These are not your childhood sports trading cards. In a fast-paced market looking for the next Bitcoin, an unlikely pairing between a small blockchain development firm and one of the world’s most marketable leagues has changed the trading card world forever.
My son is fast asleep upstairs, my wife is watching the Bachelor, a silence falls over our home. I sit alone in the kitchen, lit only by the glow of my monitor as I count the seconds until the clock strikes 9:00 pm. Sitting, waiting, refreshing my browser. At the strike of 9:00, I frantically confirm that I am not a robot, I check all boxes in which a crosswalk appears. Now staring at a loading screen I wait with bated breath. I fist pump in silence – I am officially one of twenty thousand users waiting in the queue ready to make a purchase.
What covets such a fast trigger finger? Front row tickets to a concert? Nope. A limited-edition sneaker drop? Not likely. Courtside seats? Getting warmer…This punctual click-fest is for an opportunity to buy a pack of trading cards, or ‘moment’ from NBA Top Shot.
Launched in late 2020, NBA Top Shot is a platform that allows users to purchase ‘Moments’, aka highlights, of the game’s biggest stars. Each Moment is individually minted and held in safekeeping in your personal collection online. There is no physical representation of a ‘Moment’, but it can be viewed at any time and anywhere the owner chooses. Think of it as an NBA version of Spotify – a streaming service of highlights rather than your favorite songs. The first question everyone always asks: why pay for something that is available for free every morning on SportsCenter or on YouTube? For the same reason that you collected cards as a kid. No matter the sport, unpacking your favorite player, trading with your friends, or taping throw-away cards to your bike spokes, it is a tangible representation of sport and competition. Though the cards are now digital the excitement remains the same.
What truly makes NBA Top Shot a winner, is the Marketplace. The immediacy of buying and selling Moments is exciting and addictive. Rather than waiting until recess to trade away your doubles, Top Shot Moments can be resold within seconds. Should you unpack Giannis posterizing your hometown hero, sell the card on the Marketplace to a Bucks fan freezing in a basement somewhere outside of Milwaukee. Ready to ditch a Ricky Rubio 3-pointer? A fan who closely followed his journey to the NBA will happily purchase the Moment while enjoying a beer and tapas in his local Barcelona watering hole in mere minutes. What feels like the love child of a cryptocurrency, GameStop, and fantasy league three-way, NBA Top Shot could quite possibly be the perfect substitute to seeing games live. Anything from a James Harden triple-double, Anthony Davis injury, or tweet from Draymond can impact the value of a particular Moment overnight.
Though still in Beta testing, the popularity of NBA Top Shot is skyrocketing. With over $70 million transactions processed in January 2021 alone, and a user base growing by tens of thousands weekly, Top Shot has quickly become a fan favorite. Join in the fun. Spend a measly $9 on a pack of Moments and you may just find yourself selling a Lebron James Dunk for a quarter of a million dollars