Our Investment in Blockchain-Enabled Applications in Sports, Entertainment, and Art

The company behind the NBA’s NFT trading cards raises over $300 million in its latest round

By Brent MacDonald – Principal @ Rising Tide VC

Dapper Labs, the blockchain company behind the NBA’s collectibles marketplace ‘Top Shot’, closed a major round of funding toward its goal: NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens) for all. The company announced this week it secured $305 million in private funding — some of it from current and former NBA players, including Michael Jordan — to scale up its virtual NBA trading card site. Today, ‘Top Shot’ is one of the world’s fastest growing marketplaces and has rung up $500 million in sales, registered more than 800,000 accounts, and facilitated over 3 million transactions since its public beta testing phase began in October 2020. This round of financing brings the total capital raised by the company to over $350 million.

NBA Top Shot virtual cards come in the form of a floating digital cube that includes a video highlight of an NBA player and come with a non-fungible token, backed by blockchain technology, certifying its authenticity and scarcity. A LeBron James dunk highlight sold for $210,000 recently but more common cards can often be had for less than $10.

Launched in 2018, Dapper Labs was spun out of Axiom Zen to bring the decentralization benefits blockchain technology to the first billion consumers through the power of play, fairness, and true ownership. Dapper Labs got its start with CryptoKitties (initially launched within AxiomZen), a collectable game where users breed and trade NFT kittens. With over 1.5 million users who were responsible for $40 million worth of transactions, CryptoKitties effectively “clogged-up” the Ethereum blockchain, prompting the development of Dapper Labs’s ‘Flow’ blockchain network. Flow is designed to support games and consumer applications, and the developers and teams that create them, with the throughput necessary to scale to millions of active users. The company plans to expand the Flow blockchain to support previously announced collaborations with Dr. Seuss Enterprises, Warner Music, and the UFC, among others. Dapper Labs recently launched ‘Smart Wallet’ with the goal to make crypto and crypto collectables far easier to use and is an essential building block for the adoption of cryptocurrency and decentralized applications. Dapper Labs Smart Wallet supports Flow and Ethereum, allowing consumers to access assets and applications on both networks.

Why We Are Excited:

The team at Dapper Labs has taken the right approach to attracting a passionate audience to its brands and underlying technology, the Flow blockchain. By focusing initially on gaming, paired with the nostalgia of trading cards and the scarcity that goes with them, they’ve struck a chord with a captive and growing audience. Furthermore, they continue to lead the blockchain industry in terms of mindshare by partnering with notable, well-regarded brands, artists, and communities, essentially creating a snowball effect around the Dapper Labs and Flow blockchain. We believe this strategy is the right one and will create an unstoppable pace of escape velocity in a nascent area of technology. Given the sheer size volume of transactions and their value, as well as demand that outstrips supply on TopShot alone, it is clear that Dapper Labs has the potential to be one of the most important companies in the blockchain world. This is truly just the beginning.

"Blockchain technology has the potential to revolutionize consumer ownership on the internet. Projects like Dapper Labs’ Flow is already driving consumer adoption, with NBA Top Shot proving the experience is not only engaging, but smooth and fan friendly.”

Andre Iguodala, NBA Miami Heat