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What is NBA Top Shot and why is everyone on Twitter talking about it?

NBA Top Shot is a unique platform where you can buy and sell digital highlights from your favorite NBA players.

what is nba top shot
Image: NBA Top Shot

If you’ve been on Twitter recently, you’ve certainly seen people talking about “NBA Top Shot.” Top Shot is a blockchain-based collectible highlight website.

Top Shot has been around since 2019, but the website was only launched in beta form in October 2020. Since then, Top Shot has recorded over $250 million in sales, according to CryptoSlam.

A recent NBA Top Shot highlight featuring Los Angeles Lakers’ superstar LeBron James became the highest-selling highlight on the platform. The highlight, which was a poster dunk over a couple of unfortunate individuals, sold for a whopping $208,000.

That’s not even the most expensive highlight listed on the website. A huge block from the human highlight reel Zion Williamson is currently listed at $250,000!

So it seems that Top Shot is currently booming. But what is it that makes these highlights so desirable? Hopefully, we can clear that up a little bit.

So what exactly is Top Shot?

As mentioned above, NBA Top Shot is a collectible highlight system, relatively similar to trading cards. The highlights are released originally in packs. Users may buy a pack and receive a highlight that is only being produced a certain number of times. This creates demand, allowing users to claim ownership of limited edition highlights.

But what exactly makes a Top Shot highlight valuable? Like any collectible, scarcity is what drives the price. The NBA releases packs on a limited basis, as well as in different rarities. Currently, there are three different tiers of packs that get released.

The first is a “Common” pack which is sold for around $9 and contains cards that have no restrictions on production. However, the best pack that you can buy is called a “Legendary” pack. This pack sells for $230 and includes 3 highlights with a maximum production of 999, as well as one highlight, dubbed a “legendary moment,” with a maximum of 99. By limiting the number of highlights released, demand for these legendary moments skyrockets, just like in the trading card world.

Basically, the NBA is using blockchain technology to recreate the trading card market in digital form. Users can buy and sell directly on the website, and availability is directly determined by the NBA. This type of control over production will help these highlights maintain value.

How does blockchain affect the Top Shot market?

nba top shot example
Image: KnowTechie

So how exactly does Top Shot tie into blockchain technology? I’ll save you all from my poor explanation of the technology. CoinBase has a great article here that goes in-depth about blockchain and how it is used. However, this still doesn’t quite explain how Top Shot uses this technology in its highlight trading.

The NBA teamed up with Dapper Labs, a Canadian-based company that specializes in blockchain. The role of blockchain in Top Shot is fairly simple. Blockchain technology ensures that Top Shot highlights are encrypted and impossible to hack. This ensures that when you purchase a highlight, that specific highlight is yours and cannot be duplicated or recreated in any way.

This is a very important aspect of the Top Shot business plan. While the highlights are relatively unique, there’s nothing really stopping someone from recreating the clip, at least at a basic level. However, by utilizing blockchain, the NBA ensures that each highlight you own has a specific key that cannot be reproduced, ensuring that your highlight remains yours and yours alone.

Is there money to be made?

nba top shot zion williamson price
Image: KnowTechie

There is certainly some money to be made with NBA Top Shot. Many people may argue that it is silly to spend money on highlights that can be watched for free online. That may be a valid argument, but it is one that collectors will rarely listen to. By that same logic, counterfeit trading cards, as well as art or any other collectible, would have the same value as the originals. We know this is not the case, so it would seem that Top Shot will have the same results. In fact, in a recent blog post, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban stated:

“Some people might complain that I can get the same video on the internet anywhere any time and watch it. Well guess what, I can get the same picture of any traditional, physical card on the internet and print it out, and that doesn’t change the value of the card.”

One of the most outspoken members of the NBA community, Mark Cuban is a well-known investor and seems to know what to do with his money. With Cuban having faith in Top Shot, the brand should have no problem sticking around for some time.

Top Shot is still very new

That being said, the market for Top Shot highlights is very new. Due to this, prices are probably pretty inflated right now. Due to all of the hype from social media, as well as the very limited release of highlight packs, prices on the platform are very high. The cheapest highlight on the platform is $16, and with an original cost of around $1, those kinds of profit margins can’t be expected to last for too long.

As more and more highlight packs are dropped on the website, prices will slowly go down. While this means that there probably is still time to get in on the excitement, it is a careful and dangerous game to play. Much like investing in anything, it can be tough to know when to hold on to something versus when to sell. However, if you are lucky enough to get your hands on a new pack from Top Shot, there’s almost certainly a profit to be made.

So this is what everyone has been talking about on social media. NBA Top Shot is a unique system where you can buy and sell unique digital highlights from your favorite NBA players. This exciting new platform is still very new, and users have a chance to get in early in this new adaptation of trading cards. It will be interesting to see where this idea goes in the future. I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw more sports leagues adopt a similar platform in the near future.

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