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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The trading card boom shows no signs of slowing down, and new companies are emerging to serve — and build upon — the evolving landscape.

Driving the news: Alt is a new platform set to launch on Oct. 1 that will allow investors to manage trading cards and other alternative assets similarly to the way they manage more traditional assets like stocks and bonds.

The big picture: A decade ago, Coinbase built the infrastructure needed to turn cryptocurrency into a manageable asset. Now, Alt aims to do the same for collectibles with an interface that looks a lot like what you'd see on, say, Yahoo Finance or Fidelity (i.e. recent transactions, portfolio gains/losses, etc).

How it works: At the core of the platform is Alt's proprietary "Alt Value," which allows customers to get real-time valuations on their investments — something founder Leore Avidar hopes will bring "transparency and liquidity to the space."

  • "Think of Alt Value as the Zestimate [Zillow's tool for estimating the market value of a house] of trading cards, art and other unconventional assets," Avidar tells me.
  • Instead of using eBay or another online marketplace, customers can transact directly through Alt and even insure their assets.

Between the lines: In addition to allowing customers to easily invest, research and track trading cards and other assets, Alt will also provide a "vault as a service" where customers can store them.

  • Perhaps you heard about the Giannis Antetokounmpo rookie card that sold for a record $1.81 million this week? Or the LeBron James rookie card that sold for a then-record $1.8 million in July?
  • Both cards were purchased by Alt through the company's inaugural asset fund, Alt Fund I — and both now sit in the vault.
  • "We want Alt to be known for trust and security, so we're literally saying, 'We bought the two most expensive basketball cards in the world — and yours are going to be right there next to them,'" says Avidar.

The bottom line: The modern trading card industry has created a new type of collector whose less interested in nostalgia and more interested in building a financial portfolio.

  • And since a card's value is correlated to an athlete's performance — and not the stock market — it's an attractive option for people looking to diversify.
  • Alt has arrived to serve those investors, and more companies will pop up as the world of alternative assets matures.

Go deeper

DHS resumes "public charge" wealth test for green card applicants

Presidnet Trump and Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

The Trump administration will reimpose a new wealth and health "public charge" test for green card applicants in the U.S., after the rule was previously blocked by a court injunction in July because of the coronavirus, according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website.

Why it matters: The rule could have a drastic impact on the half million or so immigrants in the U.S. who receive green cards — the first step to citizenship — each year. 69% of recent green card recipients had at least one negative public charge factor, according to the Migration Policy Institute.

Updated 13 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Bipartisan group reaches agreement on $1.2 trillion "hard" infrastructure bill

Sens. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) and Mark Warner (D-Va.) Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images.

After weeks of long nights and endless Zoom calls, a bipartisan group of senators finally reached a deal on "the major issues" in their $1.2 trillion "hard" infrastructure package, GOP senators involved in the talks announced Wednesday.

Why it matters: It could be days before the group finishes writing the bill, but the Senate can begin debating the legislation in earnest now that they have resolved the outstanding issues. The bill needs 60 votes to advance in the Senate.

After walkout, Activision Blizzard employees vow to keep fighting

Bing Guan/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Organizers of a Wednesday walkout at Activision Blizzard, the gaming company behind "Call of Duty" and "World of Warcraft," are saying the demonstration "is not a one-time event that our leaders can ignore.”

Why it matters: Within the video game industry, sweeping promises for change are often followed by a handful of half-measures that fail to solve the systematic problems that caused them.