Panini, NFTs, and the future of digital collectibles.

published on 26 November 2022

Who hasn't heard of Panini? Who didn't collect Panini stickers at some point throughout their lives? :)


I know I did! I still have completed magazines in my home, and I find it fun & appealing to grab some stickers regarding the 2022 World Cup occasionally to grab a golden Ronaldo! 😀

And it's curious because we all see that old classic Panini logo in many of these collections but maybe never really think too much about it...

Well... Panini group is a silent monster! An $800M family and private business powered by tradable stickers in the Football and Entertainment world.

It all began with a deep passion for football & collectibles. Two brothers, passionate football fans who wanted to collect and share their love of the game by sharing pictures of their favorite team's stickers. And while they soon dropped stickers, they added photos and cards in the mix, and the rest is history.

Panini is a super interesting use case for me. I'm deep into NFTs and digital collectibles and constantly think about how they can become more mainstream, and there are several lessons we can learn from Panini.

Two things that Panini made well:

1) They made the packages and stickers ultra-accessible. You didn't need to break the bank to start collecting and trading. They weren't limited to a bunch of pricey and exclusive collections. EVERYONE can start collecting.

2) They made them simple. You could buy them anywhere. You didn't need a specific magazine to start (you could buy it later).

Panini stickers are not an ultra-exclusive collector's item. Sure, a 1986 Maradona sticker card probably costs a couple of hundred dollars today, but that’s it. Now.. compare that with 1-year-old NFTs costing more than dozens of thousands of dollars. Of course, most people will want to stay away from that.

People traded cards for the joy & simplicity of the collectible. Of the excitement of opening a booster pack. Of the achievement of completing a collection. And not on making money out of it.

And we need to bring that feeling back to Digital collectibles. I believe there’s a mainstream market for NFTs. But there are two things we need to do first:

1) Definancialize them. Make them cheap and accessible. Like stickers, gifts, or pins. Memorabilia and collectibles;

2) Make them simple. We must remove all the friction in the process and make the collection process aligned with regular end-users and not internet degens.

To become mainstream NFTs should be much more like Panini, and much less like Bored Apes & Crypto Punks.

some food for thought…

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