Before WAX launched in 2016, the team behind the blockchain platform ran OPSkins Marketplace which was created to provide a safe trading platform for in-game items. Previously there was little to protect buyers or sellers in the digital items space and the team bridged that gap, creating a safe third-party marketplace where people could exchange digital items. It was a centralised platform which met the needs of the people at the time.
“With the advent of WAX we moved to a decentralised platform so that we could offer blockchain technology’s many advantages including security and absence of fraud,” explained Arielle Brechisci, community and content manager for WAX.
Although the alpha version of the WAX Blockchain was built on Ethereum, a choice that seemed sensible back in early 2018, a thorough vetting process soon revealed significant issues in particular with the ability of the platform to scale. As a result of the actions of a small exchange, FCoin, the Ethereum network was totally clogged and the fees and transaction times skyrocketed.
“We soon realised this was not sustainable for us. With the high fees and low speeds we could not run our trading platform where hundreds of thousands of digital items (called NFTs or non-fungible tokens) would be traded.”
At this point it is probably good to explain what a non-fungible token is, or rather as Arielle suggests: “Let’s start by explaining what a fungible token is. Fungible tokens are where you can exchange one token for another and there is no loss of value on either side. For example, if I give you a dollar bill or you give me a dollar bill, they are both worth one dollar. A non-fungible token is the opposite. They may display similar characteristics, but you can’t necessarily expect equality of value: it may be visual, it may be in the meta data, or range of elements.”
Arielle goes on to use the example of the Garbage Pail Kid (GPK) cards which were recently launched on WAX. Not only are there different visuals, there are rarities, individual numbering, and other characteristics that define the cards.
The NFTs for GPK, a Topps brand, were launched on the WAX Blockchain this month. There were in total 12,000 packs containing 110,000 cards.
“We knew they were going to be popular, but they just flew.”
In 28 hours all the GPK NFT cards had sold out. The GPK community is very strong but even so, Arielle and the WAX community were shocked and delighted. The mega packs containing 30cards sold out in just 7 hours and by the following afternoon the remaining 10,000 packs of 5 cards were also gone. Topps, the company behind GPK cards, had done an incredible job in making the NFT version sexy with 3D graphics, prism backgrounds and animations. Approximately half the packs have now been opened and the individual cards are now for sale on secondary markets such as GPK.market and eBay.
Arielle points out that while people will always like physical items – and here she points to her Funko Pop figures on a shelf behind her desk – but there is so much to do with digital and blockchain cards.
So how did WAX – a decentralised blockchain based platform – onboard the GPK Community?
For starters WAX realised that crypto wallets, even popular ones like MetaMask and Scatter, are alien to people new to this space. Non-blockchain customers don’t necessarily care about private keys and typically are not familiar with them. For many newbies access to blockchain is intimidating, so WAX created the WAX Cloud Wallet.
The WAX Cloud Wallet is as simple as logging into an email account. Users can login with their social media profiles or just create a user-name and password. And that’s it. Users can interact with the blockchain immediately without any complicated setups.
“There is not going to be massive adoption without an easy way to onboard people. This is where the WAX Cloud Wallet really shines.”
During the sale 12,000 packs were sold – and in terms of the secondary market there are already tens of thousands of transactions already recorded amounting to more than 10 million WAX Tokens. The most expensive GPK NFT sold for 80,000 WAX, or $3920 USD. This continues to rise. Marketing was done in advance by both Topps and WAX with the resultant sellout in 28 hours. While millions of collectibles have been traded over the WAX platform over the past three years, this was the first time WAX partnered with a developer of traditional, physical, non-blockchain collectibles. However, given the success of this project, it will not be the last. In fact, Arielle alluded to a number of great new projects coming down the line which she could not speak of quite yet.
We are hoping for some exclusive reveals going forward – watch the WAX space.