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Dapper Labs will bring the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) into the nonfungible token (NFT) phenomenon called Top Shot.

Dapper Labs is teaming up with the WNBA, the Women’s National Basketball Players Association (WNBPA), and OneTeam Partners and to integrate WNBA Moments into Top Shot, giving fans the ability to own the in-game moments as collectibles.

The move follows in the footsteps of NBA Top Shot, which helped put NFTs on the map. NFTs use the transparent and secure digital ledger of blockchain to verify the authenticity of digital items. That enables companies to authenticate that a digital collectible is one of a kind, and that makes it easier to auction it off at a higher value.

NFT phenomenon

In less than a year after launch, the NBA Top Shot community has grown to more than a million members who have made more than 12 million purchases. They have spent more than $750 million in both peer-to-peer and pack sales. The success enabled Dapper Labs to raise $305 million in March.

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NBA Top Shot helped trigger a boom in NFT sales that hit a peak in May at $175 million in sales per week. After that, NFT sales fell as the hype fizzled a bit and Bitcoin took a dive. But it has been growing again and in early August it hit a new peak of $375 million sold in a week. At the moment, it has dipped back down to $164 million sold in a week.

NBA Top Shot

Above: NBA Top Shot has generated $750 million in sales.

Image Credit: Animoca Brands/Dapper Labs

NFTs have exploded in applications such as art, sports collectibles, and music. An NFT digital collage by the artist Beeple sold at Christie’s for $69.3 million. Animoca Brands and Forte also raised funding at unicorn valuations (above $1 billion) on the promise that gaming will see NFTs take off next.

The experience, timed with the WNBA’s 25th season, will feature dynamic in-game moments from WNBA players and legends, headlined by 2020 WNBA MVP A’ja Wilson and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer Lisa Leslie. The new WNBA Moments will be available on the same Top Shot platform used for NBA Top Shot starting today.

“NBA Top Shot has always been focused on connecting all basketball fans with the teams and players they love and idolize, so we’ve been having these talks from the very beginning,” said Caty Tedman, head of partnerships for Dapper Labs, in an email to GamesBeat. “Launching the WNBA now, as they celebrate their landmark 25th season, just gave us the perfect opportunity to offer this unique experience to their fans.”

The next drop

WNBA fans new to Top Shot will be able to discover great plays, open packs to collect epic WNBA Moments, show off their collections, and trade with their peers on the Top Shot marketplace. The new moments will run on Dapper Labs’ Flow platform, the blockchain developed for consumer experiences at scale. Flow reduces the cost of transactions and speeds them up as well.

OneTeam, the sponsorship and licensing partner of the WNBPA, facilitated the deal on behalf of the players and is responsible for forging the overall WNBPA NFT strategy.

The first WNBA pack drop is scheduled for Friday, August 27. Fans will have an opportunity to guarantee a spot to purchase by signing up and registering starting today. The first 10,000 fans to register will be able to reserve an exclusive free First Access Moment.

The 10,000 fans with First Access will also be guaranteed a spot to purchase a pack from Friday’s drop, but all fans can join the Top Shot queue, for an opportunity to obtain WNBA Moments this season.

Founded in 2018, Dapper Labs started out with the NFT collectible game CryptoKitties, but NFTs took off with a much larger market in the summer of 2020.

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