by R.A. Rowell
Major League Baseball already has its MLB Champions crypto bobbleheads. Now, the National Basketball Association is following the trend in digital blockchain collectibles with NBA Top Shot. Unlike MLB's collectibles, the NBA is working with CryptoKitties creator Dapper Labs to capture key moments in NBA history. These include historic shots in playoff games by the league's top stars and more.RSS Feed
There are a couple of cool things about the NBA Top Shot collectibles. Like with MLB Champions, these NBA moments exist on the Ethereum blockchain, meaning that you have true ownership of them once you buy them. Also, like how MLB crypto bobbleheads gain value with their counterparts real-life performance, you'll be able to use the NBA moments in head-to-head competitions and leagues, as well. So, these collectibles don't just exist - you can play with them like many other blockchain gaming collectibles.
In her article for Sir Charles in Charge, Jade Johnson brings up some interesting thoughts about NBA Top Shot. She believes that the platform will appeal mostly to younger generations of NBA fans, as older fans may not have much use of collectibles made of code. While I do agree with that, Jade also seems to think that the digital collectibles won't reach the same monetary value as physical collectibles such as trading cards in the future.
Of course, Jade agrees that scarcity of limited edition collectibles will likely be determined by the star power of the player and how "awesome" the moment you're collecting is in both style and importance in the context of the game it happened in. For example, a three-point shot made at the buzzer to win a playoff game is going to be worth a lot more than in n early regular season game.
Here's why I like sports digital collectibles that can be used in leagues. For one, you can't use traditional trading cards in fantasy sports leagues. Jade Johnson agrees that's the main appeal of these limited edition digital collectibles. Whether traditional fantasy sports players want to take a chance on them is the question. As online gambling grows, however, I think if most current fantasy sports players don't convert, perhaps some of the online gambling crowd will - which is quite possible.
The other thing is that while digital blockchain collectibles may not have the same monetary value as traditional physical sports collectibles, is that really a bad thing? Because transactions are made digitally, the transaction costs are far less and there's no shipping cost - outside of a blockchain fee based on network activity. The thing is to focus on not the total dollar amount, but the percentage of initial cost vs growth over time. Sure, some will end up being worthless, just like most physical collectibles. But those that aren't can change hands far more quickly and efficiently than their physical counterparts.
Plus, we have already seen a digital trading card on the blockchain go for five figures. The Gods Unchained trading card, Hyperion, which is a one of a kind mythic rare with an absurd in-game ability, sold for over $62,000 in Ethereum cryptocurrency not that long ago. So, if there's demand, it's extremely rare, and useful in a game, blockchain collectibles can actually fetch fantastic returns. Sports have an even bigger market than trading card games, too. So, when translating their blockchain token value to fiat currency (such as the US dollar) it's possible that they become quite comparable, even if it takes some time.
Also, as the worldwide market for basketball collectibles grows, digital collectibles will have increasing appeal. Outside of the United States, who wants to pay outrageous international shipping charges and deal with customs for a piece of cardboard? Internationally, the blockchain collectibles will have an even bigger audience. All you need is an Ethereum wallet, which are getting easier to use all the time.
As of October 2019, NBA Top Shot is still in the stage for requesting early access. All you have to put in is your email address. The Digital Collectibles Journal will bring you news as it develops for this game.
What do you think of digital blockchain collectibles for basketball and other major sports? Do you think they will revolutionize fantasy sports? Will current collectors buy in or will it be up to younger generations to bring crypto sports collectibles in the mainstream?
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R.A. Rowell is a collectibles enthusiast who comes from a long history of collecting trading cards in both sports and in Trading Card Games. He is passionate about educating the world about the future promise and benefits of digital collectibles, both on the blockchain and off.