If you follow the NBA at all, or even know somebody who does, chances are you’ve heard of NBA Top Shot in the past few weeks. It is the single-biggest phenomenon in league circles, and both casual and hardcore fans are getting into it, as well as NBA players, crypto experts and collectors of all stripes.
So, you’ve heard of it. But what is it?
What you need to know about NBA Top Shot
NBA Top Shot is provided by an online company called Dapper that produces serialized highlights called “Moments”. These are digital collectibles that can be traded on a proprietary online marketplace. Trading cards are perhaps the best current comp in the sports collectibles space, but not all cards are serialized which makes proving scarcity a challenge.
Moments can be purchased in Top Shot’s marketplace either by themselves or if you’re lucky enough to buy a pack during a drop, you can purchase them that way. These packs come in a variety of formats, as follows:
- Common (range from $9 to $14, but more rare recently due to demand)
- Rare (listed most recently for $199)
- Legendary (listed most recently for $999)
- Platinum Ultimate (3 digital copies; available only through auction)
- Genesis Ultimate (1 digital copy; available only through auction)
NBA Top Shot is licensed by the NBA and takes a cut of the profits, which Dapper makes from pack sales and transaction fees.
As it surges in popularity and demand, it’s becoming a challenge to even get in line for a pack. With hundreds of thousands of active users, common packs are becoming harder to score. Over the weekend, there were three separate drops and scores were turned away from the opportunity to purchase one of 61,000 common packs for $14.
On Sunday, there was a rare pack drop and well over 100,000 users turned out to purchase one of 31,000 packs for $199.
Dapper has had to scale its services as they’ve grown in popularity. The marketplace is intermittently taken offline in order to clear transaction backlogs, and at times the ability for new users to sign up is suspended. In order to whittle down the eligible users for the rare drop on Sunday, only users with purchased Moments in their account were able to queue for the pack, but so many users flocked to purchase Moments to make themselves eligible that Dapper had to take the marketplace offline.
There are certainly growing pains, but the lure of scoring a high-value moment from a pack is great. If you have some free time, a little disposable income and plenty of patience, you may find that NBA Top Shot is worth a splash.
You never know if you may get the next LaMelo Ball Moment in a Rising Stars pack.
Edited for clarity regarding pack types