Will NFTs change the lives of Pokémon fans?

Pokémon are 25 years old, but never stop reinventing themselves. In 2016, the Pokémon Go frenzy captured little monsters in augmented reality and prompted the re-release of a pack of trading cards. In 2022, followers of non-fungible tokens (NFT) are calling for the dematerialization of Pokémon cards or derivative products to be exchanged online. Even video games based on the Ethereum blockchain, such as Axie Infinity, are referred to as Nintendo franchise equivalents. But basically, do NFTs really change anything for Pikachu followers?

Crazy collectors

Since the start of confinement, collectors have gone crazy: on eBay, sales of Pokémon cards have jumped 574% between 2019 and 2020, while in March 2021, a Dracofeu card was sold for the modest sum of 418,000 euros. These transactions have been widely talked about on YouTube, where creators have staged their quest and their purchases of rare cards. Last year, the French rapper Lorenzo, for example, sold fifteen for 300,000 euros, while at the beginning of 2022, the American youtubeur Logan Paul was scammed. $3.5 million for fake cards. He then spent 5.3 million (4.5 million euros) to become the owner of the Pokémon card most expensive in the world.

Among fans of the franchise, not everyone looks very favorably on this frenzy which is driving up prices, fueling fraud, and even pushing investors to empty stocks in specialty stores to the detriment of children. But it fits in relatively well with the passion of the French for collections – 4 out of 5 have started one in their lifetime – whether these are launched for pleasure or to speculate.

On the blockchain, speculation, creation, or both?

It is on these two uses – collection and speculation – that NFTs make it possible to change things, believes the founder of the KAZoArt art gallery Mathilde Le Roy. “NFTs are not necessarily accessible to everyone, she admits, whether for technical reasons, because some – especially women – project themselves less into them…” But they still come to recompose the markets, “reinventing the role of intermediary between artist and buyer, allowing the space of collectible cards to transform. Until recently, Panini cards were outdated. And then Sorare arrived. »

The success of the French company, which makes it possible to exchange football player stamps via the blockchain, is something to dream about: after its record raising (in France) of 680 million dollars in September 2021, it is now launching on American territory. But doesn’t seem to have any plans to venture into pop culture just yet — she’s still specializing in sports. Habsro, the publisher of Magic: the Gathering, another legendary collectible card game, has on the other hand declared itself interested in the possibility of investing in the world of NFTs. On the comics side, Warner Bros. unveiled on April 26 “ Bat Cowl », a collection of NFTs dedicated to Batman. This may explain why Pokémon followers launch petitions so that these are made available and exchangeable on the blockchain.

Scam Risks and Opportunities gaming

While waiting for fans’ wishes to be granted, artists have begun to offer their own interpretation of the universe – such as the French Onemizer, which has released sale Pokémon Lugia NFTs last December. If this initiative was rather well received, others, like the Pixelmon project, proved to be more incredible. If this one allowed its author to raise 9,000 dollars, it turned out to be composed… of works very ugly and pixelated, far from the aesthetics of Bulbizarre, Charmander and consorts.

Finally, the space where NFTs would be most likely to bring new things to the Pokémon universe is perhaps the one they come from: the video game. Axie Infinity and Illuvia, two titles installed on Ethereum, are thus regularly compared to the Nintendo franchise. qualified as play-to-earnthese make it possible to buy monsters, then to make them evolve and fight in the game. The phenomenon is such that in the Philippines or in Venezuela, the number of players has exploded, who seek to round the end of the month. This eventually caught the attention of the central bank of the Philippines, which, after Axie Infinitiy was robbed of $625 million, remember the risk inherent in any investment made on blockchains.

Nintendo as an observer

If it ensures to follow the evolutions in progress, Nintendo does not declare itself for the moment not very convinced by the use of NFT. In conference, the publisher of Pokémon explained that it had not yet found “what joy it could bring” thanks to the metaverse and non-fungible tokens. All the same: between its former CEO, who show signs of interest for Play-to-Earn, and the passage of a former Pokémon Go at the publisher of Axie Infinitynothing says that it will never be possible to catch Pokémon on the blockchain.

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Will NFTs change the lives of Pokémon fans?

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