Paper to “computer-based” trading cards
Since their creation in the 1800s, trading cards have been a popular pastime. Whether they be baseball cards or Garbage Pail Kids, the allure of trading cards isn’t hard to see. Collecting and trading cards can be a fun way to socialize with friends, indulge in your favorite hobbies like sports, and even make some money. But how did the trading card world go from paper cards in bubblegum packs to completely digital collectible assets bought and traded online?
The earliest precursors to trading cards were cigarette cards, which were small cards with information and images about various topics put into cigarette packs as a prize. These cards gained popularity until World War II, which quickly put an end to them. However, in post-war America, new trading cards that were baseball-themed quickly gained popularity. In 1952, Topps released the very first set of modern baseball trading cards and created a market that is still thriving today.
From 1952 until the 90s, trading cards remained relatively unchanged. But as the digital era began to take over in the 90s, trading card companies and collectors realized that trading cards wouldn’t be spared from the digital revolution. In 1995, Digital Trading Cards created their first “computer-based” trading cards. These cards were unique digital assets stored on CD ROMs and floppy discs. Only five years later, Topps launched their own digital trading card company called eTopps. Though these cards were getting close to modern-day digital trading cards, they weren’t quite there yet. The digital cards from eTopps weren’t entirely digital; every card released corresponded to a physical card that was stored by the company, and owners could request to have the physical card sent to them. Regardless, DTC and eTopp’s digital cards were indicative of the future to come.
By the 2010s, nearly all of the big trading card companies and entertainment franchises were involved in the digital trading card world. Companies and groups like Topps, The NFL, Star Wars, and more were getting on the digital collectible market. The blockchain technology popularized by Bitcoin allowed trading cards and other collectibles to finally go 100% digital. Now, the digital trading card market is thriving, and DTC is at the forefront of the market. Popular companies like Topps, Panini, Upperdeck, and Nifty Gateway all have DTC products, and DTC’s assembled slate of curated digital collectibles is unmatched in the blockchain digital trading card