Time to dust off that shoebox filled with Pokémon cards. They could be worth something — just ask viral media sensation Logan Paul.
25 years after Pokémon debuted as tiny animated “pocket monsters'' for Ninetendo’s Game Boy, the Japanese trading cards are red hot. Already this year, a collector paid more than $300,000 for a vintage Charizard card. A rare Blastoise card sold for $360,000. A quick search on eBay will yield a trove of cards being auctioned for upwards of $500,000, and some are even listed for seven figures.
Paul, a YouTube star who was still in diapers when Pokémon was born, is not surprised by the spike in Pokemania. But he’s not just in on the sudden interest; he takes credit for partly fueling it.
“I don't think I caused it, per se. But I would definitely consider myself an amplifier,” he said during an interview for Yahoo Finance Presents. “If anything, I just highlighted how cool Pokémon was.”
Last October, the controversial content creator sat down — with cameras rolling — to open a $200,000 box of first edition cards. The YouTube video, which raised money for mental illness, went gangbusters, with 11 million views and counting.
‘I got addicted’
Never one to do anything lightly, Paul went on to buy a staggering $2 million worth of cards.
“I got addicted. I got obsessed. So you could not get me off of eBay, like scrolling on a card,” he explained.
“It really did capture a piece of my childhood. And so when I grew up and got some money— and I found out that the trading cards are like this cool collectible that is also an appreciating asset, I got interested,” the social media star said.
Paul is also interested in another raging trend: Non-fungible tokens (NFT). The unique digital assets are part of a blockchain and usually bought — for bragging rights — with cryptocurrency, a la a trading card for the digital age.
Earlier this year, Paul created a Pokémon NFT, featuring a hologram of himself.
“It spun me into this weird world where I was able to combine three things that really are the holy trinity that fulfill me,” he said, explaining that trinity as passion, business and content creation.
“When I can tell a really, really compelling story and get people on board and convince them that's something I think is cool is cool— triple win for me. I'm in. Pokémon has my heart,” he added.
When I find myself taking an interest in something, I kind of lean into it. And it's working thus far.Logan Paul
Pokémon also has the left side of his stomach. In 2018, Paul got his first — and only — tattoo: The blue bipedal turtle named Squirtle.
“I played all the games growing up. I was addicted to it. You couldn't get me off Pokémon,” he recalled. “They were my little pet friends, and we'd go to battle and raise them to level 100 and fight my friends. And it was awesome.”
In addition to monetizing with Pokémon and NFT’s, Paul — who has nearly 23 million subscribers on YouTube and 20 million followers on Instagram — is building a business beyond stunt videos and dangerous challenges.
Paul recently partnered with Dave Portnoy and Barstool, started a podcast, and is gearing up to box Floyd Mayweather. He is tapping into his entrepreneurial spirit, working on passion projects — and he just turned 26.
“When I find myself taking an interest in something, I kind of lean into it. And it's working thus far.”