In brief

  • Topps will issue blockchain-backed cards in partnership with WAX.
  • The Garbage Pail Kids will be Topps’ first blockchain project.
  • Topps is best known for physical licensed cards based on sports leagues.

The Topps Company, the American trading card maker that has worked with an array of sports leagues and licensed brands since 1938, has announced plans to issue blockchain-enabled digital cards based on The Garbage Pail Kids.

Topps has teamed with Worldwide Asset Exchange (WAX) to create a proprietary platform for collectors to buy, sell, and trade digital cards, each verifiable on the blockchain. Although Topps already has digital card marketplaces for other licensed brands, this is the first time that blockchain technology is being used for unique digital assets.

“Over the years, collectors of Topps trading cards have enjoyed the thrill of ripping open a pack of cards. This partnership allows us to bring that memorable collecting experience to an even wider audience,” said Topps Digital vice president and general manager Tobin Lent, in a release. “Our Garbage Pail Kids blockchain product will highlight recent advancements in technology and continues Topps’ history of developing innovative products.”

The digital initiative is part of a 35th-anniversary campaign for The Garbage Pail Kids, a card series first released in 1985 as a parody of the then-popular Cabbage Patch Kids. The WAX-enabled platform is set to launch sometime this month, and the website notes that the partnership is “starting with” Garbage Pail Kids, suggesting additional projects ahead. (Topps did not immediately respond to Decrypt’s request for more information.)

The crypto collectibles market has expanded since the launch of Dapper Labs’ blockchain game CryptoKitties in late 2017, which crashed the Ethereum network and saw mainstream press coverage in the process. Sports leagues are starting to cash in on tokenized crypto collectibles, including a newly-announced partnership between UFC and Dapper Labs. Teams such as the Sacramento Kings and FC Barcelona have also started issuing fan tokens.

Topps also isn’t the first traditional trading card brand to enter the blockchain space. In December, Panini launched its own blockchain initiative, which includes auctions of individual cards based on famous professional athletes.