Much of the Olympic fanfare aside from the competition itself will be different in Tokyo this summer.
One tradition expected to go by wayside: pin trading.
Every two years, spectators from across the globe travel to a host city and trade the thousands of pins produced by stakeholders in the Games. For some fans, it's a big deal.
But the COVID-19 restrictions outlined in the organizing committee's "playbook," along with foreign spectators prohibited from attending this year, would make the swapping of pins nearly impossible.
Coincidentally, the International Olympic Committee had been in partnership with nWay, a video game developer and subsidiary of Animoca Brands. nWay will follow Nintendo as the IOC's video game partner following the Tokyo Games, nWay CEO Taehoon Kim told USA TODAY Sports on Tuesday.
But in this case, the IOC saw an opportunity to use nWay's experience in developing non-fungible tokens (NFTs) to create another aspect of fan engagement – and potentially revive a thought-to-be casualty of a global pandemic.
Not even pins can outlast the digital age.
NFT pins, officially licensed intellectual property of the IOC and produced by nWay, will become available June 17.
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