Candy Digital CEO Scott Lawin spoke at the 2022 Horizon Summit in San Francisco on Tuesday about the future of fandom, including what role Web3, Blockchain and NFTs will play in sports.
If you’ve been paying attention to the markets in recent weeks, you might be a little gun-shy talking about NFTs in front of an audience of savvy sports business people and executives. But Candy Digital’s Scott Lawin didn’t seem daunted by the crypto crash, instead educating the crowd at the Horizon Summit at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., about what he and his company see as the future of digital collectibles … one that isn’t just digital.
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“We really see a continuum between digital-only, digital/physical, and digital/experiential,” Lawin said today. “Some will want a physical item, like a signed baseball. If they’re lucky enough, they might get a first pitch with the Phillies or a meet-and-greet between players and fans.” 
After a long intro giving an Internet 101-level history of how the web developed and moved from Web 2.0 to Web3, Lawin dug into the meat of his talk. Candy Digital is 18 months old and a venture between Fanatics and Galaxy Digital, and in that time, it’s built partnerships and digital collectibles for Major League Baseball, NASCAR Cup Teams and NIL athletes as well as venturing into entertainment ventures with the WWE, Getty Images, and Netflix for “Stranger Things.”
Several times during his presentation, Lawin nailed what he feels is the three-part future for NFTS: 
Lawin then continued to dig into how NFTs need to do more than just paint a pretty picture of a moment. Digital collectibles could go deeper, such as calling up Lou Gehrig’s “Luckiest Man in the World” speech in an NFT. It’s conceivable that you could turn a Jackie Robinson-signed baseball into an NFT that not just shows off a historic collectible but also offers a history lesson about the integration of Major League Baseball. Or you could take that Jerry Rice-signed jersey NFT and wear it in AR or gaming world. 
.@CandyDigital CEO Scott Lawin on Trading Card 3.0 as a new type of collectible, and the full range of media assets and licensed IP in the marketplace 📲#HorizonSummit
Digital tickets could be more than just collectibles, Lawin maintained: They could be platforms that delivered more than memorable moments from a game. They could be used for sponsorship platforms, jumping off points for ecommerce (like gear or more tickets), or even an engagement platform for fans to discuss the game.  
With a digital ticket, “You could get a notification for a scavenger hunt, where you walk around the stadium and scan areas to unlock NFTs or prizes,” Lawin said. “Or it’s a sponsorship night, and Budweiser is the sponsors, and NFT holders get a free beer.” And, he then added, those NFT holders could even collect on their free suds even if they’re not at the game.  
But right now, NFTs, blockchain, and cryptocurrency are just too complicated – and overinflated – to appeal to the average customer. Now, this should change with education, but Lawin said what’s even more important is to make sure you’re being authentic, not just with the NFT but the moment you’re capturing, that you and partners have the capability to deliver safety and privacy, and most important, use your NFTs to help owners tap into communities. 
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