It’s shaping up to be the year in which NFTs go mainstream, thanks to successful releases by a number of household names.
Video game developer Capcom is the latest pop culture brand to enter the crypto collectibles space, launching a series of Street Fighter II-inspired NFTs on the WAX blockchain on Feb. 18.
The digital trading cards feature renderings of characters from the ever-popular arcade game, first released 30 years ago in 1991.
Digital packs containing 10 and 60 Street Fighter II cards will be available for purchase via credit card only. Cards are released from packs in an “unpacking” process that simulates the opening of a physical trading card pack, and can also be “crafted” to form other NFTs. Unopened packs of cards frequently sell on secondary markets for much higher prices.
The sale will start on Feb. 18 at 10:30 PM and last for 24 hours, during which time an unlimited number of packs will be sold. Unpacking and crafting abilities will be enabled immediately upon conclusion of the sale.
Digital collectibles have been on a tear in 2021, with more than $133 million in NFT sales in the last 30 days. Over half of that – 54% to be exact – was generated by the NBA Top Shot collection, recently launched on a cryptoasset-centric blockchain by Dapper Labs.
Lee Jenkins, Product Manager at WAX, told Cointelegraph he believes blockchain technology means now is “the first time that digital ownership is truly comparable to physical ownership of an item.”
“Collectors can now own a digital item forever,” Jenkins said. “They can collect, buy, sell and trade, and items are easily verifiable as authentic, with verifiable scarcity and rarity.”
“For those companies that understand blockchain, they realize that digital collectibles (NFTs) are blockchain’s killer app, allowing them to offer products and services that were never before possible without blockchain technology.”
The market for second-hand crypto WAX-based crypto collectibles is thriving, thanks in part to WAX’s low transaction costs. Jenkins believes such factors allow WAX’s secondary markets to service the business of individual collectors. He points to statistics showing the average secondary market sale on WAX to be $3.66, whereas this same statistic for competitors is $1,608 on OpenSea and $533 on Rarible.
According to NFT data aggregator Cryptoslam.io, WAX-based projects account for 17 of the top 30 NFT producers by secondary sales volume — although Ethereum-based projects still comprise the majority of total sales. With slightly over $1.3 million in sales on the secondary market, WAX’s best-selling NFT brand is Topps’ Garbage Pail Kids, their most recent release being a caricature series based on a meme-worthy pose by U.S. senator Bernie Sanders.
Other commercial releases on WAX include series by Atari, William Shatner, and Deadmau5. There is also a growing number of original art collections that are in some cases proving to be equally or more popular, such as the KOGS, Bitcoin Origins and Blockchain Heroes series.
Capcom itself is no stranger to the blockchain. Digital collectibles maker ECOMI, home to CBS, Warner Brothers and Cartoon Network brands, has also licensed Capcom’s intellectual property. ECOMI are the creators of VeVe, a virtual marketplace and showroom for high-end digital collectibles.