Soccer Icon Pelé Becomes Latest Sports Star to Enter NFT Craze

The Pelé NFTs are launching on Ethernity Chain, which also has deals with baseball star Fernando Tatis Jr. and others.

AccessTimeIconApr 16, 2021 at 6:04 p.m. UTC
Updated May 9, 2023 at 3:18 a.m. UTC

International soccer superstar Pelé is the latest celebrity to enter the non-fungible token (NFT) space, launching his first NFT on May 2 with Ethernity Chain, the platform announced Friday.

The collection, created by artists Kingsletter and Visual Lab, has been months in the making and is the first to feature Pelé trading cards released digitally. The two artists are also working with Ethernity on additional collections. 

“We are focused on building the biggest NFT collectible library ever,” Nick Rose Ntertsas, the CEO and founder of Ethernity, told CoinDesk via Telegram. “Pelé is a very important milestone for us. He’s the biggest soccer player of all time.”

Ethernity is among a number of platforms rushing to capitalize on this year’s NFT craze. The site has taken a strong sports bent in recent months, announcing projects with Major League Baseball star Fernando Tatis Jr., boxing legend Muhammad Ali and others.

Pelé, who is widely considered to be the greatest soccer player in history, was jointly awarded FIFA’s Player of the Century Award along with Argentina’s Diego Maradona in 2000. Pelé won three World Cup titles with the Brazilian national soccer team and is still its top goal scorer after his retirement in 1977. 

Physical Pelé trading cards are among the most valuable in the world, with vintage cards listed at six figures on eBay. A mint condition Pelé rookie card from 1958 sold at auction for $288,000 in November. 

Ethernity’s Ethereum-based platform, which launched this week, generated $750,000 in NFT sales on Monday, according to Ntertsas. For Pelé’s collection, 90% of the proceeds will go to his namesake foundation, which focuses on efforts that empower children worldwide, particularly around alleviating poverty and providing access to education.

Pelé’s upcoming NFT is the first of a series for the soccer star. “The plan is to be dropping his sports collectibles twice a year,” said Ntertsas. “We have a vast amount of soccer players signed.”


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