If you have an old collection of baseball cards, basketball cards, or other collectible cards, you may be in the unique opportunity to turn those cards into collateral for a loan using the cryptocurrency ecosystem.
Alt features a unique offering to store and insure physical cards, track your trading card collection, buy and sell cards, and take out a loan using your cards’ value. Keep reading to learn more about how Alt works and if it could make sense for you.
Alt is an innovative company that brings together distributed finance (DeFi) technology and old-fashioned trading cards. Focused mainly on sports cards with some support for Pokemon cards, Alt helps you track, store, and insure your card collection. It also offers an open marketplace where users can list cards for sale or buy cards from other users.
Unlike eBay, Alt takes physical possession of cards listed on its marketplace. It only accepts graded cards into “The Vault,” its in-house storage system. Items sent to The Vault are professionally photographed and added to your card portfolio. Alt also offers an NFT program called ALT Mint.
In all, it’s a neat set of features that modernize collecting. Here’s a deeper dive into the core Alt features to know about.
Here's the key features of Alt.
The Vault is a physical card storage product from Alt. When you send a card to The Vault, it is professionally photographed and stored in a secure location where it’s protected by an insurance policy.
Most cards require a one-time $5 fee. Alt charges no ongoing costs or fees for storage. There’s currently a limited-time offer where fees are waived for some rare and high-value cards.
To qualify for The Vault, cards must be graded and authenticated by one of three reputable agencies: PSA, Beckett, or SGC. These grades verify the card’s condition and authenticity. You can withdraw from The Vault at any time for a fee. Otherwise, it remains protected and visible in your online card portfolio.
Alt offers a free portfolio management service where you can track and manage your collection online. Cards sent to The Vault are added to your portfolio automatically. You can also add cards using an Alt account to track the rest of your collection. However, only cards in The Vault are eligible for the features listed below.
Cards in portfolios only are not protected by insurance or eligible for listing in the marketplace. However, this is a useful feature to track the value of your beloved collection for free.
The official Alt marketplace enables users to buy and sell cards stored in The Vault. Because they are in The Vault, you know they’re safely locked away in protective storage and the condition listed is accurate. Again, it’s better than eBay and other online peer-to-peer marketplaces, as Alt verifies the cards when going into The Vault.
Buying on Alt is free while sellers pay a modest fee. Ownership transfers instantly and the card remains in The Vault unless you request a withdrawal. As of this writing, cards on the Exchange are listed for prices from $4 to $1.6 million.
Alt uses Circle and USDC as part of the payment processing system.
Alt Advance (Loans)
The Alt Advance product enables turning cards into liquidity without selling. Alt allows customers to borrow up to 40% of your portfolio value for up to 12 months. Interest rates are 9% or higher and customers pay a 1% origination fee.
All assets must be professionally graded and stored in the Alt Vault to be eligible for use as loan collateral. The cost is higher than a mortgage but lower than many credit cards and personal loans. Read the terms carefully to understand what happens if you don’t pay.
Alt Mint is an NFT product where you can buy and sell unopened packs of cards and NFT representations of cards in The Vault. You can find a listing of existing cards and unrevealed packs here on OpenSea.
As with other cards in The Vault, Alt Mint NFTs are backed by a physical card you can request to be sent to you in exchange for burning the NFT. Using a connected Web3 wallet, logged-in users can mint new NFTs from cards in their Vault, making them a sellable NFT asset.
Alt Pricing And Fees
Alt portfolios are free to use. For The Vault, you’ll pay a $5 one-time fee when sending in new cards. There are no ongoing fees.
If you buy a card, it’s added to your Vault and you don’t pay any added fee. Sellers pay 2.5% of the total sale price. If you enter a card into a liquid auction, you’ll pay 8% of the card’s market value.
Taking a card out of The Vault requires a fee of 1% of the card’s value, as determined by Alt, up to $30 per card. You can outtake up to 25 cards at a time.
The easiest way to reach Alt for support is via email. There’s a shortcut to email support from most areas of the website, and you can find a list of questions and answers in a robust help section.
Phone and live chat support are not available.
The Bottom Line
Alt is a good example of what the future of NFTs may look like. Adding digital and physical features to a single product enables trust and an actually useful product. Trading card collectors with a love of digital assets should definitely check out Alt.
Eric Rosenberg is a financial writer, speaker, and consultant based in Ventura, California. He holds an undergraduate finance degree from the University of Colorado and an MBA in finance from the University of Denver. After working as a bank manager and then nearly a decade in corporate finance and accounting, Eric left the corporate world for full-time online self-employment. His work has been featured in online publications including Business Insider, Nerdwallet, Investopedia, The Balance, HuffPo, Investor Junkie, and other fine financial blogs and publications. When away from the computer, he enjoys spending time with his wife and three children, traveling the world, and tinkering with technology. Connect with him and learn more at EricRosenberg.com.