NBA NFT booming! NBA Top Shot had passed a million registered users

Dapper Labs’ NFT platform NBA Top Shot has notched over $700 million in total sales in less than a year. NBA and its player’s union (NBPA) launched a partnership with a blockchain company Dapper Labs. The result was a digital platform called NBA Top Shot. The leader of the evolution of the sports collectible area. It seems that we are going to see and hear about the NBA NFT more and more often.

Continue reading if you want to know more.

NBA Top Shot is a blockchain-based platform that allows fans to buy, sell, and trade numbered versions of specific and officially licensed video highlights and other digital assets. 

NBA NFT

Caty Tedman, head of partnerships at Dapper Labs, explained in her own words what Top Shot is and how it works: “NBA Top Shot is a next-generation collector experience. It’s a way to really take part in the economy of basketball and it’s a way to collect your favorite players, their greatest plays and build a community around them. We have almost half a million people in the Discord channel just talking about basketball together every day now, so it’s a basketball community of collectors.

“It brings the hard in your hands experience online, so it makes it more global and it makes it an opportunity to have a much wider audience that you’re playing with, collecting with and buying, selling and trading with. What the blockchain elements bring to it is the ability to truly own those assets in a digital space. In the same way you feel like you can tangibly hold your physical cards, you truly own your Top Shots in a digital space.”

Misconceptions ? Well yes, indeed. 

Top Shot has become popular and this goes hand in hand with confusions and misconceptions. Tedman also summarized the misconceptions people might have about the platform. What ownership of a digital collectible actually means. According to Katy is the first misconception regarding owning an asset. People think that what they own is just a highlight. But in fact, the thing they own is really so much more than that. It’s highlights that are smashed together with a ton of data. They put so much data on the chain having to do with that moment in time, how the team is performing, how the player is performing. So they pull all of that together in a great package and they put that on the chain. So it’s really not owning a highlight, it’s owning a collectible.

She explains what actually an ownership of a digital collectible means. The second misconception is concerning the fact that the people don’t own that highlight that they watch. They don’t have any rights to commercialise it in the way that they can sell it to somebody else in its entirety. So the really big difference is that true ownership piece.

The NBA Top Shot platform building up

Katy Tedman described closer how Dapper Labs started building the Top Shot platform from the perspective of a fan. Dapper Labs set out to create something that users would love and want to come back to instead of setting business-oriented goals. This approach would deliver success in the long run.

The NBA Top Shot combines things that fans love because the creators tried to build something that fans would love and would like to get back to. Tedman said:

“We didn’t have any revenue targets when we launched Top Shot into the closed beta. We wanted to build something that’s really sticky, that people will want to come back to every day and feels endemic to basketball fandom. I think we did that. We started from a fan perspective, so it was hard for fans not to love it. We’re fans and we love it.”

That fan-led process also continued throughout the early stages of the platform. Tadman said that they had the whole team in June on Discord chatting to the beta testers. They were trying to gather as much feedback as possible. That time it was a lot easier to find fans who were not crypto-knowledgeable, she said.

We wanted to build something that’s really sticky, that people will want to come back to every day and feels endemic to basketball fandom.”

Top Shot is designed to be a digitally improved experience of collecting

Katy said that the opening of the packs and seeing what moments we got is really fun. As well as going to the marketplace and seeing what else you can trade is fun either. People have made friends on the platform, which gives the project a really pleasant added value. 

Katy Tedman compares this to the years between 2007, 2008 where people were making real-life friends on Twitter, At the time when Twitter was still really young. As a product it was still quite unstable but it kind of changed the way we were communicating. It feels the same now as the fans are changing the way they are communicating and changing the relationship they have with sports.

Pairing NFTs with real-life experiences

Whatever shape the digital collectibles may take going forward, there appears to be growing interest around opportunities to pair NFTs with physical experiences. For example The Golden State Warriors, announced recently that some of the items are available in their first digital collectibles offering and will also come with live experiences.

Tedman claimed  that NFTs as access is a really exciting use study. But she cautioned that there is still some polysemy around value when tying a digital collectible to something in the physical space.

Katy claimed that it is very confusing the value of those two things separately. She also adds that if we look at projects that say, ‘here’s the total cost’, and we get a physical item and we also get an NFT, it always begs the question is that the cost of the physical item and then the NFT is thrown in? Is it the cost of the NFT and the physical item is a throw in? She also thinks that there´s some confusion at this point in the industry that the physical IRL components bring to the table. But unlocking experiences is a great way to think about it and unlocking the ability to have access.

“One of the things that we look at for Top Shot – and I think people who are starting to join the queues now for pack drops are seeing – is that we want to also reward people for being collectors, and for putting together really interesting collections. We do showcase challenges to reward people who have put together interesting storylines around their collectibles. We may not let you into a pack drop if you haven’t held a moment for a certain amount of time, because it’s a leading indicator of your continued participation in the community.” Katy said. 

Bringing NFTs to other sports

Tedman accented that Dapper Labs talked to the NBA three years ago for the very first time. Now that the NFT space appears to be growing and booming she said that the main difference when talking to brands is that they want to make both smart decisions but also enter the space very quickly. 

According to the success of Top Shot we would expect that other leagues would explore how to launch their own NFT collections shortly. Tedman, though, said that anyone looking to get into this sphere should take the time to understand what their fans want and expect from digital collectibles.

I think that there is a world in which both physical trading cards and digital assets can live side by side and can both be valuable.”

The popularity of Top Shot played a significant part in helping Dapper Labs to secure an additional $305 million in funding at the end of March with no doubt. It gives the company a reported valuation of $2.6 billion. Dapper Labs said it is planning to use the injection of capital to expand into other sports. Gaming and entertainment without excepcion. 

Last year, Dapper Labs unveiled plans to develop a Top Shot-style digital collectibles series for UFC.  Could NFTs come to soccer? A sport which could pose a few more complications given the number of different rights holders.  

Katy answered: 

“I have quite a spreadsheet which is a matrix of rights ownership in soccer. What I hope we see is a global football market arise, where whether I’m a fan of Juventus, Real Madrid or Paris Saint-Germain I can go in and I can look at my moments next to other league moments, next to other club moments. I think that there is the possibility to have a framework where all of those things live in a place where you can then cross reference them, and I hope that happens in North America, too.”

News AND future plans of NBA Top Shot

Dapper Labs CEO Roham Gharegozlou said that the NBA Top Shot NFT app had passed a million registered users. Not all are yet paying users but half have purchased something so far.

The revenues are approaching $700 million. The bulk of that figure is in player-to-player transactions as opposed to directly buying from the app in ‘drops’. While a small number of NFTs trade for more than $100,000.  

Gharegozlou said the daily credit card spend is still low. Most are using cryptocurrencies to make purchases.

150 – 250,000 fans use the app on a daily basis, and unsurprisingly the user base is quite U.S. centric.

Gharegozlou couldn´t be more pleased having the NBA as its first partner. The NBA was described as “Super forward thinking, willing to think outside the box and do something creative,” said the Dapper CEO, “And they let us go big, they didn’t say just do one drop,” 

Gharegozlou claimed that “the vetting of who’s going to be a good partner and lean in with us was the most important factor for us in terms of working with an IP (intellectual property). The fact that it ended up being a top five global (sports) brand and the perfect intersection of sports and culture and music and fashion (meant it was) the catalyst for all those communities to hear it as opposed to just the sports world.” 

At a big picture level, Dapper Labs has no small ambition. It aims to get a crypto wallet in everybody’s pocket. 

“The number one mission is getting adoption of this technology, not by yelling crypto or whatever, but by building products people want to use,” said the Dapper Labs CEO.

The 10 most expensive NBA NFT Top Shot digital cards

10. Steph Curry assist NBA NFT, $100,000

Top sale: $74,999 (#34) – Mar 4, 2021

Significance: NBA Top Shot Debut (player’s first available moment) – Returning from injury, Steph Curry delivers a behind-the-back dime to Andrew Wiggins under the basket.

Video source: nbatopshot.com

9. James Harden 3-pointer NBA NFT, $120,000

Top sale: $39,999 (#11) – Feb 22, 2021

Significance: Challenge Reward (moment cannot be pulled from packs, only from completing challenges) – James Harden crosses over two All-NBA defenders and drains a 3-point shot as he falls to the floor.

Video source: nbatopshot.com

8. Giannis Antetokounmpo dunk NBA NFT, $123,456

Top sale: $85,000 (#34) – Feb 21, 2021 – The No. 34 serial card is significant here as it represents Antetokounmpo’s jersey number, driving values up.

Significance: NBA Top Shot Debut: The Greek Freak hurt the pride of not one, but two Pacers defenders.

Video source: nbatopshot.com

7. Vince Carter 3-pointer NBA NFT, $125,000

Top sale: $64,990 (Serial #7) – Feb 21, 2021

Significance: The last 3-point shot future basketball Hall-of-Famer Vince Carter made in his NBA career, before his retirement.

Video source: nbatopshot.com

6. Zion Williamson block NBA NFT, $145,000

Top sale: $115,000 (#28) – Mar 22, 2021

Significance: Triple badge collectible – Rookie Year, Rookie Mint, and NBA Top Shot Debut: First block of Zion Williamson’s NBA career during his rookie season in 2019.

Video source: nbatopshot.com

5. Ja Morant dunk NBA NFT, $149,999

Top sale: $49,999 (#43) – Feb 19, 2021

Significance: Triple badge collectible – Rookie Year, Rookie Mint, and NBA Top Shot Debut: Same as No. 2 on this list, but less rare as it’s limited to 49 instead of just 25.

Video source: nbatopshot.com

4. Luka Doncic dunk NBA NFT, $150,000

Top sale: $95,000 (#33) – Apr 19, 2021 –

Significance: NBA Top Shot Debut: Luka Doncic sheds two defenders as he enters the paint for a one-handed throwdown.

Video source: nbatopshot.com

3. Jayson Tatum handles NBA NFT, $222,222

Top sale: $49,999 (#23) – Feb 24, 2021

Significance: NBA Top Shot Debut: Basketball All-Star Jayson Tatum crosses over Paul George and steps back to hit a game-tying three-point shot.

Video source: nbatopshot.com

2. Ja Morant dunk NBA NFT, $240,000

Top sale: $100,000 (#8) – Feb 22, 2021

Significance: Challenge Reward (meaning the card can’t be pulled from packs) – NBA Top Shot Debut: Ja Morant posterizes a defender during his 2019 Rookie of the Year season.

Video source: nbatopshot.com

1. Iconic LeBron James dunk is most expensive at $250,000

Top sale: $210,000 (#12) – Mar 20, 2021

Significance: A special moment for Lakers fans, LeBron James’ epic reverse dunk was a tribute to one of Kobe Bryant’s famous slams.

Video source: nbatopshot.com

Read more about NFTs 

And why are NFTs important for digital artwork 

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