When Layton Sports Cards’ Rich Layton and Brad Layton Fleming are in the same room for a break, good things generally happen. That was certainly the case when the hot-handed twosome opened a box of 2020 Topps Transcendent a little while back. As Fleming was unwrapping the card, Layton peered over his colleague’s shoulder to read the name on the back. Huge card, guys. Huge card. That’s all he could muster to say between smiles. Sure enough, it turned out to be a doozy—a Willie Mays baseball bat barrel cut signature book 1/1. Fleming hit the fog horns, dropped the bomb noises, the whole nine.
Though you can find that epic highlight on Sports Card Investor’s new Hits app, starting February 15 the company is taking things a step further for hobby lovers by introducing tamper-proof, non-fungible tokens (NFTs) of the Mays pull and similarly spectacular card memories from stars like LeBron James and Mike Trout.
“Digital collecting and NFTs will play a huge role in the hobby’s future,” says SCI founder Geoff Wilson. Hits NFTs are ensuring their position in the virtual space is solidified by partnering with the likes of Layton, Jaspy’s Sports Cards, Titan Cards and other top breakers for these timeless moments. “While many collectors, myself included, prefer physical cards, there is no doubt that digital collecting is gaining a lot of momentum.”
NFTs have commanded headlines over the past few years not just for their growing popularity, but for the big bucks being exchanged on the blockchain as well. According to Reuters, NFT sales totaled around $25 billion in 2021. Jimmy Fallon and Justin Bieber are proud owners of Bored Ape NFTs reportedly valued at over $1 million each. Even NBA Top Shot, one of the pioneers in the digital sports collectibles space, saw mid-December 2021 to mid-January 2022 sales jump more than 70%.
“With digital collectables and NFTs really gaining in popularity over the past year or so,” says Nicholas Green, SCI’s Director of Product Marketing, “we saw an opportunity to offer collectors a new, unique way to engage with their hobby. By partnering with the best breakers, we’ve been able to create 1-of-1 moments that capture and celebrate the raw emotion and excitement of some of the most memorable breaks ever. Regardless of whether you’re a collector, investor, breaker or NFT enthusiast, we wanted to create a community where everyone can view or own unique pieces of breaking history.”
Collectors interested in owning any of the 200 one-of-a-kind card pulls releasing in Hits’ Series 1 should go to HitsTheApp.com, find the link to the OpenSea marketplace of crypto collectibles and make the ethereum purchase of their authenticated moment.
SCI understands collectors’ hesitation, though. “Ethereum” and “crypto” are all words associated with a world that’s still relatively uncharted. Tech-savvy collectors may have interest, but they could be taking a wait-and-see approach to card-hit collecting. Old-school hobbyists, on the other hand, might not see the value at all right now.
“Since NFTs, crypto and blockchain are still so new to so many people, our biggest challenge is the unknown,” says Green. We believe in what we were creating and we’re confident that it can positively impact the hobby.”
Adds Wilson, “Physical cards have had more than 100 years of history in the hobby so, naturally, many collectors will continue to prefer them over their NFT counterparts. But it’s not an either/or. Digital collecting and physical collecting will coexist. The future is very bright for both.”