“I believe that everyone collects. I think collecting is in our blood as humans.” -Lynda Resnick, Entrepreneur.
We collect. Be it for a shelf in the den or for the rooms of a museum, humans collect. We love to gather bits and things of matching sets, rare one- offs or valuable art. Collecting is a hobby for some and a way to make a living for others. No matter who you are, at some point you’ve probably collected something.
As kids perhaps it was baseball cards or some other form of trading card. That turned into action figures from movies, which turned into movie posters, movie memorabilia and on and on it goes. It may have started with your tiny fist digging into a box of cereal to get that much lauded collectable prize, while infecting the rest of your family with the flu, but, you collected and needed that new addition to your collection.
Most childhood collections end up in boxes in the backs of closets that you angst over when it’s time to move. Perhaps they will come back in style and be worth thousands of dollars. Most likely not but still, you carry them to the new house just in case.
History has given us some wild collectables that hit the scene, exploded and then simply faded away. Remember Beanie Babies? If you’re old enough you may recall your grandmother's Hummel Figurines collection that you were warned not to get too close to. A single figurine produced by the Hummel corp was selling for from anywhere between $500 and $5000. Now, you can’t get 25 bucks for one at auction. Still, they were collected.
When the artist Andy Warhol died, friends and family discovered one of his great obsessions- a massive collection of cookie jars. These suddenly became “collectables” with some selling for upwards of $250,000. Sadly, their value expired not long after he had. But, for a time, they were collectables.
Collecting in the Tech Age
Times have changed. Computers and high tech devices are now in just about everyone's pocket and because of this, the nature of the collectable has shifted. There will always be people with an eye for antiques but now, thanks to blockchain technology, a great number of collectors are spending their time and money on cryptocollectables.
What is it?
Well, simply put, a cryptocollectable is a cryptographically unique, non-fungible, digital asset. And what does that mean?
Fungibility is the property of a good or commodity whose individual units are essentially interchangeable. For example; an ounce of pure gold is equal to any other ounce of pure gold. You can break a pound of gold down to ounces and they will all be equal.
A Cryptocurrency can be broken down. A Bitcoin can be broken down into Satoshi. You can buy half a Bitcoin. You cannot buy half a cyrptocollectable. A cryptocurrency is fungible. A crytpocollectable is non-fungible.
A cryptocollectable differs from a cryptocurrency in another major way. Unlike cryptocurrency where each coin is the same as the last, each token has to be the same, each cryptocollectable is completely unique. No two are alike and, because they are created in the blockchain, they cannot be duplicated. So, if you have the very first, say, CryptoKittie, you have the first and only one of its kind.
Cryptocollectables are currently a $370 billion dollar market. This is due in a large part to the blockchain where unique and traceable assets can be created, But, even without the blockchain, digital items and digital collectables are a $35-million dollar market and growing very quickly?
Minimalism Has Influence
Millennials are setting more standards and pushing more trends into the marketplace. Currently, due to the economy and the number of Millennials flooding the job market, the idea of streamlining life has come into fashion. Minimalism, espoused by writers like Marie Kondo, Ray Nicodemus and Francine Jay, has taken a deep hold with this sector of society. People are moving into tiny houses, cutting their wardrobe, donating their possessions. Millennials are more interested in spending their time and money on experiences rather than things. The days of shelf upon shelf full of figurines and antique dolls with creepy eyes that, I swear, follow you everywhere you go, are fading away only to be replaced with digital assets, aka cryptocollectables.
At one time these were the top collected items in the market;
- Classic cars
- Vintage electronics
- Baseball cards
- Dolls and action figures
- Fine Art
These are still collected and interest in such items is still high as is indicated by TV shows like American Pickers. But the interest is kept alive mostly by boomers and those who lived through the depression. For them, having things is sign of prosperity. After such long bouts of lack of plenty, when that time ended, collections and collectors took a huge upswing.
Now, with technology being the norm and Millennials embracing the minimal, the entire idea of collecting and collections has evolved and the evolution is pointing strongly to cyrptocollectables.
People are spending cryptocurrency on a variety of collectables, from digital tulips to pandas, the range and variety of cryptocillectable is mind boggling. Here are just a few of the most popular and lucrative of the crypto collectables.
Debuting in November of 2017, CryptoKitties took the idea set forth by developer Joe Looney, who created the Rare Pepe Wallet, a platform where people could purchase tokens representing virtual trading cards of artist Matt Furie’s Green Frog Meme and made it accessible to more than just your average cryptocurrency nerd.
Today, the more expensive of the CryptoKitties sells for the equivalent of over $300,000 USD. And, in total, more than 23 million worth of ether, (ETH) Ethereum blockchains’ currency, has been spent on CryptoKitties.
CryptoPets started just 4 days after the launch of CryptoKitties and it’s a cross between Pokemon and CryptoKitties. Owner's pets can battle each other and those who put more time into “training” their pets will increase their value at the “adoption center”.
These Bots combine the cuteness of CryptoKitties with a game that allows players to fight each other in tournaments. Training a Bot, adding skills and seeking to destroy another player’s Bot. There is a new tournament happening on the CryptoBot website with a prize of 19 ether (ETH) presently with 3,682.50.
Of course, if you have cats, you’re going to have dogs. The CryptoDog is an obvious mimic of the CryptoKittie but there is a difference here. CryptoDogs are created on a China-based Achain platform. This was done to avoid the kind of congestion that Ethereum saw when CryptoKitties was at its peak.
Beanie Boos, you know those Beanie Babies with the glittery, hypnotic eyes, that’s what Tron Dog looks like. Tron Dogs is a collectable as well as a Game.com game and you can use the game sites cryptocurrency, G Coins, in addition to Tron tokens to play
The “Bamboo Paper” on these little guys starts with the story of whimsical runaway pandas that hold annual dance tournaments. The goal of the game is to breed the best dancer. This game hasn’t even launched yet and still it has over 12,000 subscribers. The CEO of Playtagon, who developed the game, expect players to spend 1-2 ETH on panda-founders.
That is just a small sample of the kinds of crytpocollectables that are on the market or coming soon. Collectables that tap into almost every need and desire from Cryptofighters and CryptoGods to CryptoFlowers and Decentraland Land Parcels, a collector/gamer can find almost anything in the cryptocollectable space.
Here to Stay
Because these collectables hit on all the criteria that Millennials are looking for; an experience rather than just a thing, takes up no space, is technology driven and has the potential to make someone very wealthy, most people in the know believe that the cryptocollectable wave is still just a swell. Some of these virtual Beanie Babies admittedly, will grow virtual dust and some will drain a gambler’s virtual wallet but that doesn’t stop many believing the crytpocollectables space has a bright future.