Breaking Down CryptoStrikers - The First Soccer NFT

August 17, 2021 - 8 min read

This article is a deep dive into CryptoStrikers the first sports NFT. I cover the history of the project, its historical significance, the supply of CryptoStrikers, rarity levels and more.

Breaking Down CryptoStrikers - The First Soccer NFT
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If you're looking to buy CryptoStrikers (Wrapped Strikers on OpenSea), you can buy them by clicking here.

Update + Warning: There is a FAKE Wrapped Strikers project listed on Open Sea. It currently shows 5 items available (the real project has 2,100). Only use the link above to buy your cards. Join the Discord group here if you have questions and want to double check before buying.

Soccer is the most popular global sport with a fan base estimated to be somewhere between 3.5 billion and 4 billion fans. Yes, that’s billion with a B. 

Cristiano Ronaldo is the most followed person on the entire Instagram platform with 327 million followers. For comparison, Lebron James, arguably the best basketball player of all time, has 94 million followers. 

I’ve written before about how important cultural relevance is for the long-term success of an NFT project and the fan base of soccer is a built-in global audience. 

Crypto Strikers, called “Wrapped Strikers” on OpenSea is the first sports NFT on the Ethereum blockchain launched in 2018. This project doubles as the first NFT for global superstars like Cristiano Ronaldo. 

While attention lately has flocked to new projects, old projects like Curio Cards and now, Crypto Strikers, are being discovered and acquired as collectors dig deeper into “OG” projects. 

I’m going to break down this project, its history, the players it features, and the supply of the cards.

CryptoStrikers Project Origins 

Created in May 2018 and launched on June 11th, 2018 leading up to the 2018 World Cup, Gianni Settino’s CryptoStrikers were released for sale to the public making it the first-ever sports NFT. 

The goal of CryptoStrikers was to capture the excitement of physical trading cards on the Etherium blockchain. It also intended to use the blockchain to solve problems found in traditional sports card collectibles — lack of transparency in the supply of cards, counterfeit cards, and lack of global distribution

For example, there are only 248,131 total physical soccer cards graded by PSA compared to 17,482,908 graded baseball cards. The difference is significant and is likely due to the fact that soccer is just the 5th most popular sport in the United States, and most sports card collectors are based in the US. 

Settino made a bet that reducing friction would attract a more global audience to soccer collectibles by using a digital format. 

The genesis for the idea started a few years before the project was released. Settino’s co-founder Benn Gurton stumbled upon a pop-up outdoor market of people trading for 2014 World Cup Soccer Player sticker cards in Queens New York. 

A few years later, the founders, Benn Gurton and Gianni Settino were inspired by CryptoKitties as it was the earliest decentralized application for gaming leveraging the ERC-721 contract.

These innovations enabled them to bring their idea of digital soccer collectibles to life with card packs, decentralized ownership, digital scarcity trustless trading, and more. 

If you want to go deeper into the backstory, you can watch this short 16 minute interview with the founders here.

Users could buy digital packs of these cards (to give the same feel as traditional cards) from their website, they could also trade CryptoKitties for packs, and users refer friends to the project in order to get a chance at winning an Iconic (rare) card: 

Referall Program

Source: CryptoStrikers Discord

You can watch the opening of one of these digital packs here.

Update: Gianni, one of the founders of this project, shared the link for the original deploy txn on Etherscan.io that displays a launch date of June-09-2018. History is very important with NFTs and this record will become important as other historical projects are unearthed.

Players Featured 

The original set comprises 100 players from the 2018 FIFA World Cup, with 32 players being featured in a limited print run Iconics set. The founding team said they wanted to add more players to the product, but they only had 3 months to get the project out in time for the World Cup so they had to cap the players included.

The set was released during the World Cup, so the player-set focused on active players participating in the tournament. The cards could be purchased in packs, and only 1 out of 5 premium packs sold had an Iconic card (those cards were released each day, but only available on that specific day). 

Packs were sold in Standard, Premium, and Gold Packs with different distribution odds for rare cards: 

Packs

Source: Medium

The founder recently put together a “set checklist” (another nod to sports cards) which is listed here. You can see players, tiers, supply, and all the information you need to get educated. 

Supply of CryptoStrikers

Because CryptoStrikers is such an old project, it used an incomplete implementation of the ERC-721 wrapper, which is not compatible with OpenSea. Much like Curio Cards, there are likely people who minted these cards at launch but need to wrap them in the ERC-721 wrapper on OpenSea to buy and sell the assets. 

There is currently a holder of more than 100 CryptoStrikers wrapping cards to be sold on OpenSea at the time of this writing. 

While the “active” supply of these cards is increasing in the short term, the total minted supply remains the same

 The entire supply of the cards is fixed at 10,261 cards minted. Currently (and this is increasing) there are 1,457 are currently wrapped and active on OpenSea. 

There are tiers of cards, each with a different supply that is clearly outlined in its description: 

Card Image

Source: Opensea.io

For example, the above Bronze Tier card has a total supply of 80. 

There are Bronze, Silver, Gold, Diamond, and iconic cards, each with varying rarity (the full supply of every card can be found here or here). 

Diamond Tier: 

Diamond

Gold Tier: 

Gold Tier

Silver Tier: 

Silver

Bronze Tier: 

Bronze Tier

Iconics: 

Iconics

Source: https://www.strikers.auction/all

If you’ve made it this far, you’re going to get a bit of “alpha” which is an NFT phrase to signal information that is not widely known. 

The below card of Sergio Ramos has a supply of just 2 and is thought to be the rarest card in the set, but it’s not. 

Sergio Card

Source: https://www.strikers.auction/all

Holders could stake their cards during games, and if their players scored a goal, they could earn stars. There is one card (that is not yet active on OpenSea) that has two gold stars. Gold stars were only given to those cards that had been staked, so somewhere out there is a 1/1 Mario Mandzukic with two gold stars. 

Below is a Kylian Mbappe gold star card: 

Mbappe Gold

Source: Opensea.io

The gold star adds an element of rarity and a direct connection to the World Cup based on gameplay. 

The Artwork  

This project blends a multi-colored background with a player profile that has a comic-book feel to it. The product was not officially licensed, which is why there are no official team logos in the artwork.

What’s so fascinating is the design similarities with the Kaboom! card set produced by Panini, a physical trading card manufacturer: 

Mbappe Kaboom

Source: eBay

This particular card in a PSA 10 recently sold for over $13,600 (equivalent to ~4.25 ETH).  

This card has a supply of 82 in various assigned grades from PSA (one grading company out of many) with an unknown quantity of ungraded cards. 

Part of the advantage of digital collectibles is that the total minted supply is a known quantity and buyers are fully informed before making any purchase decisions. 

Update: To provide additional context to supply and rarity in physical sports cards vs. digital sports cards for Kylian Mbappe, consider the fact that Mbappe has 6 recognized "rookie" cards. None feature the traditional "RC" logo that physical sports cards so there is a lot of debate about his true rookie card. One of those cards, his 2018 World Cup Prizm, has 6,564 graded copies from PSA. His 2016 Panini Sticker card, has 1,024 total graded copies.

Compare that to his supply of just 70 in CryptoStrikers project.

The Future

As I always say on this blog, my goal is to teach you how to think about NFTs, not to copy what I or anyone else buys. 

This project has escalated in price significantly and there may be more supply on the way from inactive wallets that want to take profits of an old digital collectible they’ve been holding for years. 

It will be fascinating to see if the historical significance (this is the first NFT for global superstars) and the distributed/frictionless nature of these cards do attract the global soccer market. 

Jon Torrey

written by

Jon Torrey

NFT Enthusiast

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