Dapper Labs announced a major partnership with the NBA and NBPA in late July 2019. While details were sparse then, more information has been shared today in the lead up of the launch of the product’s beta access. The token designs were shared with more detail in this blog from Dapper Labs.
To celebrate the collectible preview, we caught up with Caty Tedman, Head of Partnerships and Marketing at Dapper Labs, and avid NBA fan, to go a level deeper.
Going way back, I’ve been with Dapper Labs since pre-Dapper times at Axiom Zen. When CryptoKitties launched, there was a whirlwind of interest in working with us, so I just kind of rolled up my sleeves and got into it.
What made me fall in love with crypto is how it can augment the relationship between consumers and brands. What I’m truly interested in is how brands can create meaningful relationships with their consumers that also benefit the consumers. This is the piece I think blockchain unlocks: A fan can now benefit from the economy of the brand.
In NBA Top Shot, which by the way I will absolutely be playing… look out for my sweet, sweet international player showcases, if I get content in packs that I don’t want, I can recoup some of my spend to reinvest in the game. There is even the potential for me to legally make money off NBA assets. This in no way infringes on the NBA’s rights and I can’t commercialize that content, but I can buy and sell. The possibility of having fun and creating a revenue generating event for myself as a fan is extremely enticing. It fundamentally changes the value the brand brings me as I invest my mind-share and heart-share in basketball.
This seems like a silly question. If the NBA is at your doorstep and likes an idea you pitched, partner with the NBA! You won’t regret it. They are genuinely good humans, they have an amazing product (live basketball!), and their reach is global.
The NBA brings a natural product fit for the blockchain space though. NBA fans are already avid collectors. NBA basketball, the on-court product, is already spectacular and dynamic. The NBA’s fanbase is already global. The big challenge here is to create something that is worthy of being a fully licensed product, and I believe we have done that.
Let’s also not forget about the NBPA. The Player’s Association gets less accolades than the league, but they also came to the table with an openness for new technology, a willingness to help us create a great product, and arguably the most important asset to the NBA, it’s players. From starters to sixth men to the team that makes up the bench, NBA players do incredible things every night and the PA helps us bring that to life in Top Shot.
This question might seem disingenuous coming from Dapper Labs, being answered by Dapper Labs, but it’s really not. We needed a platform that would scale without sacrificing user experience. Period. And we didn’t see any point in launching a blockchain product targeting mainstream adoption on potential scaling solutions that wasn’t there yet.
And yes, we too have been and still waiting for ETH 2.0 since we launched CryptoKitties in 2017. It goes without saying, we have explored a lot of layer 2 solutions too, but most of them had pretty bad limitations around composability with the mainchain. It is great to build a single game, but not so much if your plan is to have a rich ecosystem.
Flow will enable NBA Top Shot to scale to the size of the NBA fanbase. This is the biggest decision factor at the end of the day. We can’t risk getting throttled whenever a few thousand players join simultaneously and start playing, like the way it happened with CryptoKitties. It felt bad then, it would be unacceptable on this product.
Ultimately, Flow will create an environment where we can engage every basketball fan on the planet who wants to participate, while any third party developer can build a rich ecosystem around it without any barrier like crossing shards or sidechain limitations.
This is the hardest question I have ever gotten in my adult life. Both have just enough sweetness and a satisfying crunch. Neither have weird yucky marshmallows that get mushy after 2 spoonfuls, like how fast do people eat cereal?? I literally just flipped a coin and Honey Nut Cheerios won. I’m simultaneously disappointed and elated.