Blockchain has taken the NBA by storm. For years now, there have been teams selling in-arena merchandise for Bitcoin and various other cryptocurrencies. The past few weeks have highlighted a maturation of this longstanding interest in digital assets, as seen through endeavours such as ‘NBA Top Shots’, Bitcoin salaries, and more.
In the NBA, the Sacramento Kings arguably lead the way in Bitcoin adoption. The team just saw its CEO, Vivek Ranadivé, announce that moving forward, anyone within the organization would be given the option to receive their salaries in Bitcoin.
Not only is this capability a first within the NBA, but there is flexibility behind the offering. This is not an ‘all-or-nothing’ choice to be made by employees of the franchise – rather, employees can choose to have a certain percentage of their salaries paid out in BTC.
NBA Top Shot
When thinking of current trends within the digital asset sector, NFT’s will undoubtedly come to mind. These unique assets have the potential to change the way we transact and value collectibles. This potential makes NFTs the perfect avenue for a resurgence in the age-old hobby of collecting sports related trading cards.
The NBA itself recognized this, and in 2019 partnered with Dapper Labs to develop ‘NBA Top Shot’. The NBA provides the following breakdown for how the service functions.
“How it works: the NBA cuts the highlights and then Dapper Labs decides how many of each highlight they are going to sell and number them. They place each highlight into digital packs, just like regular trading cards, and sell the packs on the official NBA Top Shot website for prices ranging from $9 to $230. The pack prices depend on the quality of highlight, the stardom level of the player and the exclusiveness of the card. Once you purchase a pack, those highlights go into your encrypted, secure highlight wallet to be “showcased” or re-sold on the NBA Top Shot Marketplace.”
These past efforts to establish NBA Top Shot have paid off, as the project was recently successful in obtaining significant investments from a variety of high-profile individuals.
- Kyle Lowry
- Kevin Durant
- Michael Jordan
- Klay Thompson
Cumulatively, Dapper Labs have raised roughly $305 million in recent funding. The platform itself has grown its user base to over 800,000, with sales nearing $500 million to date.
As a wildly successful individual, Mark Cuban boasts a significant amount of influence, meaning people will listen when he provides an endorsement. While he has long shown an interest in digital assets, he has in the past been critical of their viability. Recently however, his tune appears to have shifted more towards the positive, as he announced a personal portfolio comprised of Bitcoin, Ethereum, and others.
This shift appears to have spilled over in to operations at the Dallas Mavericks, as Cuban recently announced the franchise is mulling over turning tickets sold to its home games in to NFTs.
“We’re trying to find a good option for turning our tickets into NFTs…We want to be able to find ways so that not only can our consumers, our fans, buy tickets and resell them, but we continue to make a royalty on them.”
The NBA itself, and teams within it, have made it clear that digital assets will play a large role in their operations moving forward. Basketball is not the only sport to see this adoption begin though. Months ago, Russell Okung of the NFLs Carolina Panthers, made wave when he opted to receive half of his $13 million salary in Bitcoin.
With the trajectory of Bitcoin in recent months, this move has paid off if a huge way for Okung – a payoff which will no doubt have other within leagues such as the NFL and NBA looking to go down a similar path.