Former Chicago Bulls guard and basketball icon Michael Jordan is reported to be among persons who are behind a $305 million funding drive for NFT platform NBA Top Shot, with actor and rapper Will Smith also involved, according to Business Insider.
Top Shot has seen immense success since its launch last year but saw its popularity rise in February on the back of a strong community having developed. The platform, built on the Flow blockchain by Dapper Labs, offers fans, collectors, and investors the opportunity to own digital NBA highlights, known as moments, some of which have sold for ridiculous amounts.
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A LeBron James highlight famously sold for $208,000 this year, while the site continues to attract new members.
The aforementioned investment was led by firm Coatue, with Jordan a number of current NBA players including Kevin Durant, Andre Iguodala, Alex Caruso, and Klay Thompson also throwing their weight behind the NFT craze that is NBA Top Shot.
Will Smith’s Dreamers VC, 2 Chainz, Venrock, The Chernin Group, and USC were also part of the recent funding round, as well as other celebrities such as Stefon Diggs, Ashton Kutcher, and Shawn Mendes. Additionally, Dapper Labs’ value is understood to now be $2.6 billion.
The funding was raised with the intention to include other sports. Dapper Labs has an official partnership with the NBA and the league receives proceeds from every transaction made on the blockchain, as do the pertinent players.
“We want to bring the same magic to other sports leagues as well as help other entertainment studios and independent creators find their own approaches in exploring open platforms,” Dapper Labs CEO Roham Gharegozlou said. “NFTs unlock a new model for monetization that benefits the fans much more than advertising or sponsorships.”
Since its launch in October 2020, Top Shot has welcomed over 802,000 users and garnered over $483 million in sales. Dapper Labs is now looking to create digital collectibles for UFC; it’s expected that the NFL, NHL, and MLB will all be on board at some point.
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