Top Shot your way to Riches...but Probably Not

Photo by Dijo Songco,

Since the pandemic began last March we have seen the rise of get rich quick schemes as people have either become more desperate for money, or have extra money thanks to stimulus checks and they want to turn it into more money. We have seen the rise in retail investing, Bitcoin, Dogecoin, the Gamestop saga, and the recent boom and bust of marijuana stocks. People are buying into or have bought into all of these things in the hope that they would strike gold and quickly turn a profit. So what's the next craze to potentially get into? Enter our next contender NBA Top Shot.

I know most of you are probably probably thinking the same thing I thought when I first heard Top Shot. What the hell is Top Shot? You can try and figure it out for yourself but I will I do my best at explaining it. The NBA, like all leagues has taken a big financial hit during this pandemic, so they are looking for new ways to generate revenue. The NBA came up with a relatively genius way of doing this with Top Shot. Basically Top Shot is a virtual trading card platform. The NBA takes moments, highlight plays, big dunks, whatever it may be and turns it into a virtual playing card. Unlike physical cards that just have a picture, these ones have a video of a play. They then put these cards into packs and put the packs into different tiers that you can buy. The 3 tiers are common, rare, and legendary. You can also buy packs by events like the Finals and so forth. Prices for these packs range from $9-$230. Each card is given a unique serial number to identify it by. Certain factors make a card more valuable than others like it. For example a legendary card may only have 50 authenticated versions. The one with the serial #1 will be more valuable than the others as it is the first minted edition of that card. If the card is a Lebron moment and you have #23 of that card it will also be more valuable because that's Lebron's number. This makes some cards interesting like a Devin Booker legendary moment. Since he is #1, if you have the first minted version of that card it would be even more valuable.

Once you buy some packs you now own the plays they contain and can do what you want with them. Like physical playing card collecting you can trade them with other collectors, sell them, or hold them. You can use social media and other means to try and increase or decrease the value of any given play or moment. Want a specific players card or moment? You can go into the marketplace and hope someone who owns it is selling it. The marketplace is where you are going to make your money if you are simply looking to turn a profit on the cards in your packs. You may get great plays in your pack, but remember it's only going to be worth as much as the marketplace deems it is.

So you want to start trading on Top Shot now? Not so fast. Packs are very difficult to get. You can only buy packs when there is a drop. These drops sell out almost immediately, so you have to be on top of it. The marketplace has lots of options, but it's not much cheaper than the packs. The lowest price is $18 and a legendary Lebron card recently sold for $208,000. So how does the NBA make money on this? Through their partnership with Dapper Labs who handles the back-end, there is a 5% fee on all transactions. With over $230M in transactions since October the league is pulling in a nice penny collecting 100% on pack sales and 5% on all marketplace transactions.

Should you get involved in Top Shot? If you are a risk taker, then trying to get in on the Top Shot action may be something to consider. As is the case with most things, in theory there is a chance to turn a decent profit here. However at the moment you cannot pull cash out of the system, so any profit you make will be stuck in there. With something this new and with it being based completely on consumer confidence and interest it's hard to say what the staying power of it will be. I suspect the cards on the platform will follow similar trajectories as physical cards do. The whole process and system is backed by the NBA so it is legitimate. There is reports that the NFL is starting their own Top Shot as well. This will definitely be a fun thing to watch and see how it all plays out.