NFT Trading Cards - What Are Digital Trading Cards?

NFTs are changing the sports memorabilia market with digital trading cards. NFT trading cards are digital goods users can buy, sell, and trade online.

*Compared to major competitors. Terms and conditions apply. This is not investment advice or an investment recommendation. NFTs are shown for illustrative purposes and the types of NFTs available may vary. Cryptocurrencies, including NFTs, are highly volatile, subject to significant price risk, and may not be suitable for you.

Sports cards, Pokémon cards, Magic: The Gathering cards, and other trading cards are an enduring part of the gaming and collectibles market. Children today still collect the same cards that many of their parents and grandparents also traded and collected. 

A new wave of game designers are working to add non-fungible token (NFT) trading cards to the decades old collectables community to push it into the age of cryptocurrency and blockchains. In the era of high-speed internet and endless forms of online messaging, different gaming and collectibles cultures can easily communicate across previously unbridgeable geographic and linguistic barriers. NFT trading card dealers take advantage of the international digital marketplace to bring collector culture to anyone who wants it, no matter where the collector lives.

Beyond just trading cards, the broader NFT market has been legitimized by traditional art auctioneers like Sotheby’s and Christie’s, the latter of which sold digital artist Beeple’s Everydays collage for $69 million in 2021. It is hardly a stretch to consider that digital sports collectibles and other forms of NFT collectible art could also become attractive to collectors and investors. 

What Are NFT Trading Cards?

NFT trading cards are a type of NFT that could take the form of anything from a .gif image file of a professional basketball game highlight to the digital version of a standard trading card, like many old-school collectors have stashed away in binders at home. NFTs in general, are represented as non-fungible assets on a publicly verifiable blockchain ledger that allows anyone to verify the authenticity and provenance of the NFT. In other words, any collector can prove to everyone that they do, in fact, own a particular NFT, even if copies have been made. 

How NFT Trading Cards Work

NFT trading cards can be bought on the trading pages of various sports, art, and collectible websites. NBA Top Shot cards, for instance, are available on the NBA’s official NFT website. Any user that purchases an NFT trading card can prove its authentication on the blockchain.  

Some NFT collectors eventually decide to sell their cards to other buyers. Selling an NFT trading card can be done by using a variety of networks and platforms. Once a collector has purchased an NFT trading card, their information is recorded in the blockchain’s ledger as the new owner of the collectible item.

Types of NFT Trading Cards

There are many types of NFT trading cards, and new types of collectibles are minted and traded every day. Some of these trading cards are sports-based, while others embody more traditional forms of digital art. Here are three different and popular examples of NFT trading cards.  

NBA Top Shot

NBA Top Shot is an official, fully licensed NFT project associated with the National Basketball Association (NBA). Its creator, Dapper Labs, reports that as of early 2021 their merchandise was worth $230 million. Some Top Shot cards are essentially traditional sports cards represented as digital versions on a blockchain. Some Top Shot collectors buy short, pre-recorded game clips — small bits of a highlight reel, basically, featuring major stars at their best. A LeBron James highlight clip — or “moment,” as the organization calls it— recently sold for $200,000. Moment-holders own a unique NFT, but the NBA still owns the rights to the clip and everything in it — players’ contracts, designs, etc.

Candy Digital

Candy Digital is the official NFT platform of Major League Baseball currently valued at $1.5 billion. Candy purchases are denominated in and powered by fiat currency. Users of the platform pay with credit cards but cryptocurrency payment options are also available.The site currently offers over nine-figures worth of baseball NFTs. Official MLB NFTs come in four types: Play of the Day, MLB Icon packs, 2021 World Series collection, and Team Candy Digital Jersey. 

Curio Cards

Curio Cards is “an online art show and permanent gallery” that launched in 2017, according to their website. Curio Cards were the first piece of digital art launched on the Ethereum blockchain. Curio Cards offers a set of 30 cards by 7 different artists. Each of these cards is highly symbolic: different paintings represent artistic possibility, the Fall of Man (a classical painting theme), and self-described ironic “Bitcoin propaganda,” among other themes. Creators have minted tens of thousands of cards, a small portion of which were lost or destroyed to make the remaining items potentially more valuable. 

Parallel Alpha

Parallel Alpha is a trading card series backed by detailed lore revolving around humanity leaving Earth to establish several different colonies on different planets. The population of each colony has evolved into its own race (or parallel) of humanity in the time since leaving Earth. Parallel players can collect cards within each parallel to create a deck for use in a mobile game that is currently still in development. Each deck must contain 40 cards in order to play the mobile game and collectors can purchase pack drops with MoonPay or any other Ethereum wallet. The Parallel Alpha team is also developing its own wallet platform called Paradox, which is still in its beta phase.


NFT trading cards have proven lucrative both for startup dealers and established brands. No one knows what other sorts of creative NFT trading cards will be minted in the future, but one thing is certain: creators will continue developing novel cards. 

Trading Cards with FTX

Ready to explore and collect NFT trading cards? FTX is here to help with a platform that makes buying and trading easy. Whether a collector is brand new to the world of NFTs or experienced in traditional collectibles markets, FTX has the tools they need. Visit the FTX marketplace today and browse the FTX blog for more information on all things cryptocurrencies, collectibles, and NFTs.


Buy your first crypto in less than 3 minutes

Get started