NFT Markets without Cryptocurrency

Big Brands, Big Bucks, Minimizing Risks

Several Digital Asset Marketplaces are using the NFT model without the “risk” of using volatile cryptocurrency, i.e. value fluctuations of crypto, e.g. Ethereum.

In NFT Marketplaces we don’t have to buy and sell using cryptocurrency?

non-fungible token (NFT) is a non-interchangeable unit of data stored on a blockchain, a form of digital ledger. Types of NFT data units include digital files such as photos, videos, and audio. Because each token is uniquely identifiable, NFTs differ from blockchain cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin.

Non-fungible token on Wikipedia

Are NFT Marketplaces using Blockchain?

By definition all NFT Marketplaces are using Blockchain, but don’t necessarily need to be based on Cryptocurrencies for the buying and selling of digital assets.

The goal of blockchain is to allow digital information to be recorded and distributed, but not edited. In this way, a blockchain is the foundation for immutable ledgers, or records of transactions that cannot be altered, deleted, or destroyed.

Blockchain Definition: What You Need to Know – Investopedia

So, in lieu of cryptocurrency, some NFT Marketplaces are using Fiat money. What is Fiat money?

Legal tender is fiat money, or currency (bank notes and coins). It has value because a government creates it and backs it, and people using it have faith in its value. Fiat money such as US dollars can be used as an exchange for goods and services.

Legal tender – Simple English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Hey batter, batter, batter, batter! Swing, batter!

Major League Baseball (MLB) is now live on the Candy MLB NFT Network. Their Marketplace Opening Weekend (1/14/2022) produced stellar results:

With over 15,000 sales in three days, our secondary marketplace got off to a memorable start in its opening weekend. Join those fans who have already built up their collection by adding your favorite MLB stars and moments to your wallet.

Email correspondence from 


The Candy NFT Network accepts ONLY USD and is available in the US and Canada. The MLB NFT Platform is still in “BETA” mode as it appears in small characters on the top of the page. This just means that you may find bugs in the system. I just found one now using Chrome, and the “Sort By” feature on the top right of the screen.

What is a [Digital] Asset Class?

An asset class is a grouping of investments that exhibit similar characteristics and are subject to the same laws and regulations. Asset classes are thus made up of instruments that often behave similarly to one another in the marketplace.

Where will people flock to sell and buy their digital assets? That may depend upon the [digital] asset class the assets align under. For example, NFT Art may be the simplest NFT Marketplace to buy and sell works of digital art. However, collectables that go under extreme scrutiny, such as Sports Memorabilia may gravitate toward NFT Markets with less volatility from a cryptocurrency. Under normal, fiat paying conditions, those who invest in memorabilia are looking for stability in an investment from traditional, physical memorabilia. We can assume that same digital asset class of memorabilia would be sought by conservative investors, and would minimize risk when the time comes to sell the digital asset. Art NFTs are a gamble in may cases, and one might argue, so is cryptocurrency.

Experience an NFT Marketplace with One Digital Asset Class

Obvious benefits, functionality around the NFT marketplace with a single asset class allows the owners of the platform to specifically cater to their primary audience. Features that you might see with an Art NFT marketplace might differ from a sports memorabilia NFT Marketplace. Also, lots of traditional, physical assets that morph to digital assets have a rich history, and experience sought by particular collectors. If you go to an NFT marketplace without a specifically catered to digital asset class, the buying and selling experience will be muted by comparison.

MLB NFT Marketplace with “Custom” Properties

Because of the single [digital] asset class of baseball memorabilia, the Candy NFT Platform can deliver a unique experience to their buyers and sellers. Each of the digital assets are showcased to accentuate their customer base loyalty such as the classic baseball trading cards, but now digitized. Each baseball “player” card has a set of unique digital properties, recognizable by the physical trading card collectors, such as a “Player Bio” including age and height.

Even referencing the “classic” style NFT Marketplace functionality has it’s own unique display, such as List Date, Edition #, and even a “Get it Now” button. There are other types of digital assets particular to the MLB NFT Marketplace, such as a “World Series Trophy” NFT, and a “MLB Play of the Day” (Below).

Veve Digital Collectables – Marvel NFT Marketplace

Another great example of a digital asset marketplace using Fiat tender instead of Cryptocurrency. Comic books also have a rich history of physical collectibles with an eye toward a stable investment over time. Buying and selling with cryptocurrency adds volatility that a conservative investor may not want.

NFTs Accelerate Adoption with Sports Memorabilia

Sweet Spot for Digital Collectables – collecting sports memorabilia has flourished as far as I can remember. Kids are indoctrinated into collecting baseball cards here in the US at an early age. So why the β€œWait and See” attitude from athletes and clubs hesitant to dive into the NFT marketplace?

There are many types of NFTs produced classified as”art” in some shape or form. These NFTs, in some cases, are met with mixed skepticism, but Sports Memorabilia is not in the same “asset class”. Sports have a global following with a massive influx of capital from all sorts of sources. Not being “all in” with developing Sports NFTs is a missed opportunity, and let me tell you why…

Collectables as a Kid

It was engrained in me as a kid to collect baseball cards. When I first started collecting, after school I would buy a few packs of cards that contained 5 to 10 cards in each package. Sometimes you would get duplicates, and not of the ones you wanted to get duplicates of. Then the idea came to me, along with the coaxing of the collectables store proprietor, why not buy the entire year’s worth of cards, the complete annual set, an unopened box. Why unopened, in the sealed box? The cards are more valuable, and the promise of Mint condition. When I first started to collect baseball cards in the early 1980s, there were just a few major players, Topps, and Fleer among the best. So, every year I would buy the unopened box set of Topps (approx. $30), and then I would still buy the packs of 5 – 10 cards, looking for the outstanding players. I’d use a large loose-leaf book with plastic pages with baseball card like inserts to show off the cards, and maybe trade with other kids. It was fun, and to some extent, I carried that collectible “bug” into my adult life.

Sports Memorabilia

Memorabilia comes in all shapes and sizes, thousands upon thousands of things we collect, trade, and just “show off”. Some collectibles are very obscure hobbies, and some are more abundant, but by far, if I looked at the types of collectables by popularity, Sports memorabilia would be up near the top. We have sports world wide, and just like the United States loves their Baseball, Football, Hockey, and Basketball, the rest of the world loves their Football (i.e. Soccer). I see a vast potential of an undersold marketplace. There is a desire for Sports Digital Assets in the form of NFTs, so why hasn’t the market matured along with the NFT marketplaces?

“Wait and See” attitude from Athletes and Clubs

It seems like athletes, athletic clubs and leagues are taking the “Wait and See” attitude. When your brand, your image, is on the line, you want to watch the first few pioneers to see who fails, and who achieves notoriety. Arguably, art is not a cookie cutter process, and each new digital asset, minted non-fungible token (NFT), may have a style all its own, or at least a collection of NFTs applying a similar theme. Sitting on the sidelines won’t get you noticed.

Digital Agencies – Poised for Profit

I’ve had the pleasure of working for a large digital agency, specifically for medical and pharmaceuticals sectors. It was impressive to see the orchestration of people from sales pitch to project management, and creative working together for a common goal. Think of how many athletes in the world, where memorabilia is associated with their sport? How many are not represented by digital agencies?

Opportunities for All Participation Levels

Awhile back I collected 1955 Bowman cards, which looked really interesting. Each baseball card was featured within a television, one thing that made them unique. Another thing, all of the umpires got their own baseball cards as well. Classic!

Athletes Opportunities

  • Athlete’s perspective of their favorite career moment memorialized in a “Digital Moment”, e.g. brief video clip, encapsulated in a card like digital structure, signed by the player.
  • Player’s Jersey / Uniform, signed, and sponsor placement for promotion rendered as an NFT, digital card, optionally a 3D object for the 360 view.
  • Athletes sign head shots and take photos with fans, sometimes at a premium. For an additional fee, the Athlete can mint an NFT of the picture of the athlete and the fan.

Athletic Sports Clubs / Organizations

At the Sports Club, team level, there are a ton of opportunities for minting NFTs

  • The annual team photo digitized as an NFT
  • “All Stars” collection / series of NFTs, featuring best “Digital Moments” in their careers
  • Best moments from off-season, “spring training”, and impromptu moments

Why NFTs? Authenticity is Everything Collecting Memorabilia

Do you have a signed Pete Rose Baseball card from 1985? Are you sure it’s genuine? How? Authenticity may come by way of a letter, a statement declaring the physical item is authentic signed by someone or some organization of trust. That’s best-case scenario. NFTs are authentic by their very nature, how they were minted, and by whom.

Legality and Licensing

Barriers to minting their own NFTs MAY exist on an athlete based on their contractual agreement with the athletic club. Free agents may have fewer restrictions.

Who’s Making Money and How

First, the digital agency that are producing the assets for the athlete, club, and league make $$$. Then, the patrons of the sports, athletes, athletic club, or league, who commissioned the collectibles will go to the NFT marketplaces to mint the NFTs to be auctioned or bought at a fixed price. The patron can limit the number of minted items, i.e. limited edition collectible, 47/2000 minted to drive the price up for that limited edition. Then the NFT marketplaces collect fees for the transactions. Finally, the sports fans, the collectors, the sports aficionados, gain wealth and notoriety by ownership of the NFTs, Show off your collection of sports memorabilia, and occasionally sell a digital asset or two.

Online Sports Gambling Opportunities

Online sports gambling companies like Bet MGM and DraftKings should be financing the creation of sport NFTs. Everything from NFT trophies for player big wins and athlete “personalized” NFTs for example, the play of the week with athlete’s genuine signature, limited mint for rare NFT sports memorabilia.

NFT Portfolio of Projects and Opportunities Abound

Considering my Draft Kings account was down to around 3 USD, and I didn’t want to put anymore money into the account for at least the rest of the 2021 / 2022 NFL season, I decided to look elsewhere for gambling and investment opportunities. I’ve wanted to look into NFT marketplaces for a long time, so I Googled and found that Open Sea was on the top of many lists as the best marketplace, and that began my path to perdition.

I have some vague sense of what constitutes an NFT, a digital asset, or at least a marketable friendly “sellable” one. I have a ton of questions that I hope will put “guard rails” on what is a marketable, sellable NFTs. There is also an “out of the box” thinking when it comes to producing new NFTs, as many graphic artist types are creative, out side the box thinkers, in general.

Why do we need NFT Marketplaces leveraging Blockchain technology (i.e. decentralized, replicated transactions, and immutable storage)? We already have public exchanges for licensing digital content, so was Blockchain absolutely necessary to license/sell digital assets (i.e. images)? Regardless, the adventure begins.

I started by leveraging assets I already owned, physical comic books, thousands and thousands of them dating back from the early 1980s, and a bit before. I’ve started to methodically review each of the comic book’s cover art, and make the choice to elevate my physical copy into my digital collection. As of this writing, I’ve created two digital collections on the Open Sea NFT Marketplace, Comic Book Cover Art, and Variant Comic Book Cover Art. I’m in the process of scanning all of the physical comic book covers selected, and posting them to my Cover Art digital collection. At this point, there is a question of digital ownership for sale: Even though I purchased the comic book, but I did not modify the cover art from the original artist who created that book, does this still allow me to create and sell the NFT cover art? Also, I may be allowed to Create/Mint an NFT based on Marketplace rules, or lack therein, but is there value in MY digitized copy as well as the comic book publishing company? Buyers and sellers dictate value.

In order to try and diversify my NFT offerings, I’ve been experimenting with the original cover art, and creating “variants” to the original cover art. Comic book companies make their own variant covers for the same comic book, but that’s not what I am talking about in this instance. I’m modifying the colors to accentuate certain aspects of the cover art to provide my own perspective of “the trailer” for comic books.

Portfolio of Projects

I’ve decided to “play my hand” at NFTs: acquisition, creation, and curation while highlighting the challenges and opportunities along the way, although I’m not convinced the creation of NFTs is beyond the bounds of marketers and graphic artists. Here’s the rabbit hole I’m pursuing to identify and exploit opportunities in NFT marketplaces. As my comprehension expands in this subject matter, I may retract some of my statements. πŸ™‚

The for Comparing Gas Transaction Fees

Before you mint your NFT, compare Gas Transaction Fees “in Realtime” from multiple NFT Marketplaces in parallel. Then select the NFT Marketplace with the lowest fee to initiate the Mint process. I just had the experience of purchasing an NFT, and the digital asset price was significantly less than the FEE I paid to commit the transaction. Wow!

Digitize Best of Comic Books, Cover Art Collection

Sentimental fool I am, I’m handpicking from thousands of my physical comic books in my collection to scan, and mint. Don’t try this at home folks. Not sure there are many buyers of this type of digital asset / NFT.

Digital Image Variants

Leveraging proprietary software I’ve created, modify existing digital images, i.e. Comic Book Cover Art, into variations of covers. This option puts me more into the artist/creator role, which seems to be a bit more satisfying than digitizing existing physical images unchanged. There also is probably more value in “unique” minted, images. Looking forward to developing this proprietary software I’ve produced to find even more creative, and consistent ways of modifying existing digital art/images.

Movie Like Trailers for Traditional Static Media

Sample Trailers coming to an NFT Marketplace near you:

  • Comic book cover art comes ALIVE! While you’re in your local comic book store, you scan a code off the back of a comic. That scan will launch an NFT marketplace with the full motion animation/video which can entice the potential buyer to become a buyer of the comic, and perhaps the NFT as well. NFTs selling physical assets.
  • Is the back cover of the paperback and hardcover book obsolete? Have an autio narrative excerpt spoken by the author as the audio/digital NFT.

Encryption and Decryption of Digital Assets

I’m an “old school” guy when crypto was purely a reference to cryptology, encryption, and decryption, and not cryptocurrency. I’m looking to explore the “art” of integrating messages into images.

Pixelate and Revert Images

Leverage the motion of images to go from an obfuscated, opaque, pixelated image, and turn into another image.

Digital Watermarks for NFTs?

In the world of licensing image content on the internet, embedding watermarks in images are commonplace. There is an apparent lack or need for embedding watermarks in images to discourage unlicensed distribution. However, can watermarks play an artistic role for NFTs?

Embedded codes with AI Object Recognition?

Leveraging AI object recognition, artists may use a tool to imprint, insert standardized, embedded code to the NFT unique object ID. This can be done by tagging the digital asset with the NFT ID as metadata or embedding the code into the NFT in a non-intrusive way, and the tool can handle NFT types differently (i.e. Video; Images, etc.)

Develop Creative Brands

Monkeys, really? πŸ™‚

Automation Opportunities: NFT Marketplace Events

At first glance, I do not see opportunities to interface with NFT marketplaces, such as an API layer, which enables the programmer to key off an event such as a “mint” event within a specific collection. If NFT marketplaces become high volume auctions, there become lots of opportunities for automation:

  • Bidding on NFTs via API and 3rd party applications
  • Creating searches for NFTs, once minted, with the following XYZ properties.

Marketable, Sellable NFTs? What’s the next Niche?

Established brands that lend themselves well to collecting/collectibles should immediately have a group following based on their current fan base for their physical objects:


Many sports leagues already have commotozied their assets (e.g. teams, players) through licensing and marketing their athletes in “trading cards” will have a natural progression into digital assets, i.e. NFTs.

In order to be really successful, it’s not just about “lifting the image off the page”, but DIGITAL marketing firms who represent these brands should be enhancing the card to a digital media showcase. Some examples for sports NFTs is the name of the NFT is “Johnson Smith’s Best Play of the Season for 2021”. Johnson Smith may have multiple NFTs from the same marketing company, such as every player has a “basic” statistics card, and then showcase NFT pieces on top.

Sports video games can integrate with avatars/characters that have developed an “AI” chatbot as the sports player. These NFT athletes customized to the buyer/owner’s liking can be uploaded and used within the video game.

Established Media Channels – Magazines and Newspapers

Struggling newspapers and magazines from declining advertising and subscribership can turn a corner and go “all in” with this new NFT channel of opportunities. For example, National Geographic has decades of high-quality media from their magazine and archival footage that never made the magazine page. The key to implementing an NFT strategy may require outside digital marketing agencies to come in, take inventory, and propose a roadmap of products to implement.

Increased Demand for “Creative” Software Needed

The need to put video and image editing software in the hands of laymen wanting to participate in the NFT marketplace will continue to soar. Companies like Adobe with their suite of products may dominate, but the real niche is making the software accessible/usable for newbies making the threshold for market penetration lower. Animation software will thrive because of the high production value, and negligible, comparative cost to video productions.

Forced Action to “Delist” or Litigation for NFTs – Beware Jumping on Known Brands without NFT Presence

Although a brand with fully licensable products as a current strategy decided not to jump into the NFT realm…just yet, postponing the spend for designing, implementing, marketing, and selling NFTs.

Jumping on established brands, developing NFTs, may come back to haunt you.

Good News – NFT marketplaces seem to have taken a less intrusive stance, and do not have AI object recognition for automatic warning before minting your digital assets. NFT minted image digital assets may only slightly vary in any given collection, which may inhibit the accuracy of AI object recognition.

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