Want to own some of the greatest moments in NBA History? Coming soon…
Our portfolio company Dapper Labs, along with the NBA and the NBPA, today announced NBA Top Shot, a first-of-its-kind digital collectible platform. When Dapper pioneered cryptocollectibles with CryptoKitties back in 2017, many of us dreamed of a new era of collectibles—digital this time—made possible by blockchains and cryptocurrencies. This is one of the first attempts to take a global, mass-market set of IP, catapult off the mega enthusiasm for basketball, and develop an entire ecosystem around a cryptocollectible.
Why focus on basketball? Well, it is massive. At more than $6B a year, it is the number three global sport by revenue. And with more than 825M global fans, it is the number seven most popular sport in the world, and climbing. Most of its growth is coming from outside the US, for both players and fans. Also, the NBA is tech savvy and an early adopter of new technologies.
Just like real-world collectibles, NBA Top Shot will offer consumers a chance to own and trade assets and experiences which are guaranteed limited edition and authentic. But unlike real-world collectibles, these will be portable—they can be used in many different online experiences and games, not just those offered by Dapper and the NBA.
NBA Top Shot will feature a social experience built around digital collectibles as well as a complementary head-to-head game designed to create a fun, authentic and accessible fan engagement on blockchain. Like other sports games or fantasy brackets, fans who play the game are tasked with creating their ideal squad, but in this game, their rosters are built by acquiring live in-game moments from the NBA season. These moments, such as a Kevin Durant 3-point shot, or Joel Embiid dunk, which are acquired as digital collectibles or tokens, can then be either owned forever or used to compete against other players in online tournaments and leagues on-chain.
Trading cards have been popular for decades, but many of those are built simply off players. Top Shot is more about collecting key moments from games. Moments refresh frequently, as the season is played, and are not limited only to the great moments in NBA history. You can imagine all sorts of interesting game mechanics built around your collection of moments, beyond simple fantasy basketball.
Unlike many projects in crypto, however, both Dapper and the NBA/NBPA have their sights set on mainstream consumers with this platform, not just the crypto believers. The team is working with NBA fans to create an experience that is highly relevant to basketball culture. As I discussed in my previous post on cryptocollectibles, collecting is an activity native to humanity.
Why? What is the fascination with collectibles? From Cracker Jack toys to marbles to antique books to Pokemon cards, we collect! Mark McKinley, a psychology professor, describes many motivations for collecting: investment, pure enjoyment, expanding our social circles, preserving the past, the quest itself, a means of distinction, and even in order to classify the world. For whatever the reason, it is something we do.
We are excited to see how Dapper and the NBA/NBPA bridge the physical and digital worlds and simultaneously tap into an individual’s motivation to collect.
In the fall, you will be able to start to purchase some of these digital collectibles. And then the game will go live in early 2020. Check it out at www.nbatopshot.com.