NBA Top Shot maker Dapper Labs just nabbed another $305 million investment from the likes of Michael Jordan and Will Smith

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Dapper Labs has a $2.6 billion valuation after the round, a source close to the company said.

  • Dapper Labs, the startup behind NBA Top Shot, announced $305 million in new funding Tuesday.
  • The round comes from more than 30 pro athletes and venture capitalists, including Michael Jordan.
  • With the investment, Dapper Labs plans to expand its platform to other sports leagues.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Dapper Labs, the startup behind virtual trading-card platform NBA Top Shot, has closed a $305 million funding round as the market for digital collectibles continues to boom, the company announced Tuesday.

Led by the investment firm Coatue, the round includes Michael Jordan, current NBA players like Kevin Durant, Alex Caruso, Klay Thompson, and Andre Iguodala, and several other professional MLB and NFL athletes. Ashton Kutcher’s Sound Ventures, Will Smith’s Dreamers VC, 2 Chainz, Venrock, The Chernin Group, and USV are also involved in the round.

This batch of funding brings Dapper Labs’ valuation to $2.6 billion, a source close to the company told Insider, and comes as the firm’s Top Shot platform explodes in popularity.

Developed in collaboration with the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association, the Top Shot marketplace enables fans to collect and trade officially licensed basketball highlight clips called “moments.”

Since launching in October, the platform has attracted 802,000 users and logged $483 million in sales, a spokesperson told Insider. The platform sees millions of dollars worth of moments change hands each day, with some exceptionally rare ones selling for $100,000 or more.

Read more: NFTs like NBA Top Shot are fueling a trading boom in million-dollar sports cards. The CEO of a fractional sports investing platform breaks down why digital collectibles are the ‘perfect intersection of passion and profits.’

The new financing brings the total capital raised by Dapper Labs to $357 million and will enable the firm to expand Top Shot to other sports leagues. In early 2020 it announced plans to develop digital collectibles for UFC.

“NBA Top Shot is successful because it taps into basketball fandom – it’s a new and more exciting way for people to connect with their favorite teams and players,” Roham Gharegozlou, CEO of Dapper Labs, said in a news release. “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.”

Founded in 2018, Dapper Labs is also behind another collecting game called CryptoKitties and has its own blockchain system called Flow.

Top Shot moments are a form of nonfungible tokens, or NFTs, essentially digital deeds that grant someone ownership to a particular piece of media on the web. Although NFTs have existed for years, the market surrounding them has hit a fever pitch in 2021, with numerous digital art pieces selling for millions.

Do you have a story to share about your experience with NBA Top Shot? Email this reporter at tlevin@insider.com.

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Billionaire investor Chris Sacca told people not to ignore the $69 million NFT sale this week

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Chris Sacca.

  • Chris Sacca sees the $69 million NFT sale this week as significant.
  • The venture capitalist said people shouldn’t ignore non-fungible tokens.
  • Sacca highlighted the appeal of collectibles and the value of creators getting paid.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Some people will have rolled their eyes at the record-breaking $69 million sale of a digital artwork at a Christie’s auction this week. They should pay attention to what the transaction signifies, billionaire investor Chris Sacca tweeted after the news broke.

“No matter how you feel about NFTs, don’t look away from this,” he said. He was referring to non-fungible tokens that serve as virtual certificates of ownership and authenticity for digital items, and are stored securely on a blockchain.

“It’s okay to not get why someone would pay that, and it’s okay to be bummed about the climate impact,” Sacca continued. “But don’t be willfully ignorant about what’s happening.”

Metakovan, the pseudonymous buyer of “Everydays: The First 5000 Days” by artist Beeple, will receive a NFT confirming they’re the new owner of the piece. However, there’s nothing to stop other people downloading and sharing copies of the artwork.

Sacca – an early investor in Uber, Twitter, and Instagram – has praised NFTs and downplayed concerns they’ll be a short-lived fad.

“Very cool and I am a collector at heart,” he said in a Twitter thread last month. “I don’t think it’s a bubble, and I do think it will work.”

However, the Lowercase Capital founder and former “Shark Tank” star said he wouldn’t be abandoning physical memorabilia anytime soon. “I have a feeling this is going to be the tech that finally turns me into the ‘Yeah, but I only listen on vinyl’ guy,” he joked in the thread.

Sacca lauded NFTs as the next frontier for collectibles, and praised them for allowing creators to collect royalties on future resales of their work, in a Forbes interview published this week.

“Collections as a reflection of your identity are powerful,” he said. “And I will never underestimate the beauty of tools that empower creatives to do and get paid for their best shit.”

Billionaire investor and fellow “Shark Tank” star Mark Cuban also touted NFTs in an interview this week, labeling the ability to receive royalties a “game-changer” for digital commerce.

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The Winklevoss twins said buying Bitcoin is the ‘trade of the century’ and predicted a 30x return in a recent interview. Here are the 9 best quotes

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  • The Winklevoss twins pitched a large purchase of Bitcoin today as the “trade of the century” and predicted the digital currency will soar by 30 times in a recent Real Vision interview.
  • Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss also described Bitcoin as a social network, suggested comic books and baseball cards would increasingly move to blockchains, and bemoaned the Federal Reserve’s lack of transparency.
  • Here are their 9 best quotes from the interview.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss described buying a large amount of Bitcoin now as the “trade of the century” and predicted the cryptocurrency will soar 30-fold from its current price of about $19,000.

The twins, who famously accused Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg of stealing their idea when he launched the social-media company, are Bitcoin billionaires and run a digital-currency exchange named Gemini. They made the comments during a a Real Vision interview filmed on December 7 and released on December 11.

The pair also compared Bitcoin to a social network, predicted collectibles will increasingly be bought and sold on blockchains, and criticized the Federal Reserve’s opacity.

Here are their nine best quotes from the interview, lightly edited and condensed for clarity:

Tyler: “Bitcoin was the first internet money in the world. Then when you realize that money is the greatest social network of all, Bitcoin is maybe the greatest social network of all also.”

Cameron: “We are just not going to run away with your Bitcoin. It just does not make any sense for us to do that.”

Cameron: “The mainland is legacy finance, crypto is an island. We want to see an inversion where crypto becomes the mainland and legacy finance is just this dinosaur that is slowly fading away.”

Read More: JPMorgan unveils its 50 ‘most compelling’ stock picks to buy for 2021 – and details why each one will be a top performer

Tyler: “The comic books you grew up reading, the baseball cards you collected, those are now being put on a blockchain because people are starting to realize their physical nature is actually not a feature, it is a bug. It is not about the physical nature. It is the scarcity. It is the uniqueness.”

Tyler: “I do not know who said compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. Albert Einstein or Warren Buffett, maybe it was Gandhi, I do not know” – the quote is commonly attributed to Einstein.

Tyler: “How do these conversations go behind the curtain? It is like the Wizard of Oz. The Fed, it is a mystery, and there is no clarity on how the decision is made. Wave the magic wand, Jerome Powell says this or that. It is insanity.”

Tyler: “The dominoes are starting to fall, and eventually it is going to be a central bank, some very smart companies, a country is going to take a huge position in Bitcoin and talk about it.”

Read More: Buy these 28 discounted stocks from an LGBT-inclusive index that’s crushed its global benchmark since 2010, says Credit Suisse

Tyler: “The trade of the century is still out there for a couple of people, a couple of hedge-fund managers. It will be as great as the George Soros breaking the pound trade” – describing the opportunity for a fund manager to buy $100 million worth of Bitcoin.

Tyler: “Our thesis is that Bitcoin rises 30-fold from here because it is digital gold, it disrupts gold.”

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