Maple Leafs’ Auston Matthews teases first NFT collection ahead of launch

Watch as Sportsnet's Kyle Bukauskas is joined by Auston Matthews following his three-goal performance in a 6-5 Maple Leafs victory over the Ottawa Senators.

Auston Matthews is getting into the non-fungible token (NFT) space with the launch of his first digital art collection on April 14.

The Toronto Maple Leafs star teased the launch on Twitter, writing “stay tuned for more.”

NFT is an umbrella term for any asset that has been verified using blockchain technology, a record keeping method in which a network of computers gives buyers proof of authenticity and ownership by recording transactions. The basic purpose of NFTs is to permanently connect a digital file to its creator, giving artists a way to transform digital work that could have been endlessly copied into something unique, making it sellable.

When someone purchases an NFT, what they are effectively receiving is the knowledge they own the official version of a virtual thing. A simple way to conceptualize this, using physical art as an example, is that anyone can buy a Monet print but only one person can own the original at a time.

According to Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston, Matthews’ NFT auction will “include value-added items (and) experiences along with the limited edition tokens.”

Matthews is following in the footsteps of Calgary Flames star Matthew Tkachuk, who launched an NFT auction in late March. His auction included an exclusive digital art piece, an autographed game-used stick, an autographed jersey and a post-game or virtual meet and greet with Tkachuk. The winning bid was valued at $27,954 with all proceeds going to two children’s hospital charities.

“It was an exciting opportunity, and for me to be able to pair it up with a charitable cause as well, in two charities and two hospitals — the Alberta Children’s and St. Louis Children’s — it was a no brainer for me to get involved,” Tkachuk said in a video interview with Sportsnet’s Ryan Leslie posted to his social channels.

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