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Federal Judge Rules NBA Top Shot NFTs May Be Considered Unregistered Securities

Federal Judge Rules NBA Top Shot NFTs May Be Considered Unregistered SecuritiesA federal judge, Victor Marrero, ruled on Wednesday that the NBA Top Shot non-fungible tokens (NFTs) issued by Dapper Labs may meet the requirements to be considered an unregistered security. The case arose in 2021 when an NBA Top Shot collector sued Dapper Labs, claiming that the NBA Top Shot NFTs, known as “Moments” issued […]

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A beginner’s guide to NBA Top Shot NFTs

The collective sales volume of NBA Top Shot NFTs has dropped 99% from its February 2021 peak.

NBA Top Shot is a nonfungible token (NFT) marketplace that enables basketball fans to buy, sell and trade NBA-themed digital collectibles.

These collectibles are "Moments" — NFTs of NBA video clips and digital art — available per their degree of rarity. In other words, users can trade NFTs that feature anything from a winning three-pointe from Luka Dončić to a dunk from Lebron James, depending on their availability.

A NBA Top Shot Moment listing example. Source: Official Website

The concept is akin to traditional sports collectible where fans attempt to acquire the rarest of items associated with teams, with an aim to either collect or sell it later at a higher price. Except, in the case of NFTs, these collectibles are digital — unique cryptographic tokens that exist on a blockchain and theoretically cannot be replicated.

How does NBA Top Shot work?

NBA Top Shot is officially licensed by the NBA, the NBA Players Association, and Dapper Labs. The marketplace runs on the FLOW blockchain, which Dapper Labs built as a developer-friendly ledger to support "the next generation of games, apps, and digital assets."

As explained above, the NBA Top Shot platform functions like trading cards. It starts with the NBA licensing its reels and digital art to Dapper Labs. In turn, Dapper Labs uses the footage to create Moments as NFTs.

Each Moment has a unique serial number attached to it, which guarantees its authenticity and shows its rarity. In addition, the Dapper Labs team creates only a limited number of NFTs to ensure scarcity. As a result, the commonly available Moments are cheaper in valuation than the rarer ones. The NBA Top Shot website explains that: 

An NFT is a one-of-a-kind, non-fungible, cryptographic token representing a unique digital asset for which there is no copy or substitute. An NFT cannot be substituted for another NFT as each NFT is distinctive and unique in some way. An NFT is not a medium of exchange and is not convertible virtual currency.
Each moment is secured by the blockchain, meaning your Moment is Unique and Licensed by the NBA and NBPA.

Moments come as a part of "Packs," similar to how traditional sports cards come in a bundle. In turn, packs are a part of the so-called "Series," which gets launched concurrently with the NBA season. So, fans can collect new packs of NFT moments that feature the season's best highlights.

In addition, fans can collect Moments from the past depending on their availability. For example, they can get Magic Johnson's dunk from May 16, 1980.

NBA Packs and Moments

Collecting NBA Top Shot Moments is not a straightforward task. Typically, users do not know what Moments they will receive when they go ahead with a purchase, given the availability of each NFT depends on the the kind of set or Pack it comes from.

NBA Top Shot features four types of Moments: Common, Fandom, Rare, and Legendary. There is also a fifth category, called Ultimate, but this Moment is attainable only via auction. Anyway, here's how the other four categories work:

  • Legendary Moments: comprise 0.09% of the total available Moments, which makes them extremely rare and tough to acquire. Naturally, Legendary Moments are more expensive than most of their counterparts. 
  • Rare Moments: comprise 1.6% of the total Moments and typically feature historical plays from NBA legends.
  • Fandom Moments: availability is not fixed since Dapper Labs create them based on special experiences associated with specific events. For instance, the firm can make Moments available in real time to only those users who were available in the arena.
  • Common Moments: comprise 95.8% of the total Moments, meaning they are easily available and cheaper than other categorie.
NBA's Moments categorized based on their rarity. Source: Official Website

Dapper Labs groups the top shot Moments into Packs and presents them as Sets. These Sets come in two distinctive categories: Base and Non-Base. Here's how they work:

  • Base Sets: These packs fall in Common rarity category and are released in order of Series and release, i.e., Series 1 had 12 releases. They contain three basic Moments and are ideal for users who are just starting their NBA Top Shot collection.
  • Non-Base Sets: Unlike Base Sets, Non-Base Sets come in variations and contain at least one Common Moment in addition to a Rare or Legendary Moment. That makes the sets costlier.
Illustration of NBA Top Shot Sets. Source: Official Website

NBA Top Shot Challenges and Quests

Challenges and Quests serve as a parallel avenue from where NBA Top Shot users can receive Moments, but as rewards not sales.

Related: DeFi, NFT, blockchain games: Key takeaways from DappRadar’s 2022 review

For instance, Challenges grant rewards to users who fulfil a given task in a specific timeframe. In detail, NBA Top Shot can launch a challenge with directives to collect a particular number of Moments in specific hours or days. Users who complete the challenge receive a freshly minted Moment.

Similarly, Quests offer rewards to users for finishing tasks, except the tasks are like scavenger hunts, wherein users are told to locate and build an exhibit for Moments with certain characteristics. As a result, Quests appear to be more difficult than Challenges and, therefore, return greater rewards.

A word of caution

The demand for NBA Top Shot exploded in 2021 with its sales volume reaching a pick around $224 million in sales volume from over 80,820 unique buyers in February. By November 2022, the sales volume had declined to about $2 million from some 10,000 unique buyers.

NBA Top Shot sales volume throughout the history. Source: CryptoSlam

The crash in demand came in line with similar drops across the NFT space with many leading projects, including Bored Ape Yacht Club and CryptoPunks, witnessing lower demand. As a result, some analysts rubbished the NFT market altogether, calling it a bubble.

As a result, venturing into NBA Top Shot space to speculate on its Moments remains a risky proposition and potential collectors should never invest more money than they can afford to lose. 

This article does not contain investment advice or recommendations. Every investment and trading move involves risk, and readers should conduct their own research when making a decision.

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Dapper Labs Suspends NFT Operations for Russian Users Amid New EU Sanctions

Dapper Labs Suspends NFT Operations for Russian Users Amid New EU SanctionsCanadian company Dapper Labs has blocked operations with non-fungible tokens (NFTs) for Russian accounts. The move follows a new round of sanctions recently imposed by the EU which prohibit the provision of crypto-related services to Russian residents and entities. NFT Platform Dapper Labs Conforms to Latest EU Restrictions Against Russian Federation Dapper Labs, the creators […]

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Dapper Labs suspends Russian accounts after new EU sanctions

The firm outlined that as its “payment processing and stored value service partner is subject to EU regulations,” Dapper has been directed to impose the restrictions on these accounts under EU law.

Flow blockchain developers Dapper Labs has suspended Russian accounts after the European Union (EU) imposed new sanctions against Russia and its nationals.

Announced on Oct. 6, the latest set of EU sanctions on Russia stipulates a full ban on the provision of crypto-asset wallets, accounts and custody services, regardless of the total value of the assets.

Following the sanction announcement, Dapper stated that accounts with connections to Russia will no longer be able to sell, purchase or gift nonfungible tokens (NFTs), withdraw funds from their accounts or add to their balances, stating:

“It is now prohibited to provide crypto-asset wallet, account, or custody services of any value to accounts with connections to Russia, irrespective of the amount of the wallet.”

The firm outlined that as its “payment processing and stored value service partner is subject to EU regulations,” Dapper has been directed to impose the restrictions on these accounts under EU law.

“However, Dapper has not closed the accounts. Users impacted by these actions can continue to access and view their NFTs. Additionally, regardless of this new regulation, any NFT previously purchased by an impacted user continues to belong to that user,” the firm stated.

The sanctions on Russia include a complete ban on cross-border crypto payments between Russians and the EU, which also results in the prohibition of “all crypto-asset wallets, accounts, or custody services, irrespective of the amount of the wallet.”

With Dapper following orders to bar access to Russians, it marks another occasion in which a crypto-related company has had to yield to regulatory pressure to avoid compliance issues, much like the Tornado Cash crypto mixer debacle from August.

On Twitter, user @XBT002 criticized Dapper over the move, as they argued that it works against the censorship-resistant notion of blockchain tech:

“If you’re freezing ‘accounts,’ you’re actively censoring in an industry that was founded around censorship resistance.”

In response, @EIDumboTS, who claims to be a Dapper employee, reiterated that the firm was “directed” to take this action on the Russian accounts and therefore had its hands tied in this situation.

Dapper is a centralized firm headquartered in Vancouver, Canada with a reported valuation of $7.6 billion. Alongside the Flow blockchain, Dapper has launched a host of popular NFT projects including NBA Top Shot, NFL All Day and Crypto Kitties. The company is gearing up to launch

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NFT Collection Veefriends Physical Collectibles to Debut at Macy’s and Toys’R’Us

NFT Collection Veefriends Physical Collectibles to Debut at Macy’s and Toys’R’UsIn recent times, non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and their physical counterparts have started to debut at well known retail stores and luxury boutiques. On October 4, the NFT project called Veefriends revealed that the team is launching its limited edition series of collectible characters exclusively at Macy’s and Toys”R”Us. Veefriends holds the 20th position in terms […]

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Funko Partners With Walmart to Drop DC Digital Collectibles and Physical Twin Counterparts

Funko Partners With Walmart to Drop DC Digital Collectibles and Physical Twin CounterpartsFunko has teamed up with the multinational retail corporation Walmart and the American film and entertainment studio Warner Bros. to bring digital collectibles to the retail space, the pop culture collectibles firm announced on Wednesday. According to Funko, the digital collectible offering is consumer friendly as fans can purchase the non-fungible token (NFT) and physical […]

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Ticket Marketplace Giant Ticketmaster Chooses Flow Blockchain for NFT Push

Ticket Marketplace Giant Ticketmaster Chooses Flow Blockchain for NFT PushThis week, Ticketmaster Entertainment, Inc. revealed the company will give event organizers the ability to mint non-fungible token (NFT) tickets via the Flow blockchain. Last November, Ticketmaster said it was working with Polygon but since Super Bowl LVI, the ticket sales and distribution behemoth started working with the Dapper Labs-managed Flow. Ticketmaster Has Minted More […]

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Cumulative NFT Sales Among 18 Blockchain Networks Surpass $36 Billion

Cumulative NFT Sales Among 18 Blockchain Networks Surpass  BillionStatistics recorded this week show that the aggregate number of non-fungible token (NFT) sales, settled across more than a dozen different blockchains, has officially surpassed $36 billion. While there are 18 competing blockchains offering NFTs, Ethereum-based NFT sales dominate by more than 75%. While Ronin commands the second-largest amount of NFT sales, NFTs from the […]

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Top Shot creator unveils $725M fund to support Flow ecosystem

The new ecosystem fund will be used to support the 7,500 developers on Flow to build new gaming, infrastructure, DeFi, and content creator products on the NFT blockchain.

The Flow ecosystem is set to get a boost in support from a new $725 million fund that will be used to invest in the growth of the nonfungible token network.

Flow (FLOW) is a layer-1 blockchain developed by Dapper Labs and purpose-made for NFTs. Dapper Labs also created the popular NBA Top Shot NFT collection. Flow utilizes an eco-friendly proof of stake (PoS) consensus algorithm.

The new fund was backed by 17 firms that have experience backing other Web3 companies, including large investment firms a16z, Spartan Group, and CoinFund. The funds will be used to attract developers to bring their work onto Flow as opposed to competitor Ethereum (ETH) which still dominates NFTs despite high gas fees. Within the Flow ecosystem itself, the funds will provide support for gaming, infrastructure, decentralized finance (DeFi), content and creators.

Projects awarded grants through the ecosystem fund will be supported by FLOW tokens investments, and what the fund’s webpage calls “in-kind support.”

Flow is currently the third largest blockchain by NFT sales volume behind Ethereum and Solana (SOL). Not including May, throughout 2022, Flow has averaged $50.3 million in monthly NFT sales according to CryptoSlam, an NFT market tracker.

Host of the NFT-focused podcast The First Mint LG Doucet tweeted on Tuesday a list of five new products he believes should be supported through the funds. They include a whitelist app to help users get whitelisted for a mint, a mobile app, video education, wallet integration on Shopify, and non-cartoon, animal, and athlete art. He added that Flow needs “actual INNOVATION, not just roadmaps that copy ETH projects.”

Although Flow is operated by Dapper Labs, which has produced some of the biggest NFT products over the last two years, its NFT sales still lag behind larger layer-1 ecosystems. This may be due to weaker network effects and a smaller ecosystem of decentralized apps (Dapps) running on it. The new ecosystem fund aims to tackle that shortcoming.

Other Dapper Labs NFT products include CryptoKitties, one of the first NFT games, UFC Strike, NFL All Day, and Cheeze Wizards.

Related: Otherside NFTs fall below mint price while cheaper ETH sees sales volume boost

FLOW has a market cap of $1.4 billion and is up 20% over the past 24 hours to $4.01 according to CoinGecko data.

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NBA Launches Initiative Dedicated to Web3, Metaverse, and NFT Collectibles

NBA Launches Initiative Dedicated to Web3, Metaverse, and NFT CollectiblesThis week, the National Basketball Association (NBA) announced the launch of its own non-fungible token (NFT) initiative called “NBAxNFT.” According to the professional basketball league, the goal is to showcase “all things intersecting basketball and Web3, including NFTs, gaming, and the metaverse.” Professional Basketball and Web3 Collide Following the popular collection NBA Top Shot and […]

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