The pandemic ushered in an unanticipated world of changes, some more jarring than others. to call the revival of sports trading cards an unexpected consequence of COVID-19 is an understatement. But looking back, it makes sense—many appreciated the nostalgia and connection of trading collector’s items. Earning a pretty penny from the contents of a forgotten box in the attic was only an added bonus.
If 2020 was the year that brought about the trading card comeback, then 2021 was the year that moved this hobby to the blockchain. Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are one-of-a-kind digital assets stored on the blockchain that can be traded for other assets of comparable value or sold for a profit. Sound familiar? NFTs are reminiscent of digital trading cards.
Along with other digitally traded assets, they have taken the world by storm, with many people raking in a hefty profit by creating, selling, and trading their creations. For many, “NFT” is just another acronym circulating headlines and newsfeeds. Besides a vague awareness of their disconcerting environmental impactthe general public is still blatantly uncertain about what an NFT actually is.
But one company is proving you don’t have to be a blockchain expert with a PhD in Computer Science to get in on the revival of trading in the digital world. Live stream broadcasting platform Tango recently implemented an NFT-like Tango Card auction, enabling users to create, buy, and sell cards on the platform’s marketplace. Tango’s digital trading cards offer comparable opportunities for both entertainment and profit, but fewer qualms than their blockchain-based counterparts
The Tango platform fosters connections between content creators and their followers, enabling streamers, also called “Livers,” to monetize their broadcasts with microtransactions. The Tango Card Marketplace expands this ecosystem in support of their users, driving up the community engagement on the platform. The Valentine’s Day auction enabled card creators to profit off of their creations.
Additionally, Tango provided a special Tango Card with each purchase of a streamer’s card for fans to give to the Liver during their stream. In the themed auction, users celebrated the holiday, while also celebrating their favorite talents and other members of the Tango community. Card creators received a portion of each card’s sale for the duration of the four-day auction, providing participants with some personal financial incentive, beyond just giving back to creators.
This trading card auction also offers a more well-rounded monetization model, where users are supporting creators without being monetized through advertising like on most other social platforms. For many, this is more desirable than being bombarded by hyper-targeted ads that interrupt their social media experience and reduce overall platform enjoyment. Tango’s model also encourages the creation of user-generated content, inspiring the fans to get even more involved on their platform, beyond just idly watching their favorite creators.
Tango’s features hint at a larger industry shift, where social media users will not just be valued as “followers” amping up a creator’s price tag in the eyes of influencer marketers, but rather will interact with their favorite creators directly. Users can socialize with their favorite streamers instantly, building a connection that is often lost between phone screens.
The creator economy is expanding, and Tango is exemplifying a model where all parties benefit. Users don’t have to forfeit their privacy, and creators don’t need extreme amounts of followers to make a living on their content. The Tango platform is catered for smaller creators to grow their platforms. Regardless of their following’s size, micro influencers can make a sizable profit from follower’s virtual gifts. In fact, the platform recently celebrated their first Tango-made millionaire late last year, thanks to direct support from their fanbase.
This success story is only the beginning for Tango creators, as the platform adds more features to enhance user’s experience, like ranking top gifters, granting admin control on live streams, and integrating in-app competitions. These features are beneficial for creators and fans alike, as they foster an ecosystem where streamers can turn their talents into a living while providing viewers with unique entertainment. The introduction of trading cards illustrates Tango’s dedication to giving users new features based on larger trends, like the comeback of trading cards, while still maintaining the integrity of the platform by excluding traditional advertisements.
Tango’s unique trading cards did not only ride the wave of the shift to digital collectibles, but created an additional path for such memorabilia to exist outside of the blockchain. Social platforms already have the infrastructure for users to connect over shared hobbies and interests. Offering an additional, more interactive feature opens the door for collective monetary profit. This is a distinctive way to revamp the outdated trend of physical trading cards while revealing what’s to come in the persisting creator economy.