Roundup: The Rise of Digital Baseball Cards
Rupa Bhattacharya

What’s a Digital Baseball Card, And Why Are They Taking Off?  

As the covid-fueled rise of baseball cards leads collectors everywhere to dust off their collections, yet another form of collectible is growing rapidly. Slate goes in this week on digital baseball cards, which look like what you’d get if you crossed collecting with cryptocurrency.

It’s not an entirely new concept; digital baseball cards have existed before, in a sort of digital-licence format pioneered by MLB/Topps. Which means you can collect cards, but they’re not “real” -- if the company pulls the plug on the app or the license, they could disappear at any moment. 

The new version of cards use the blockchain to establish full-on ownership, so the assets can be traded just like physical cards, and they’re taking off among collectors. Top Shot, a digital marketplace created by the NBA and collectibles brand Dapper Labs, cleared $2 million in revenue across almost 60,000 transactions since its launch in June

Some notable players are jumping in, too. German soccer powerhouse Bayern Munich released a limited set of trading cards last year, and Topps is now working with blockchain marketplace WAX to launch its own iteration

Per Slate, these cards generally appeal more to investors than the more nostalgia-minded -- it’s not quite the same joy as opening a fresh pack -- but it’s worth keeping an eye on what happens when collectibles meet the digital age. 

This Week in Otis

As indoor public institutions remain a touchy place to be, the Covid Art Museum has sprung up as a digital archive dedicated to the art produced under lockdown. Like everything else this year, contemporary art must thrive in cyberspace. 

Luke Winkie profiles the museum, which at its height was receiving upwards of 200 new works per day, in this week’s Otis Magazine. 

Read: The Covid Art Museum Is Capturing How 2020 Looks in Art


Of Interest

• Why collectibles are having such a moment right now

• The complete Spring 2021 Jordan lineup is here

• How suits came to rule the art world

• John Waters is donating his massive art collection to the beleaguered Baltimore Museum of Art -- as long as they name their bathrooms after him. 

• Daniel Arsham is the new creative director for the Cavs

• You can now watch Moments Like This Never Last, a documentary about iconic 90s artist Dash Snow, online

• MoMA’s ambitious plan to rehang its entire collection enters its first stage

• A $10m painting seems to have completely disappeared

• Michael Jordan’s “Shattered Backboard” jersey is up for auction


News From the Otis Collection

• KAWS and cult sunglass brand Sons & Daughters are teasing a collaboration

All the Supreme to buy now that VF owns Supreme. 

• A first look at the Tom Sachs 2.5 Mars Yard

• Kobe Bryant’s childhood hoop is hitting the auction block

• GQ goes deep on Jeff Staple, Warren Lotas, and the line between knockoff and homage.

• White Cube is presenting an early installation from Tracey Emin at the upcoming Art Basel Miami Beach

• Katherine Bernhardt is among 50 star artists designing plates to raise money for the Coalition for the Homeless

• Travis Scott’s beloved Astroworld festival may return next year

• The Virgil Abloh x MoMA AF1s might be coming back.

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