The Olympics comes with its own set of traditions, including the collecting of commemorative pins, which are released each time the global event is held. Usually taking the form of shiny, tangible objects, this year the ritual will be performed a little differently, with a series of Olympic-themed NFTs (non-fungible-tokens).
Since the Japan 2021 Olympics will be held without visitors, the collecting of actual pins would have been nigh on impossible. So, the International Olympic Committee has been working with game production company nWay on a series of officially-licensed digital pins. These take the form of emblems, mascots, digital versions of collector's items and pictograms – and they all come with certificates of authenticity and scarcity.
If you haven't worked out what an NFT actually is, head to our post explaining what NFTs are all about and our pick of the best NFT artwork released so far.
The collection of NFTs a real journey through the history of Olympic design, spanning the wealth of design trends presented through Olympic memorabilia. They're vibrant and diverse in style so well worth a look.
They will be on sale at between $9 and $499 (according to USA Today), depending on how rare they are – and fans will also be able to sell the digital pins on the website. Added to that, a real-time Olympic video game is on the way ahead of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. The NFTs will be a part of that digital experience, too, with competitors given the chance to win digital memorabilia.
We're not sure these pins will attract the same sort of collectors as the physical items – it's hard to imagine a cohesive collection that spans physical and digital spaces. Added to that, the NFT market seems to have taken somewhat of a downward turn in the last month, with Protos reporting that sales have fallen drastically – by almost 90 per cent, in fact.
Nonetheless, a digital approach to the Olympics is going to be crucial to keep up engagement during an event with no international attendees – and Olympic super-fans might enjoy the opportunity to own new imagery, especially since they include such iconic design. Plus, the ability to win the tokens will create a sense of community, as will an online marketplace to buy and sell between fans.
Pins will be available to buy from June 17 on the nWay website or, as mentioned before, collectors can swap with each other and win tokens via the official video game. Want to make your own NFT? See our guide to how to make and sell and NFT.