WNBA Top Shot is a new way to collect, trade and engage with the WNBA game. Think of Top Shot as the trading cards of the future. Instead of a single image printed on a card, you are now able to own entire Moments, thanks to the power of NFT's and blockchain technology.
To quickly summarize, NFT stands for Non-Fungible Token, which is a set of digital data (such as an image or video clip) that is stored on a blockchain. The blockchain ensures authenticity of the data, including tracing ownership and facilitating exchange. Without getting too technical, blockchain technology can be thought of as a shared ledger where information is cross referenced over a broad network to ensure veracity.
With Top Shot, WNBA fans are able to buy, sell, collect and trade "Moments" which are essentially a single highlight from player (ie. Diana Taurasi three-point shot) that is digitally bound into an NFT and given a serial number to depict its place in the overall series (just like trading cards). Moments can be purchased as part of a pack or individually through a marketplace. These Moments can be viewed and shared by the owner at any time and are stored in their website-based account.
The Top Shot project went live in October 2020 and has already experienced great success, with over $1 billion in sales and over 20 million transactions since its inception, despite still being in its beta development phase.
How To Determine Value
Each Moment comes with a brief description of context and/or significance surrounding the highlight. It also features the player's boxscore from the game, the final score of the game and player information (season averages, age, height, birthplace, etc.). Some of these details can affect the value, as a Moment from a great game by the featured player, a key win against a rival, or a pivotal play in the game can increase the appeal.
Additionally, some Moments are simply more "flashy" or exciting than others, such as a rookie, Candace Parker dunk, versus a foul-line jumper from a rotation player. These more "exciting" moments may not have any other features that make them unique or technically valuable, but they are understandably more desirable.
There are a few other ways in which Moments derive their value, and aside from the need to confirm authenticity or quality, they mostly follow the same logic as evaluating trading cards. Moments that are limited editions, belonging to a closed series, boasting a low serial number or even better, a serial number that matches the player's jersey number all fetch additional value. Moments are released in series and once a series is closed, Moments from that series can only be attained through the marketplace (as opposed to in packs), resulting in potential bidding wars and a true collectors market. Moments from Series 1 are already going for massive sums and as time goes on, each subsequent series becomes more "antique".
Of course, moments featuring the most popular players and teams garner extra interest in general and retain better value in the long run. Some Moments include badges signifying "Top Shot Debut", "Three-Star Rookie", "Championship Year" and "MVP Year", which add to overall value.
Flash Challenges are a fun and engaging part of the Top Shot platform and are another key way in which Moments can derive value. Flash Challenges require the user to own a certain bunch of Moments in order to unlock a new, unique Moment. As a result, seemingly average or less-desirable Moments could become in high demand as they may be needed to complete a challenge.
Challenges come and go, while participants have a limited amount of time to collect the required Moments and submit their entry. Fans who complete the challenge will earn the special, Challenge Reward Moment, to add to their collection. There is no other way to acquire the Challenge Reward Moment, unless someone who completed the challenge decides to sell it on the marketplace, usually for a significant mark-up. Moments that are required to fulfill the challenge remain in the possession of the owner and are not "traded" for the Reward Moment.
Some may be in it for the money, while others purely for love of the game, and strategy will vary depending which lane you take. If you are looking to make some money flipping cards or building a valuable collection, then it is more important to employ a solid strategy, but casual collectors should still pay attention to the marketplace and price fluctuations to make sure they get the most bang for their buck.
The two main ways to acquire Moments are buying packs, or buying individual Moments.
Packs are often the best way to acquire moments. Although it is a mystery which moments you could "rip", the price point usually guarantees that the contents of the pack will at least deliver a positive return on investment. It is also the only way to potentially land on a high-demand Moment without breaking the bank. New packs are released periodically, with about 24 hours notice, and they tend to sell out very quickly.
In fact, the very first release of WNBA Base Set packs will be available on Wednesday, June 1st, at 12:00 PM PDT.
Considering the immense popularity of Top Shot, it can be difficult to acquire a fresh pack at the time it drops. The process involves joining a digital line, where you are given a place number at random, only to hope that you make the cut-off before the packs are sold out.
The alternative option is buying moments individually through a marketplace. This is comparable to buying and selling trading cards and can be an effective way of building up your collection. I recommend using evaluate.market or the Top Shot Marketplace to view current and past prices.
Finally, Locker Packs are one more way to acquire new Moments and fine tune your collection. Users can trade in Moments they already own in exchange for one Trade Ticket each, and then use those tickets to purchase a Locker Pack. For example, if you have a few moments that you are willing to part with, you could swap them for Trade Tickets and purchase a Locker Pack in hopes of finding something that you like more.
Locker Packs are always available and contain the same number of Moments as the cost of the pack in Trade Tickets. Locker Packs consist of Moments that have been traded in by other users, and as you might deduce, are unlikely to have any extravagant contents, but they can be a great option for collectors looking to shake up their holdings at no additional cost.
Once again, when it comes to strategy, to each their own, but as long as you keep in mind the factors mentioned above, then you should be able to start your digital collectors journey on the right foot.
With that being said, here are a couple mistakes to avoid:
- Do not assume the market only goes up. As with any form of investing, buying or selling, the market can fluctuate and there is no guarantee that anything and everything will someday be worth more. With that in mind, try to focus on Moments that either mean something to you, or Moments that have some higher-value characteristics.
- When new packs drop, there tends to be a surge in the secondary market, as newly released Moments are re-sold on the marketplace for top dollar. However, as the hype dies down over the next day or two, many of those moments may not re-sell for a higher price. This is a bit of a double-edged sword, as paying the premium might be the only way to acquire certain Moments, but you could also end up paying more than necessary.
Now that you are ready to get started, good luck and enjoy the ride!