LOS ANGELES — An unused locker stall next to Justin Turner’s in the Dodgers’ home clubhouse. It’s the home for everything Turner deems fit to be kept near his pre- and post-game workstations.
There are a lot of clear plastic cubes these days ve friends – Children’s collectible figures based on non-fungible tokens (NFT). The idea of physical collectibles based on digital collectibles, not to mention NFTs themselves, is mind-bending enough.
Unusually for a major leaguer, Turner immersed himself in collecting NFTs and emerged with a degree of fluency typically possessed by the wealthy with plenty of time on their hands.
“I know a little bit about them,” Turner said with a smile.
Gary Vaynerchuk, a digital marketing entrepreneur who owns Turner’s agency, cites NFT sales as one of the core elements of his business empire. (VeeFriends is another, more recent entry.) As a client of VaynerSports, Turner recently announced As the first athlete cast in collaboration with Splash! NFTs are part of a limited collection, Vayner Sports Pass NFT community.
Turner is not the first baseball player to become an NFT. Major League Baseball and the Players Association have alreadyOfficial NFT ecosystem” Through Candy Digital. This is his NFT equivalent to a baseball card, an officially licensed digital product that collectors can buy, sell and trade on the online marketplace. (Coincidentally, Vaynerchuk is one of Candy Digital’s founding investors.)
According to Turner, Vaynerchuk tried to involve him in an extracurricular NFT project starting in the spring of 2020.
“He was trying to get me to do something with baseball cards and trading cards and buy some things that he said were good investments…. After three or four months, It’s worth over $1 million,” Turner recalls. “So when he came up to me with the NFT thing, I was like, ‘Okay, I’m going to get on board.’ It’s enlightening, fun, and cool at the same time.”
If the world of blockchain-based digital collections is a nine-inning game, its proponents would say 2022 is top of the first inning. Turner said he was drawn to potential future applications of NFT technology beyond digital trading his cards and children’s toys.
He recalled a recent road trip in which Scott Akasaki, the Dodgers’ travel secretary, dropped a rather large pile of ticket stubs in Turner’s locker the day after he reached an important career milestone. Neither Turner nor Akasaki remembered the specific milestone, but Akasaki said it was a common practice — a significant day in Turner’s baseball life.
“That doesn’t mean they were in the game,” Turner said. There are ways to prove you were actually there, via blockchain, via NFTs (hopefully the sport decides to go in that direction). When you come to the game on Friday night and Albert (Pujols) hits his two homers and you scan the ticket on the way out of the park, the ticket is on the blockchain and verified. It may not be altered or tampered with. “
As a safeguard against memorabilia fraud, Turner believes NFTs are key to everyone in the world of sports collecting. 2001 MLB Established certification program, designed to combat the counterfeiting and unauthorized sale of other physical goods. Merchandise currently used in certified games includes holographic stickers applied to objects by MLB contract certifiers.
For the same reason Some call for NFT-based tickets to become standard practice. pilot program already drafted Create NFT tickets for the 2024 Paris Olympics.
This is a far cry from what Turner calls a “kind of cool hobby” as an NFT collector. He still keeps in touch with former Dodgers infielder Micah Johnson. His original character, AkuAnother recently retired player-turned-artist, Matt Szczur, has ditched his talent. Also for creating NFTs.
“This is more than just an online art trade because NFTs have utility,” Turner says. “I’m sure there were many projects that were created and run for the wrong reasons, such as quick money making or fraud. I think there are some really good projects out there that take pride in creating utility and experience, and redefine it after this whole fraud era is over.”