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NBA Top Shot: The Future of Collectibles

Collectors and resellers are always looking for the next big thing to be a part of. Sneakers and cards have been the wave over the past couple of years with the latter taking over since the beginning of the pandemic. More recently, however, a new form of collecting has taken over. Fans of basketball, investors in the digital space, and collectors alike have all found their new hobby: NBA Top Shot.

So what is NBA Top Shot exactly?

Originally launched as a closed beta to an exclusive group of collectors in mid-May, it was created by Dapper Labs, a Vancouver-based blockchain company. The community continued to grow more and more throughout the summer until it became an open beta on October 1st.

NBA Top Shot allows users to build a collection of digital basketball highlights, also known as “moments.” Each moment is numbered and exclusive to the user. Two people might have the same LeBron James highlight, but both highlights are unique due to the serial number.

The only way to get these moments are through spending actual money, but there are multiple ways of acquiring moments. One is by purchasing digital packs that have random moments, similar to buying a pack of cards. Another way is buying specific moments through the marketplace. You can even trade/gift moments to other users.

As defined on the website, moments are “next level NBA collectibles that celebrate the most epic highlights from the most incredible athletes as they happen. Moments bring together on-court video, heroic action shots, game stats, and guaranteed authenticity - all in limited edition collectibles secured by the blockchain.”

Pretty much, each moment is an NFT. “But wait Gio, what’s an NFT?” Fully known as a non-fungible token, it’s a digital file whose unique identity and ownership are verified on a blockchain. It’s similar to cryptocurrencies, but the difference being NFTs are not mutually interchangeable.

Top Shot is similar to collecting sports cards except for it being digital. However, it’s exactly like sports cards in terms of demand. Just to give an example of a pack drop, a Base Set Pack dropped yesterday, costing $9. There were 150,000 people waiting for a spot in line, with only 25,000 packs available to be purchased. Everyone is randomly assigned a spot, so there’s no first come first serve. Sadly, I took the L and didn’t get a pack.

Packs vary in price from a common pack costing $9 to the most expensive pack costing $230. Could be really pricey for something you can just find on YouTube, right? Well, people are still buying in. Here are some numbers for you: As of March 2021, over 2,000,000 purchases have been made on the marketplace while over $300,000,000 have been transacted so far in beta.

A LeBron James dunk from the first pack (the pack costing $230) sold for $208,000 on February 22, making it the highest sale for a single moment. Seven of the ten top moments have been LeBron James moments, all sold for no less than six-figures.

What makes it even more credible is that NBA Top Shot is an officially licensed product of the NBA and the Players’ Association. Active players, such as Josh Hart and Tyrese Haliburton, are heavily involved and often open packs on Top Shot’s live streams. Mark Cuban, who is a huge proponent of NFTs, is all in on Top Shot.

Could this completely crash and burn and lose a lot of people a lot of money? Like all crypto, there is always the possibility of a huge crash. Could this completely revolutionize NFTs and change the game in terms of digital collectibles? It absolutely can and it’s starting to head in that direction.

Personally, I believe NBA Top Shot is going to be the future of digital collectibles and is going to pave the way for more sports to enter the realm of NFTs. For less than $10, you can turn a crazy profit if you can pull a big moment. If this is the future, you don't want to be left behind.

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