A new record was set this week when a nonfungible token (NFT) featuring Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland sold for more than $600,000, smashing a record that had been held by an NFT of Cristiano Ronaldo.
As one of the most coveted young players in world football, Haaland's new NFT attracted a lot of interest from people all around the world who are willing and able to shell out six-figure sums on digital soccer trading cards.
Sorare, the producers of the NFTs, even stated before the sale that it "could go down as the most expensive auction in platform history."
Sure enough, as Sunday's online auction entered the final minute, the value of the top bid almost doubled -- much to the amazement of those watching the events unfold in real time.
The winner of the auction, user Zima Blue, secured their own unique online slice of Haaland with a winning bid of 265.100 Ethereum, the cryptocurrency used to trade the cards. At that time, that converted to $687,000 (€614,000/£511,000).
Erling Haaland bought for 265.1001 ETH (678327.53$) by Zima Blue on the primary market— SorareBot by SorareData (@SorareBot) January 30, 2022
⚽ Sorare: https://t.co/Rwrqaq1A2l
📊: https://t.co/gG95GsLnYm#Sorare #NFT #Ethereum #FantasyFootball
Haaland's card is now among the most valuable digital sport items in the world, and the value of its sale was an increase of more than 70% on the previous Sorare market record. That was set in November 2021, when a similar Ronaldo NFT was sold at auction for $400,312.
That's a pretty hefty price, especially considering the image was of Ronaldo while he was still a Juventus player, despite him already being 12 matches and nine goals into his second spell at Manchester United. However, the sale was still some way short of auctioneer Bonhams' pre-sale estimate of $800,000 to $1.2 million.
Norway international Haaland can now boast that he graces the two most expensive soccer trading cards in existence, one in the digital space and the other in the old-school physical realm, as his autographed Topps Chrome "superfractor" card produced as a special one-off during his debut season at Dortmund fetched $442,800 at auction in July 2021.
But what can Zima Blue, who declared on Sorare that "i don't sell players below the price i set, i don't swap cards," actually do with their new purchase? Well, the Haaland NFT functions as a digital trading card that can be used as part of Sorare's next-gen fantasy football game.
With cards coming in three formats -- unique (1 of 1), super rare (1 of 10) and rare (1 of 100) -- the one-off Haaland collectible will now be added to the users' collection while also being made available to deploy in various competitions and cash contests.
Sorare's game is based on real-world performances with players earning between 0-100 points per game according to their positive (goals, assists, etc.) and negative (yellow/red cards, etc.) actions. There are five players on every team, and users compete each matchweek.
Having previously only had licensing agreements with three of Germany's biggest clubs (Bayern Munich, Bayer Leverkusen and Schalke), the French blockchain company struck a deal with the Bundesliga last year that granted them permission to make all players in the league available as NFTs.
But if all of that means little or nothing to you, then fear not: You can watch Haaland do what he is actually paid to do in the real world (assuming he is fit) this weekend when Dortmund host Leverkusen (Sunday, 9:30 a.m. ET on ESPN+ in the U.S.).