What results when video gamers, computer whizzes, and pro ballers mash up? The biggest thing in collectibles since Beanie Babies. NBA Top Shot is transforming the trading card industry with digital versions of collectible cards.
Folks over 45 probably remember the thrill of opening a pack of powdery, stale bubblegum in order to search for a desirable athlete’s trading card. Card-crazy kids opened many packs to find an important one—Mickey Mantle! Chipper Jones!—on a good day.
Canadian tech startup Dapper Labs has worked to re-create the rush of discovery with crypto sports cards, dubbed “moments.” The company’s NBA Top Shot platform allows sports buffs to buy, sell, and trade limited versions of officially licensed video highlights—which exist only as digital video bytes called “non-fungible tokens.” Purchased highlights enter a secure highlight wallet for permanent (until sold) bragging rights.
A collector buys multiple moments in “packs” just like real life. Clicking on each moment in a pack allows the buyer to see which events he or she scored. Most packs cost around $20, but some are below $10. The individual moments in the pack sell for anywhere from $2 each to hundreds or even thousands. The rarer a moment is, the more expensive it’s likely to be. The lower the card number is in a series, the more it could fetch on the market. And if a serial number happens to match the jersey number of the player featured? Ka-ching! Of course, the biggest moments—a LeBron James dunk recently went for $210,000—get the most attention.
Moments appear on screen as spinning, floating digital cubes. Each one features a video highlight of an NBA player—such as a dunk or an assist—shown from multiple camera angles. A sidebar onscreen gives the athlete’s stats and a brief bio.
Despite some early tech hiccups, response to Top Shot from fans has been overwhelming. Collectors bombard the website every time new packs drop. Fans worldwide set their alarms in the middle of the night to purchase. Videos of the flashy pack openings log tens of thousands of views on YouTube.
NBA players are getting in on the action too. “I’m not going to lie, it makes me feel like I’m a kid again,” Orlando Magic guard Terrence Ross says. “At lunch, at school trading NBA cards—it’s fun.”
“This takes the traditional collectible into a modern, global era,” says Dapper Labs CEO Roham Gharegozlou. “No longer do you have to wait for a card to be graded [evaluated for quality], or delivered, or fear of forgeries.” And your expensive, rare moments never get dog-eared, water damaged, or tossed during spring cleaning.
After a year of playing games to empty arenas amid the pandemic, the NBA is ecstatic about the frenzy over Top Shot. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver says, “I think we’re just scratching the surface on what the potential is for blockchain to completely transform the digital collectibles industry.”
How Does It Work?
Cryptocurrency (see The City That Blockchain Built) technology called blockchain makes the collectible crypto-cards possible. A blockchain is a digital ledger used to record data (often money transactions) in virtual “blocks.” Blockchain makes hacking difficult or even impossible. It also allows for permanent, undeletable, ownership records that cannot be copied.
What Are Non-Fungible Tokens?
Maybe you’ve heard of cryptocurrency like Bitcoin and Ethereum. Those currencies are all digital. They exist only as bits of data in a blockchain ledger. They can be traded in exchange for goods or services. That makes them “fungible,” or interchangeable.
Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are bits of data that are stored in a blockchain ledger too. But they cannot be used as currency. The NBA crypto-cards, certain digital pieces of artwork, or other purely digital commodities are being sold through the internet and stored in digital wallets or galleries for the pure enjoyment or status of owning them. Essentially, when one purchases an NFT, one is investing currency into the ownership of a bit of information.
Unlike an actual sports card or a framed painting, you’ll never hold your NFT in your hand or hang it on your wall. This seemingly futuristic way of collecting is rapidly growing in popularity. What do you think is the perceived value? Will the “coolness factor” wear off in time? Will anything ever fully replace the concrete, tangible possessions humanity has crafted and enjoyed for all of history?
Isaiah 55:2 asks, “Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy?” It goes on to offer a full relationship with God as the only thing that will ever satiate human longing.
Would you invest in NFTs? Why or why not? In this digital age, do you see value in information or creations that exist only online or in a blockchain system?
Um, ok..... I am not a big sports person and not into trading cards at all, so this was really not interesting. But man some of those are expensive!
This is JENNA
I am also not a sports fan so I might not get the significance of these cards but there digital cubes how cool can they be? at that rate why not just go and watch the game?
Also I saw that they said the had double layer security software but like Twitter got hacked by a 17 year old kid and his friends before so that just makes me think that it might not be the safest way to spend your money. to sum it up its unsafe, and kinda pointless to me. sorry in advance to anyone I might have offended It's just my opinion.
These cards seem really cool. It sounds fun to buy a couple and see what happens. The prices may go up or down. Blockchain is extremely secure, essentially unhackable, so its very safe. Overall, these cards just sounds fun
why you havent been hearing from me
Permalink On Thu, 07/08/2021 - 15:37 | BY Gloriana B
i have been more than a little busy with my first year of high school, my first fulltime job, my youth bible study, my knitting club, and writing a prospective debut novel. hopefully, that is.
its going to be a series called GIFTED, about a bunch of kids who band together to fight demons in another world. they have magical powers called gifts, and they are called gifteds.
there are a ton of main characters, because its planned as a 12 book series with 2 main characters, a boy and girl for each one. of course some of them are more major than the others, but that happens- :-)
Permalink On Thu, 07/08/2021 - 17:07 | BY Gloriana B
my characters are-
Aidan(minor, bodyguard of MDF)
Belle Ashlyn Brashe, princess, FIREWARDEN
Dagger (brother of Arrow, has the potential to access all power, which is called a COMMANDER)
Damian Hurricane, STORMCALLER
Francis-minor, brother of Arthur, horsemaster
Genevieve (whom the demons posess) COMMANDER
Gemina, EMPATH who is the above's twin. marries Francis, the horsemaster
Hyacinth Aspen Roseleaf, PLANTSPEAKER
James- minor brother of Francis and Arthur, bowmaster
Kenneth, TELEPATH and MUSICIAN
Lea Gloria MUSICIAN
Matthias Shadow, SHADE
Miriam Destiny Farsight, a Seer or prophet (prefers to be called Destiny)
Mirora Esther Shine
Silas Luke Emmanuel, a HEALER
Shiara WATERCALLER, marries Kenneth
Trixin (Trix), TIMETRAVELER
Zak'ry(minor, bodyguard of MDF, along with Aidan)
this is not a complete or
Permalink On Thu, 07/08/2021 - 17:08 | BY Gloriana B
this is not a complete or accurate list
the capitalized words
Permalink On Thu, 07/08/2021 - 20:03 | BY Gloriana B
the capitalized words indicate magical abilities.
my characters are-
Aidan(minor, bodyguard of MDF), FLASHERnot much else is known about him.
Arrow, TELEPORTER. marries Trixin.not much else is known about him.
Arthur -minor, spymaster, SHADE not much else is known about him.
Belle Ashlyn Brashe, princess, FIREWARDEN. marries Jasper.
Brian, ELECTRIFIER. marries Hyacinth Aspen Roseleaf.
Caesar- minor brother of Arthur, kitchenmaster, POLYGLOT not much else is known about him.
Dagger (brother of Arrow, has the potential to access all power, which is called a COMMANDER)dies in final book. had loved Trixin.
Damian Hurricane, STORMCALLER. dies sacrificing himself for his friends who had thought him a traitor.not much else is known about him.
Dash, RUNNER. marries Nightingale.not much else is known about him.
Flint ,STRONGMAN marries Miriam Destiny Farsight.not much else is known about him.
Francis-minor, brother of Arthur, horsemaster, CREATURESPEAKER. marries Gemina.not much else is known about him.
Genevieve (whom the demons possess) COMMANDER
Gemina, EMPATH who is the above's twin. marries Francis, the horsemaster
Hawkjet, FLIGHTMASTER. tall and skinny brown hair pale, with freckles. marries Margaret.not much else is known about him.
Hyacinth Aspen Roseleaf, PLANTSPEAKER. marries Brian.
James- minor brother of Francis and Arthur, bowmaster not much else is known about him.
Jasper, STONESPEAKER. marries Belle Ashlyn Brash. not much else is known about him.
Kenneth, TELEPATH and MUSICIAN. tall, brownhaired and eyed, tanned. marries Shiara. formerly assumed dead.
Lea Gloria MUSICIAN. Has brown hair with flecks of gold, hazel eyes, pink and white skin, and is tall. Marries Matthias after having been fighting with each other for years. best friend is Shiara.
Margaret, CREATURESPEAKER. Shy, but mischievious. Browngold hair, pale green eyes, and tanned. marries Hawkjet.
Matthias Shadow, SHADE. Pale, blue eyed, and black haired. Marries Lea Gloria.not much else is known about him.
Miriam Destiny Farsight, a SEER or prophet (prefers to be called Destiny), has black-purple hair, and deep purple eyes, a pale complexion, and a tall figure. Marries Flint.
Mirora Esther Shine, FLASHER. Petite, blonde, and silver-eyed. Marries Silas Luke Emmanuel.
Nightingale (Gale) , WINDSPEAKER. Tall, a dark brunette, tanned, with gray eyes. Marries Dash.
Patrik, POLYGLOT. Tousled brown hair, teasing hazel eyes, a tan skin, and a short stature. marries Sari.not much else is known about him.
Raina, TIMECALLER. has short shaggy black hair, is petite and fierce, with forbidding gray eyes. dies in final book.
Sari, PERSUADER. petite, redheaded, blueyed and freckled with a strange elegance and posture. marries Patrik.
Silas Luke Emmanuel, a HEALER. dark brown skin, with green eyes, deep black hair, and a wide smile. Marries Mirora Esther Shine.not much else is known about him.
Shiara, WATERCALLER, marries Kenneth after having thought him dead. Auburn, pale, with deep green eyes, petite.
Trixin (Trix), TIMETRAVELER, petite, blonde, pixielike, with flashing blue eyes. After having loved Dagger, she marries Arrow.
Zak'ry(minor, bodyguard of MDF, along with Aidan), SHADE not much else is known about him.
this is not a complete or accurate list, but MDF stands for Miriam Destiny Farsight.
sorry about the LENGTHY comment that wasnot really a comment but i think that the story was cool.
I'm not into sports, but this
I'm not into sports, but this is a neat idea. While not nearly as complex, the Steam platform has trading cards, of which I've collected a few, so I understand how this could be fun.
I think my little sister would love these! She is really into baseball right now, ;) On behalf of my little sister, GO REDS! She just decided one day that the Reds were her favourite.
She would like this if it was baseball, instead of basketball :)
This. Is. So. Cool! What a great idea! And whilst I like it, I don't want real, physical cards to 'go out' or be 'forgotten' so to speak, but yeah, still great idea!
Oh and by the way
Oh and by the way, I'm a biggg sports person... if you hadn't noticed ;) If there are any other sports fans out there, let me know! Bet we could have great chats about it!
This is Mylee
@Mirela I love sports !! Basketball,martial arts ,swimming, bicycling,Birdie !!! They are really fun !
This is Mylee
I think the whole “Virtual trading card” thing is SOOOO DUMB. I have over 2,000 Basketball, Baseball, and Football cards all from the 80s and 90s. Where’s the fun in having trading cards when you can’t even hold them. What happens when your phone dies, OH NO there GONE!!! And you can’t sell virtual cards. WORST IDEA EVER.
This is Morgan Hill
This is really interesting but I don''t feel like it is as exciting as owning a real card.
I'm no sports person. my brother is obsessed with basketball but I really couldn't care less. footballs my sport!
I love trading cards but really? online why? it would be to easy to lose them or get hacked. just my opinion what do u people think.
I think it could be fun if you and your friends traded, but I would not dump money into digital cards.
In my opinion all the new basketball players are garbage. I have a set of Michael Jordan cards made of bronze metal, the internet can’t provide that. (Just my opinion)