If you’re not an avid sports fan, you may think sports trading cards are a niche hobby.
It’s actually a booming market estimated at $5.4 billion dollars if you include other sports memorabilia.
The trading and re-sale of sports cards is driven in part by PSA, the world’s largest third-party authentication company. PSA grades cards and authenticates autographs and other memorabilia to detect and prevent fraud and facilitate transactions.
Up until recently, the process of grading cards at scale was manual, inefficient, and prone to subjectivity. In April, though, PSA’s parent company, Collectors Universe, announced that it had purchased Genamint, an artificial intelligence (AI) company that built a product used to “fingerprint a card to its unique marks, detect if it was tampered with and grade it,” according to Action Network reporter Darren Rovell.
Using AI To Grow A Market
PSA plans to leverage Genamint technology to rapidly scale its operations. Earlier this year, PSA raised its prices in an attempt to lessen demand because they had trouble keeping up with the trading card boom.
Going forward, PSA will still use humans to grade cards, but the AI will assist the process and improve speed and accuracy. For instance, the AI is so advanced that it can tell if a card is trimmed or manipulated in a way that would normally avoid detection by human eyes.
As AI grows PSA’s bandwidth, the number of cards that are graded will increase. This likely will lead to more transactions and a larger overall market.