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Everything you need to know about NBA Top Shot

The future of trading cards is here and it comes in the name of NBA Top Shot.

NBA Top Shot is a blockchain-based platform that is taking the playing card market we all know to unprecedented heights. It’s basically your traditional concept of trading cards that uses the same principles or systems as cryptocurrency through NFTs or non-fungible tokens. Through its official website, NBA fans from all over the world can buy, sell and trade virtual cards that Top Shot is calling “moments”.

These moments are in-game video highlights of your favorite NBA players that are licensed by the NBA and the NBA’s Player Association through its partnership with Dapper Labs, the creator, and developer of NBA Top Shot.

The venture started in July 2019 and has since gone on a crazy upward tick, especially in the last few weeks. In the past 30 days, the platform has generated $30 million worth of sales (via DappRadar.com) including a limited edition LeBron James highlight which was purchased for a whopping $71,000 last week. Since then, the value of that LeBron James highlight has sky-rocketed to $250,000.

It’s not just The King’s highlights that are taking over the platform. Before the LeBron James highlight sold for upwards of $70,000, it was this Ja Morant dunk highlight that actually broke the market. The ultra-rare collectible (No. 1 of 49), was bought for a then-record of  $35,000. As of writing, the highest ask for that Morant highlight has matched LeBron’s $250,000.

Hold up. So how does NBA Top Shot work exactly?

The highlights being sold are from real, in-game plays in the NBA. The league still owns the license of the actual highlights but, through the Top Shot platform, fans can also own a limited edition version of the said highlight that’s in a form of a virtual card/video. Depending on the rarity, uniqueness of the moment, and the stock of the NBA player, the platform will categorize these collectibles and virtually valuate them as Common, Rare, or Legendary. This is also where serial numbers of each moment come into play. Once categorized, these highlights are sold in packs that range from $9 to $230 which contain multiple sets of highlights. If you’re lucky, you could end up with a six-figure value highlight in one of your pack purchases.

These pack drops though are a bit more elusive than it seems. Each user can only purchase one pack at a time and these packs are extremely limited. Plus, the schedule of these pack drops isn’t announced beforehand. Since the 2019-20 NBA Season, Top Shot has dropped a total of 31 packs.

If you’re able to snag a highlight (or two), you can opt to showcase them in your virtual collection or put it out for sale in the platform’s official marketplace which acts as the website’s secondary market. This is where other NBA fans can purchase individual moments that are being traded and sold by everyone in the NBA Top Shot universe. Aside from the aforementioned collectibles going for a quarter-million dollars in value, there is also a couple of Luka Doncic highlights that have a current valuation of around $90,000. A Damian Lillard, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Devin Booker highlights are also going for around $70,000 each.

Don’t be surprised if this Nikola Jokic moment which currently goes for $13, get’s a five-digit valuation if he continues his stellar run this season.

“The trading card business is worth $5-$6 billion annually,” said Roham Gharegozlou, CEO of Dapper Labs (via ACTION). “I don’t see why we can’t get to a place where this business is grossing $1 billion alone.”

With the recent growth of NBA Top Shot, Gharegozlou’s optimism isn’t without merit. Aside from the NBA and the NBPA’s backing, Dapper Labs got a hefty investment last year from NBA stars like Spencer Dinwiddie of the Brooklyn Nets, JaVale McGee of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Aaron Gordon of the Orlando Magic, Garrett Temple of the Chicago Bulls, and Andre Iguodala of the Miami Heat. Iguodala’s teammate Tyler Herro is also the Top Shot’s current poster boy.