My arsenal of blockchain jokes would seem limitless, so I’m as surprised as anyone that I’m sharing this – Garbage Pail Kids (GPK) on the blockchain. Regardless of one’s opinions about the value of “digital goods”, in 2019 $35B of digital goods were purchased in video games alone. That’s a lot of real $$$ for bits & bytes. A problem with most digital goods is that they are locked to one company, one proprietary platform, one proprietary marketplace (if any marketplace at all). Put digital goods on an open blockchain and it makes for some interesting possibilities. Topps, owners of the Garbage Pail Kids brand, have put out a version of digital GPK cards on the WAX blockchain. In the world of collectibles, Topps was limited in their ability to fully capitalize on the market for their collectible cards. For example, someone purchases a pack of cards, and Topps makes money on that sale. Now that same person sells some of the cards on eBay for a premium, Topps does not see any of that money. On the blockchain, digital cards are in the form of smart contracts, which allows Topps to program in the trading fees. For every digital GPK card traded, Topps can get X% of the trade (with X defined as part of the smart contract). While some may balk at this arrangement, arguing that they should not have to pay a fee to trade their property, the power in this smart contract trading fee is that it incentivizes Topps to keep the initial prices reasonable and inventories controlled. In addition to the economics that are enabled, there are the benefits of every transaction related to a GPK card being visible and immutable. The level of trust this builds is hard to achieve with real-world cards, where counterfeits and questions about production levels abound.
Beyond Bitcoin proving a decentralized digital currency is viable (no small feat!), Topps’ use of the WAX blockchain is one of the rare examples I’ve seen where the use of blockchain solves problems and creates new opportunities. Bonus points for digital GPK cards selling out FAST. Not even hurdles in the form of some of the clunky blockchain UX challenges can stop collectors from buying up their Adam Bombs and Fake Jakes.