Something rather typical happened for an atypical reason on Feb. 25: A community within NBA Twitter was mad online. No, these weren’t Denver Nuggets fans up in arms over their close loss to the lowly Washington Wizards, despite a 34-6-6 performance from Jamal Murray. Nor were they frustrated Los Angeles Clippers fans complaining about their team’s stars being unable to do much against a Memphis Grizzlies squad that only just returned to a .500 record. They weren’t even fans preemptively whining over their favorite superstar getting snubbed from this year’s All Star Game.
No, this was a relatively new group of people, sitting on the intersection of hoops fandom, memorabilia collection and digital investing, while looking to get into what’s been described as the next big thing for those who belong to any of those three crowds: NBA Top Shot. Before getting into what tilted some of that base last week, let’s first get into what Top Shot is, exactly.
What is NBA Top Shot?
NBA Top Shot is an online company launched by Vancouver-based blockchain company Dapper Labs, and backed by the NBA, that allows users to procure a collection of digital basketball highlights, and then show off that collection to others. To get these NBA highlights, which are referred to as “moments,” actual money must be spent in some way, either through purchasing digital packs containing a random assortment of these moments, or through spending money in the marketplace.
These moments range in designated rarity, and are artificially scarce based on where they land in the rarity scale. The tiers include:
- Common, which are moments that can have over 1,000 digital copies: These moments can be purchased in Common Packs, starting at $9 for nine moments, for example.
- Rare (150-999 digital copies): These moments can be found in Rare Packs and above, starting at $22. The example Top Shot gives of this kind of pack contains seven common moments and one rare moment.
- Legendary (25-99 digital copies): These can be found in Legendary Packs, starting at $230. The example Top Shot gives contains six common moments, three rare moments and one legendary moment
- Platinum Ultimate (3 digital copies): These are only availably through auction.
- Genesis Ultimate (1 digital copy): There are also only available through auction.
The process to purchasing these packs are similar to queuing up to buy something at any store. You have a reserved spot in a digital line based on when you click the link to purchase, and if there is still product remaining at the time your position in line comes up, you get to purchase a pack. Once the packs are sold out, they’re gone indefinitely.
If this is all still reading like a foreign language to you, there are two things to note: First, you’re not alone. A common refrain among those who are outside of the Top Shot community and only just hearing about it for the first time is based in confusion…