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How Top Shot’s NFT Sports Cards Raked In Millions And Minted A Unicorn | Forbes




NBA Top Shot is crushing it. Five months into its open beta, the blockchain-based collectible platform has already handled more than three million transactions and $460 million in sales on the secondary market. Now, with collectors’ interest in non-fungible tokens hitting a fever pitch, the platform’s creator has a jaw-dropping stat of its own.

Dapper Labs has raised $305 million in a round led by the tech-focused investment firm Coatue that values the three-year-old startup at $2.6 billion, a person with knowledge of the deal tells Forbes. The round, which will be announced today, brings the Vancouver-based startup’s total funding to $357 million.

“It’s just more fuel in the tank,” Roham Gharegozlou, Dapper Labs’ CEO and founder, tells Forbes, characterizing the funding as “a big bet on open platforms.”

It’s also a big bet on non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, the unique digital assets that can be bought and sold using the ledger technology known as blockchain. For NBA Top Shot, that means selling video highlights—or moments, as it calls them—that are put together by the NBA and sold in packs as a kind of digital sports card. The packs are priced according to the rarity of the clips they contain, from $9 to $230 for three to ten or so moments.

Dapper Labs also gets a cut of the trading done among users, collecting 5% of each transaction on the secondary market, such as the LeBron James moment that traded for $208,000 last month. Prices are volatile, affected on a night-to-night basis by player performance, injuries or trades, and the transaction volume can vary, too. But the demand is surging: In the last 30 days, Top Shot facilitated more than $200 million in secondary trades, a pace that would mean fees of $120 million annually for Dapper Labs, on top of the money it collects from the original pack sales. To date, that has amounted to nearly $49 million, according to the pack prices and quantities listed on the Top Shot website. The company splits all proceeds with the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association.

Thumbnail credit: Dapper Labs

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