NBA Top Shot Is Booming! - TokenSmart NFT Humpday Report #18

Welcome to the 18th issue of the NFT Humpday Report, a weekly column covering and providing embedded analysis on the NFT economy’s biggest topics du jour. Brought to you by WIP meetup collaborators and nft42 community hub TokenSmart.

Dapper Labs, the renowned builders of CryptoKitties, have struck NFT gold again with NBA Top Shot, a digital collectibles enterprise created in partnership with the National Basketball Association.

The project is centered around collectible highlights called “NBA Top Shot Moments” as distributed in packs of animated trading cards. This model is generating explosive interest from both crypto-savvy and mainstream circles alike right now, and its early success paves the way for a user pipeline to Dapper’s rising blockchain, Flow.

A quick hit: First launched to the public last fall, NBA Top Shots has experienced meteoric early growth and since won over some 12,000 active users. Just this week the project’s all-time trade volume crossed the $31.5M milestone. For context, that’s near or past CryptoKitties’s all-time volume of $29.5M or $38M depending on which resource you check. That’s an extremely impressive level of activity for an NFT venture that’s been out in the wild for only a few months.

Why it’s so popular: The NBA is a huge and globally-recognized brand. Then combine that reality with the popularity of both sports and trading cards in general along with novel NFT dynamics as delivered by a respectable team like Dapper Labs, and you’ve got the makings of a hit that can bring in droves of newcomers to the NFT ecosystem.

A showcase for Flow: Dapper Labs is building Flow out as a “developer-friendly blockchain, designed as the foundation for a new generation of games, apps, and the digital assets that power them.” In other words, Dapper’s going all-in on infrastructure for decentralized apps, or dapps, with Flow. The team hopes NBA Top Shot can be a star for Flow and demonstrate the blockchain’s utility and advantages over time.

Understanding rarity: NBA Top Shot Moments come across three main rarity levels, namely Legendary (edition of 50), Rare (edition of 250 to 300), and Common (edition numbers vary. Naturally, the rarer the card the higher it will be valued in the secondary marketplace. The most-desired cards are special-edition Legendary Moments known as “Cosmics.”

WhaleShark.Pro @WhaleShark_Pro
The $WHALE Vault @nba_topshot valuation from Race to US$20 million: Current valuation: US$19,230,000 ($19.23 Million) 24 hour growth $: +1.23 Million 24 hour growth %: +6.8%

WhaleShark.Pro @WhaleShark_Pro

What they’re saying:

  • Roham Gharegozlou, Dapper Labs CEO: “Crypto fans would be OK with a trading card game or fantasy sports thing. But to actually go mainstream and have a game that tens of millions of people play every day, you need to kind of make it look as good as all the options that are out there.” 

  • Jonathan Bales, entrepreneur and author: “Trading cards might very well become a stock market for athletes. What was once play—kids trading physical sports cards with friends—could transform into something completely different … Digital art, cryptocurrency, esports, trading cards—they’re all a continuation of this inevitable trend of moving the physical world online.”

  • Steve Poland, entrepreneur and I Found Lucky writer: “Someone paid $173,000 for a digital graphic of a kitten. Do you think someone is going to pay $173,000 someday for a digital video clip of Global NBA Star Lebron James doing a dunk that’s an homage to Kobe Bryant? Well, I do. Someday, someone will probably pay MILLIONS for it.”

Helpful resources: If you’re interested in diving deeper into NBA Top Shot, you can find helpful marketplace data at websites like,, and Topshot Explorer. As tons of new interest is surging into the dapp, lots of people are writer informative guides and explainers. The Twitter thread like the one from Drew Austin below is an example of the kind of alpha you’ll want to keep an eye out for!

Zooming out: The interest that’s building up around NBA Top Shot is good for Dapper Labs, Flow, and NFTs in general. Look for the project’s builders to try and weather its rapid growth as competently as possible, and in the process continue to provide blueprints for success that other NFT projects can consider going forward.

Thanks for reading the 18th NFT Humpday Report! Check back this time next week for more excellent NFT ecosystem coverage! Cheers🌠