Taylor Rapp # 24 of the Los Angeles Rams warms up before a team scrimmage at SoFi Stadium on August 29, 2020 in Inglewood, California.
Sean M. Haffey | Getty Images
Los Angeles Rams Safety Taylor Rapp joins the boom in non-fungible tokens and donates proceeds to help Asian communities affected by recent violence.
Rapp will launch six digital collections on Thursday and auction a total of 90 NFTs, including one that includes tickets to a National Football League game and a player meet and greet. The NFTs will appear on the OpenSea marketplace where other athletes like Rob Gronkowski have collections.
In an interview with CNBC on Tuesday, the Asian-American rapper said he would donate a percentage of the funds to the #StopAsianHate GoFundMe campaign to help the community of Asian Americans and Pacific islanders. The site has raised over $ 4 million to help tackle recent hate crimes.
“I’m an Asian-American and this community means a lot to me,” said Rapp. “I wanted to help my people and what better way to raise money to donate than to create an NFT collection and use my platform.”
Rapp joins a growing group of Asian-American athletes who support their community after a string of attacks, including mass shootings in Georgia. Rapp said he had seen violence against Asian-American groups increase since the pandemic began early last year.
“I felt that it was my responsibility to go outside and do what I can with my platform and my name to help my community and raise awareness of what was happening”, he said.
Rapp determines what percentage of the money should be donated after the auction, which ends on Sunday. He assumes that a “large part” will flow into the fund. Rapp said the collection celebrates its Asian heritage and includes the ox zodiac sign, which represents the 2021 Chinese calendar. That’s why he named the set: Taylor Rapp Year of the Ox NFT Collection.
Investors and collectors have poured money into NFTs this year to fuel interest in crypto-related assets. In sports, the mania began with the National Basketball Association partnering with Dapper Laps to create digital works of art. Dapper said Tuesday it raised over $ 300 million and the company is worth $ 2.6 billion, according to USA Today.
The collectibles are based on blockchain technology, a digital ledger that creates a unique ID for each asset. Rapp’s collection will be connected to the Ethereum blockchain.
Along with Gronkowski’s collection, which sold for over $ 1 million, Kansas City Chiefs star quarterback Patrick Mahomes also launched an NFT set. Rapp described NFTs as “a cool and innovative way to get in touch with fans”.
“I think the NFTs are here to stay and they will eventually adopt sports trading cards,” he said. “I wouldn’t be surprised in the next three to four years if every player had their own NFT collection.”
Rapp admitted that he is still learning the cryptocurrency space and owning bitcoin. He’s also become more involved in real estate after buying his first home in Washington.
With the Rams, Rapp has put an injury-ridden campaign behind him for 2020. After Rapp had completed 100 combined tackles in 15 games in his rookie year, he appeared in nine games last season and recorded 44 tackles and one interception.
He said “durability” will be vital for 2021 and “just making sure I stay as healthy as possible because you won’t get on the football field if you’re injured.”
A 2019 second-round hit, Rapp will make roughly $ 919,000 for the 2021 season if he stays on the Rams’ list.
SEE: The Rise of the NFTs and Why People Accumulate Moments and Assets differently now