NBA Team Auctioning Basketball Star’s Jersey on Ethereum Blockchain

The Sacramento Kings will auction off starting guard Buddy Hield’s game jersey from Wednesday’s game against the Dallas Mavericks using a blockchain-powered marketplace.

Working with ethereum project incubator ConsenSys, the Kings said Wednesday it would be auctioning team memorabilia live using an ethereum-based platform operated by Treum, a supply-chain product. The platform will be used to verify the provenance of athletic collectibles, with auctions running live during and after NBA games. 

The platform will help ensure all items being sold are authentic, said Tyler Mulvihill, Treum’s co-founder. 

“We’ve seen time and time again and instances of this exact problem, right? This is the jersey, [is it] real, was it game worn, how do I know?” he said. “We’re working with the Kings to solve each and every one of those problems.”

He told CoinDesk in a phone call the platform wants to heighten fan experiences, noting that a relatively small number of basketball aficionados are able to make it to games at present. 

‘We wanted to create an application that does something real right now, [that] adds enthusiasm,” said Bradley Feinstein, head of ConsenSys Business Development. Fans can “participate live in the game [and] ultimately give them this experience where they can participate with verifiable proof …[They] understand that what they are about to get is real.”

If the Buddy Hield game jersey auction is successful, here’s how future auctions will work: During home games, Kings fans can bid on gear worn by players on the team. Each auction would run from right before tip-off to 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time, with all items authenticated and recorded on Treum. A digital token that will contain data detailing the game, season, player and timestamp will represent proof-of-ownership for items, and will be held by the item’s owner.

Proceeds from auctioning Hield’s jersey will benefit the victims of 2019’s Hurricane Dorian while proceeds from future auctions will generally go to the Sacramento Kings Foundation.

Kings Chief Technology Officer Ryan Montoya told CoinDesk the move is only the Kings’ latest foray into blockchain, noting that the team has accepted bitcoin since 2014 and offers other blockchain-based fan experience products. 

Calling ConsenSys the “Andreessen Horowitz of crypto,” Montoya said the new auction platform “is going to transform businesses, economy.”

“We just want to be a part of it and share this with our fans,” he said.

The NBA is strictly overseeing memorabilia from its teams, said Ian Wheat, the team’s director of innovation and esports. The Kings chose to use a blockchain as part of an effort to promote transparency around how the items entered the market and help verify authenticity in secondary markets.

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