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The Age Of Cricket Memorabilia 2.0 The craze for digital collectibles is a nascent one, having just come into the limelight within the last few years. Blockchain technology has given way to ambitions called Metaverse and Web3. The technology refers to a distributed, decentralized database which facilitates the process of transaction records and helps in tracking assets.

By Paromita Gupta

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Technological advances are taking over the world, and sports are not privy to it. Come to a land where cricket and its players are worshipped, and you will fathom how much the industry values its fans and how they are willing to push their envelope to bring new creations to the table.


Digital collectibles are now the most suited way for the industry to create new engagements with fans. Using blockchain technology, digital collectables refer to digital items which can be bought, sold or traded like any physical collectables. They are unique, cannot be replicated, and are based on some of the most iconic moments from cricket.


The craze for digital collectibles is a nascent one, having just come into the limelight within the last few years. Blockchain technology has given way to ambitions called Metaverse and Web3. The technology refers to a distributed, decentralized database which facilitates the process of transaction records and helps in tracking assets.

According to Market Decipher, a Pune-based market research and consultancy firm, the sports memorabilia market size stood at US$26 billion in 2021 with NFT sports collectibles estimated at US$1.4 billion, and it is expected to hit US$227.2 billion by 2032. But what was the need to create a cricket digital collectables platform or to deal with cricket trading cards in the first place? "With the rise of technology, we saw the potential to bring together the best of both worlds and create something truly special for cricket fans. Our goal is to fulfil the untapped potential of the sports-tech industry and provide fans with unique, interactive experiences that bring them closer to the game," shares Sunny Bhanot, Co-founder and CTO, Rario. The 2021 established startup is one of the notable players in the cricket-digital collectibles platform based on the blockchain segment.

According to Ormax Media, a media consulting service, 9 out of 10 people watch cricket, translating to INR 12.4 crore cricket fans in the country alone. "Cricketers do not get compensated for the magic they create on the field. The moments they create are typically owned by broadcasters, boards, or the teams and leagues they play for. We've seen brands capitalize on the fanbase of cricketers for years, proving that fandom is a commercially valuable asset. We wanted to redefine the economics of this system and create a direct relationship between cricketers and their fans," says Anshum Bhambri, CEO, FanCraze, a digital collectibles platform and official partner of the International Cricket Council for 'ICC Crictos'.


These platforms offer static image player cards and unique moment collectibles (a video of a particular cricketing moment with the actual commentary). Users can do a lot on such platforms. They can buy digital collectables as memorabilia, trade in player cards and moments, bank on them as an investment for future redemption and even enter virtual leagues and matches to play with other players. A form of digital collectables, graphically enhanced non-fungible tokens are also available for users to trade in. "NFTs are driven by emotions And there is no explanation needed on how intense an emotional force cricket is in India," shares Kameshwaran Elangovan, Co-founder and COO at Guardianlink, the parent company of Jump.Trade, an NFT marketplace. The platform offers a wide range of games and graphically enhanced NFTs which can be used in their league.


Transitioning to digital collectibles does make sense at large, as several unavoidable issues have plagued physical collectibles and souvenirs. They are susceptible to damage with wear and tear over the years and tend to require extra spending for maintenance and organization. Furthermore, since these digital collectables exist over a distributed network, once a person acquires a trading card, it cannot be edited or tampered with. People who tend to or plan to buy and sell frequently will find this particularly beneficial. This technology also makes it easy to track and identify which collectibles a user owns.


If you wish to dabble with the world of digital collectibles and are a cricket fan, then collectable platforms are best suited for you. The fact that these platforms do not require users to pay in cryptocurrencies is a bonus. You can transfer money to the platform wallet and start buying, trading, and minting. Trading in collectables is not a simple process; rather it's a very strategic and calculated one. An MS Dhoni six in a world cup is better than a Dhoni six in a test, and users can bank on their knowledge and love for the sport to make the best out of it. The key to making profits in trading is time and patience. JumpTrade users can purchase cards on the basis of a batsman, bowler, shot, and bat and can use them to enter, play and earn in Meta Cricket League. The better a player plays, the higher the user can quote for sale.


The market for introducing commodities pertaining to cricket is massive in India, and startups have established a strong base trying to capture the market. The detailing level and quality have made these collectibles a huge success among fans in India and around the globe. "This is a great marriage between sports and technology, a wonderful opportunity for me to be closer to my fans who continue to give me so much love and support," noted Indian cricketer Arshdeep Singh on entering into a partnership with Rario. Collectibles can now provide owners access to exclusive content, such as behind- the-scenes footage and exclusive interviews, allowing a deeper connection between the two parties to develop.


With the world moving and adapting Web3 and its applications, digital collectibles are sure to be a bigger hit as to how fans experience sports in future. We can optimistically see more sportspersons, teams, federations and government bodies adopting this as a means to interact with fans. "We can all dream of walking into a post-match event to get a signature from Virat Kohli - but in the digital world, you can bat like Virat Kohli, use his likeness as your personal avatar, speak in his voice, and so much more, We've only just scratched the surface," Bhambri notes.

Paromita Gupta

Features Writer with Entrepreneur India

Covering news and trends in AI and Metaverse segments. An avid book reader running her personal blog on the side. You may reach me at paromita@entrepreneurindia.com. 
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