Candy Digital, an NFT startup, has partnered with Major League Baseball to launch digital collectibles minted on Palm, an Ethereum sidechain specifically optimized for non-fungible tokens, for the 2023 season.
The 2023 MLB Showstopper ICON NFT series features 43 baseball players for $43 per pack. Each pack contains three player collectibles. The drop, which occurred the day before Opening Day, sold out within three minutes, according to Candy Digital’s CEO Scott Lawin.
Candy Digital’s NFT game tickets will also be available this season, following the success of nearly 200,000 NFT collectible tickets redeemed by fans last year.
— Shawnthemon (@Shawnthemon) March 29, 2023
Lawin has a vision for NFT collectible tickets to eventually grant entry access to events. The CEO believes there will be a future merging of collectible and access tickets, resulting in a dynamic digital asset that contains updated box scores, video content and other information.
Candy Digital’s ups and downs
Candy Digital, an official partner of MLB for three seasons, has overcome many adversities in its journey. An undisclosed source said the company had fired over 30 of its nearly 100 employees in November 2021.
Recently, according to an internal email obtained by CNBC, Fanatics, the sports platform company owned by Michael Rubin, would sell its 60 percent stake in Candy Digital to an investor group led by Galaxy Digital, the crypto merchant bank founded by Mike Novogratz.
On Wednesday, Lawin revealed that Fanatics had not completely disassociated from the startup. Lawin also said that Fanatics had been an excellent partner and investor in helping Candy Digital get started.
He explained that Fanatics still holds a smaller level of investment in Candy Digital, hinting there are still prospects to collaborate with Fanatics again.
Lawin said after Fanatics acquired Topps, a famous trading card brand, that the company is primarily a “physical-first business” and makes a “physical sports memorabilia business.” In contrast, Candy Digital has been and remains a digital-first business.
“At the end of ‘21 and beginning of ‘22, you had a ton of money flowing into the space and a lot of people jumping in who didn’t really have a long-term vision. They were there to try to make as much money as they could as quickly as they could.”
Scott Lawin, CEO of Candy Digital
The CEO suggested that market volatility could lead to varying opinions on “viability and the focus of the business.” Speaking to Decrypt, he revealed that Candy Digital had to lay off some employees towards the end of last year as it was anticipating a prolonged period of market instability.
He explained that during the end of 2021 and the beginning of 2022, there was a huge influx of money in the NFT space, with many newcomers looking only to make quick profits rather than having a long-term strategy.
Lawin was candid in his assessment of people who had been dabbling in the Web3 realm as mere “tourists” but had then vanished during the crypto bear market and the decline in NFT sales.
“I think those folks largely are gone,” the CEO said. “The tourists are gone and the settlers are here to continue to build.”
Candy Digital was introduced to the public in June 2021. After a few months, Candy Digital secured a $100 million funding round led by Insight Partners and Softbank’s Vision Fund. The company’s valuation rapidly increased with the funding, reaching a staggering $1.5 billion.