Panini did it, they finally released NFTs in the traditional ‘pack drop’. Unlike Topps that leveraged a partner/platform for their release (WAX), Panini is doing it on their own platform.
I participated in the test drop of Red Mosaic Prizm and the actual Base Prizm Drop (1st of a few scheduled). This gave me 11 packs containing 33 NFTs for a total of $110. My initial plan was to keep some of the packs unopened. I was going to take my usual conversative approach to NFTs (except for Zed Run, more on that later) where I sell enough unopened packs to cover my initial costs and then have options for the remaining packs (maybe open some, maybe keep some unopened). Of course, I did not read Panini’s blog about the NFTs.
Since I did not read it... when I could not figure out how to sell some of the unopened packs (the blog explains that it is a feature that does not exist currently but will have that functionality later). I opened up all 11 packs. Out of the 33 NFTs, I decided I wanted to keep 4 of them for my personal collection; Kevin Durant, John Collins, Bogdan Bogdanovic, and De'Andre Hunter. Selling on the Panini platform was actually very straightforward, however, there is definitely room for improvement as they ramp this platform up.
I listed the 29 NFTs on their Public Auction. This is the only option and each auction is 24 hours long. You simply connect your PayPal account to your Panini account and you are ready to go. Panini charges a 10% fee on the transaction and then PayPay takes their usual 3%~. The minimum auction start price is $5 which at the time seemed fine. Now, after 20 of my 29 did not sell, I realize they need to allow a lesser start price. Given the price of the packs and the caliber of the players that were not sold, they are likely worth between $1-$3 each. The 9 that sold did net (after fees) $483 and the money showed up in my PayPal almost immediately after the auctions ended. This means a positive net income of $373 and I still own 24 NFTs.
Takeaways and Thoughts
The purchase experience was almost identical to a normal Panini direct purchase. Smashing the ‘Add to Cart’ button hundreds of times, getting a ‘site is busy’ error every time except for the last time when the NFT packs were actually added to the cart. While I was able to purchase the Red Mosaic and Base drops, I was not able to purchase the Green Ice drop (only received the ‘site is busy’ error). This was a very similar experience when purchasing the Topps and ZED Run NFTs. The only NFT drop I have participated in that is vastly different has been NBA Top Shot which creates a randomized queue.
I am not confident that their decision to maintain their own blockchain platform for the NFTs is the correct choice. I understand their reasoning to go this route and I might have chosen this route as well if I was Panini leadership. It is 100% the right choice if you are being short sighted. The question arises if this route limits growth and awareness in the future. This is the same route that NBA Top Shot took, but Topps and ZED Run chose marketplace options for buying/selling (OpenSea and WAX). There are tons of other NFTs on these platforms which allows for NFT collectors to easily add Topps and ZED Run into their collection/wallet. One of the major benefits of their own platform (same with NBA Top Shot) is the experience when selling. I had my money, in USD, in very short order. Getting your money back into USD with Topps and ZED Run is a major process involving multiple crypto wallets and gas fees along the way._____