Player Tokens Inc. is betting that digital resources and blockchain technology will reshape the way sports enthusiasts buy and sell rare collectibles.
The Seattle start came out of the stealth mode in August, revealing its "cryptographic service" that
The company, backed by the Madrona Venture Group, last month signed an agreement with the Major League Baseball Players Association to sell digital "tokens" with real MLB players. Token packs, priced from $ 5.99 to $ 8.49, can be purchased with a credit card. Player Tokens said his product is the first crypto-collectible that does not require a cryptocurrency portfolio.
There are a finite number of tokens sold and each has unique IDs based on the Ethereum blockchain which confirms authenticity, which creates digital scarcity. Token holders will be able to use tokens in a variety of ways, including indoor stadium experiences and engagement with MLB players. The pieces are not interchangeable and can not be used as digital currency, but can be transferred to other owners.
"We believe player tokens take a big step forward, modernizing the fan and collector experience, while paying tribute to the rich history of baseball collecting," said Evan Kaplan, director of licensing and business development at MLBPA.
Crypto-collectibles are a relatively new phenomenon. One of the best known examples of this is CryptoKitties, cartoon dgital cats that are bought and sold with Ethereum. The company raised $ 12 million at the start of this year.
Players' tokens are led by CEO Kush Parikh, former CEO of PayByPhone who was recently an entrepreneur in residence in Madrona.
"Our goal is to create a modern platform that ultimately connects fans and players through digital," he said.
Speaking at an event in Seattle last month, the CEO of Boost VC, Adam Draper, spoke about his company's focus on investing in cryptocurrency. Draper, a great comic book collector and first investor in Coinbase, said blockchain technology allows for digital scarcity.
"Digital scarcity, for the first time, is possible on the Internet," he said.
Scott Jacobson, managing director in Madrona, has written a blog post about his company's investment in Player Tokens. From the post:
"As Kush and we explored the world of crypto-collectable together, some things really stood out: first, there is the opportunity to bring together the digital and physical worlds (something that my partner Matt describes lovingly as DiPhy) to create a completely new and compelling collection experience, fueled by blockchain.Secondly, this crossover of worlds is particularly powerful in professional sports, where fans have the opportunity to meet and interacting with their favorite athletes, games, television and through social media Thirdly, the encrypted experience as it exists is totally too complicated for the typical sports enthusiast and professional collectors. "
We have reached Parikh for this Startup Spotlight, a normal function of GeekWire. Read on for your answers to our questionnaire. See also the company FAQ page for further details.
Explain what you do so that our parents can understand it: "Baseball cards of the new economy for the modern age … through all sports! The collectable items we create will change always and will continue to evolve over time – something that no static and tangible good will ever be able to do (except age). "
Inspiration struck us when: "We realized blockchain could be applied to something that people understand." More importantly, there is transparency (people know what they are buying and selling), scarcity (we count only a limited amount of collectible tokens) and authenticity (no fraud) We are not a technology looking for a solution We have identified a market and are able to apply cutting-edge technology to create a platform that was not possible even a year ago. "
VC, Angel or Bootstrap: "We started with a seed round led by the Madrona Venture Group We are thrilled to have them as thinking partners and second, investors, their unique combination of experience and Deep knowledge of technology, consumers and markets is second to none.The best way to explain symbiosis is to get their perspective on the player's tokens here. "
Our" secret sauce "is : "Making it understandable and easy to use for the common fan. You do not need to own the cryptocurrency, or even understand it.All you need to know is that the player tokens you buy from us are yours and can not be forged. there, you'll be able to join the journey with us as the collection and engagement experience evolves with the players. "
The smartest move we've done so far: "Be fearless and move fast. Surely this is the initial phase, but at the same time, getting a product on the market where we can learn and iterate quickly is our biggest advantage. One feedback we receive often is that users / fans think it's cool & # 39; owning a cryptic binder without having to worry about all the blat & # 39; of which they hear about daily in the news. "
The most important thing we look for when hiring is: " Passion, versatility and willingness to take risks. This is the basis, therefore we evaluate the competence through the functional areas for which we assume. Sports love is useful, but it is not required. It is more important to have the desire to be part of the construction of a large company. "
What is the only advice you would give to other entrepreneurs just starting: " The course remains. The daily rotations are not understandable to anyone except to other founders. Look for them because they will be the best group of peers when you surf in unexplored waters. "