Often we tend to say that we are closing in on mainstreaming of blockchain, but reality and usage numbers of dapps as reported by dapp trackers tend to not confirm those beliefs and with the exception of active traders, the use of blockchain is still barely a blip on the radar of internet activity. Harsh but true.
Yet, every once so often one encounters an upcoming platform, or app, which could indeed create a dent and increase the reach of blockchain to many thousands, possibly even tens of thousands of users. Hurdles are high though, as user acquisition is expensive and mainstream media are often still rather negative about blockchain because of the volatility. Yet, if there’s money to be earned people will buy the hype as we saw in 2017.
But hype is not a sustainable user acquisition method nor does it help with building a Minimum Viable Economy. Often this has resulted in the apps with true initial potential to build engagement in our crypto ecosystem being games, especially crypto collectibles. The first true viral collectible game was Cryptokitties, on the ETH chain. While popular current crypto collectibles titles such as Splinterlands and Gods Unchained benefit a respectable daily userbase, truth again is that they do not register on any mainstream radar.
Yet there’s a real possibility that a new entrant to the Crypto Collectibles may change all that and could potentially become a success numerous times bigger than CryptoKitties. Maybe even become a challenger to the biggest collectibles games titles in the “traditional world”.
Introducing NBATopShot by Dapper Labs
I am not one to hype potential the way I just did but every blue moon it happens that ones thinks “Holy Noodles, if this team can execute even only 10% of the potential they will become a huge hit!” and when I first heard of NBATopShot, I thought that the moonshot potential was real and achievable.
The main reason for that thinking can be simplified to three reasons:
- Not their first rodeo
- Licensed from one of the worldwide biggest brands and communities
- Backed by multiple A-list venture funds
There are scant details known so far about NBATopShot’s game mechanics, but the few shared ones definitely sound enticing:
Unlike other sports games or fantasy brackets, players can acquire live, in-game moments from the NBA season, like a Kawhi Leonard buzzer-beater. Players can also acquire history-making moments, such as Klay Thompson scoring 37 points in a quarter, Giannis Antetokounmpo being named the 2018–19 MVP and Dirk Nowitzki’s last basket as a Dallas Maverick. Embedded in the digital collectibles are real-world data that defines these moments and plays an influential role in a variety of different games.
These digital collectibles are more than just memorabilia that fans can own and use forever — they’re game pieces in upcoming experiences. Players will be able to trade, compete with, and use these items in online tournaments and leagues. (src)
So let’s have a closer look at the three main reasons why I expect this crypto game will reach a very large userbase.
Not Their First Rodeo
While not a condition nor guarantee to success, NBATopShot is created and managed by Dapper Labs who themselves are the creators of CryptoKitties. As creators of arguably the most successful yet crypto game, as well as another reasonably popular game - Cheeze Wizards - Dapper Labs have gained massive insights in the world of crypto, and its limitations.
While it isn’t known whether this is a positive or increases their future risk, the team even decided to create an own blockchain which tries to improve on several issues they experienced with their previous titles on the Ethereum blockchain.
Not only is their new blockchain, Flow, a platform for Dapper Labs to build upon but according to their CTO the chain will be open-sourced as soon as possible and anyone will be able to use all improvements Flow offers and deploy on the platform. Most interesting to see will be whether Dapper Labs achieved an easier onboarding flow than the experience offered by Ethereum or other chains which require users to save multiple keys.
Having a proven track record will also increase the chances of the new token to be listed on as many exchanges as possible, as well as potential gateway integrations which may facilitate the purchase of tokens compared to many other new tokens.
Licensed from One of the Biggest Brands in the World
The NBA is one of the most popular brands in the world with a worldwide reach and more than 1 billion followers. As a title with official license, the pre are genuine possibilities for marketing benefits to actually reach that vaste audience and expose all basketball fans to the world of crypto and real ownership of their digital collectibles. An occasional NBATopShot tweet or Facebook update by an official NBA account may do wonders for the reach of the game, as well as lower the average user acquisition cost for Dapper Labs, allowing them to focus more on regular tournaments and development of the Minimum Viable Economy.
Aside from the marketing benefits, being an official licensed can also result in more brands wanting to join the bandwagon once NBATopShot has established a large enough userbase. This will again increase the potential reach.
Lastly, being a licensee already - both by the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association - will make it easier to renew for access to official names and moments for future seasons, possibly guaranteeing a run as long as EA franchise titles benefit. This already existing relationship will, of course, be even more important when in some years the bigwigs of the digital gaming world join the world of crypto, inevitably. There’s little doubt that EA would be interested in a NBA license, but would the NBA be as ruthless, and stupid, to make it a mere bidding war and potentially
destroy ditch a gaming community of millions?
Backed by Reputed Venture Funds
It is rather rare to see traditional venture funding in crypto. While the VC world of Silicon Valley have regularly expressed their interest, there generally is a culturally different approach between VCs and crypto founding teams.
VCs like taking risks by investing in teams, teams whom they believe have execution power and can scale their userbase given the required assets. Often these relationships turn out to be longer than the modern average marriage and an A-round backer and founder may end up working together for more than a decade before an exit is achieved.
Many VCs are not so keen on investing in tokens because the longevity of the relationship is often much shorter here.
Thanks to vehicles likes ICOs and IEOs, crypto founders have multiple democratized methods to raise funding, without needing to give away equity in their company. What is their company actually, and what is their actual value given the volatility of the crypto market?
It wasn’t until DeFi began to become a reality that we saw regular investment by the more traditional online startup funds. Before and outside of DeFi, venture funding is still a rarity in the world of crypto.
Dapper Labs is a definite exception here and is backed by what reads like a Hall of Fame of Silicon funds, including az16 (Andreessen Horowitz) and USV (Fred Wilson), and evening Warner Music Group.
According to Crunchbase Dapper Labs has raised USD 38,9 million since 2018, in its A-round. This is a phenomenal amount for a developing crew who will launch games in a volatile world.
Thanks to this initial war chest Dapper Labs will undoubtedly be able to spend both on scaling, user support, and large scale user acquisition. Exposure matters and if there’s one thing which money allows you to buy it’s exposure.
One More Thing
If it wasn’t obvious yet, if there’s one thing Dapper Labs doesn’t lack its ambition. As such it is not surprising that being experienced in the collectibles and tournaments world, Dapper Labs isn’t only banking on its upcoming NBA title.
Dapper Labs is also bringing the Octagon to the blockchain and has obtained a UFC license. With an ever growing community and fanbase, the fastest growing sports community in the world, UFC on Flow is yet another potential moonshot.
It isn’t often that all elements seem perfectly lined up for a startup, but there is little doubt that Dapper Labs is one to watch and may possibly extend the reach of crypto beyond what we’ve seen so far.
While we’ve regularly seen companies fail, despite seemingly having everything well positioned, I’ve only rarely seen this level of potential and depending on the early access terms, and rules, I know which crypto collectibles game have caught my attention and may see my early investment.
What do you think? Slam dunk, moonshot, or bound to fail?
Posted Using LeoFinance