and alumni will pitch in funds in exchange for the opportunity to put money in the pockets of student-athletes and have a token for them.
“We basically started with a collective,” Oh said. “So it’s a function of boosters and people with deep pockets saying, ‘I want to buy, I want to support the team, I don’t care how many NFTs I get, I want to contribute X.'”
That fundraising period helps determine the interest and market price of individual NFTs, then an auction allows buyers, perhaps even those with more modest incomes than the deep-pocketed donors likely to initially fund the project, to purchase. Unique NFTs or “blind packets”. “
These packs are essentially NFT-based digital “trading cards,” similar to physical trading cards like those made by Topps. Except in this case, players receive 80% of the winnings, while BlockPack receives 20%. (Those who own the NFTs can also earn money by trading them on the market.)
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These NFTs will be based on the 2021 roster, which boasts over 100 players, but don’t expect to see one per probably the best pick in the NFL draft, Aidan Hutchinson unless things change. Oh said Hutchinson “might be a little busy” and is not one of many students who have agreed to provide an image.
“Our plan is to do 500 per student-athlete (but could increase based on interest),” Oh wrote later in an email. “The goal of this starter kit program is not to create exclusive NFTs that trade at exorbitant value, but rather to create the strongest dynamic community of supporters. We won’t know the final NFT count for the collection until after the student period closes. – athlete registration.”
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When asked about his availability to Michigan state football players, Oh said he had reached out to several programs, including MSU, but player participation still wasn’t high enough.
“Absolutely, this could work in the state of Michigan,” he said.
He thinks that if this program is a success, he said there is a potential for millions to be contributed at the fundraising stage, other students at other universities will see the utility.
After all, it cost the players nothing, he said.
Oh expects the auction process to start sometime in June and last for several days, with players receiving their first round of payments before football season. The money will be distributed evenly among all players, Oh said, and each participant will have the opportunity to earn future payments through royalties.
Follow the free press on Facebook and Twitter for more news. Tyler Davis can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @tdavisfreep.
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