Trading playing calls is a hallmark of most preteens. It's exciting going to the store and buying a pack of cards (whether it's pokemon, yugio, basketball or baseball) and rolling the dice, hoping to get some great ones. When I was collecting some yugio cards back in the day, it was the blue eyed white dragon and the appendage collection of the forbidden one that carried real "street cred" and real dollars. Later on in life, if you're feeling nostalgic, maybe you get into hockey and basketball and baseball cards. A friend of mine has over $20,000 in sports cards and he follows the trends closely on eBay, looking for the next big thing and hoping to cash in prior to some big catalyst event - maybe making the playoffs, getting traded, winning an award and so on. My dad likewise had literally a tub of cards he collected from his youth and was fortunate even to sell a rookie Gordie Howe for $4,000.
What makes trading cards valuable? Like beanie babies, there is no inherent value in trading cards - they're simply valuable because people deem them to be. Since there is an active, passionate market ready to buy these cards, you can hopefully be confident that the cards you buy today will be worth more tomorrow - assuming the individual player value increases.
The most valuable cards trade like stocks. The idea is to buy a rookie card before they make the debut season and kick ass and hopefully sell later when they get their first hattrick or win their rookie of the year award and so on. The longer you hold the card and as long as it retains its condition, typically the greater the worth - as they become more scarce over time.
It is a simple arithmetic of supply and demand. Over time, the original tradeable rookie cards supply will diminsh as some are lost, some are destroyed and many are collected to never be sold - only by their children later when they collect their father's rookie card inheritance.
Cards are a great asset and a great marketplace with only a few limitations. Firstly, there needs to be one marketplace and a common currency to bring people together. Next, there needs to be an individual appraiser to recognize the condition of cards and the authenticity of autographs. Further, the cost and uncertainty of shipping cards across the world (and possible damage it may be exposed to) creates a third problem.
And all of those problems are solved with the introduction of player cards as non fungible tokens that can be traded in an instant, have a common marketplace where the price/sale history and all current bid-asks are readily transparent, and there are no fees or transaction costs to engage with this platform (beyond marketplace fees on the sale of a card). This leads us to the potential that is NBA Topshots.
What is NBA Topshots? NBA Top Shots is a marketplace owned by Dapper Labs througha joint venture with the NBA and NBA Players Association and uses the Flow blockchain currency where officially-licensed NBA memories (short gifs with clips of basketball moments) attached with game and player stats and a short description of the player/game can be redeemed from purchase a 'pack' and then are tradeable on a secondary market - bought and sold immediately with proof of ownership transfer over the blockchain.
The memories are not created equal - some are limited edition (a set serial number as low 499) and most are common (with serial numbers up to 35,000), some are part of rare series (like the All Star Game, and Cool Cats Collection) and some are given badgets like 'Rookie Debut' and so on. Once owned, you can create showcases of your memories and you can also buy up memories to complete certain challenges - unlocking additional memories. The new features keep coming out too and Dapper Labs just raised $250million to create an NFT game format where you can make a roster around your owned memories.
The packs drop at random and you are typically given one day or even as little as almost no time notice before they drop. If you are able to join the queue, you are assigned a random number and hopefully get a pack (which are often limited to 80,000 - 150,000 while maybe 300,000+ are in line). If you are lucky enough to buy a pack (ranging from common $9-14 up to $1000 for the more rare selections), you are almost guaranteed to make a profit. Typically coming with 3 memories that can sell from $5 on the low end to thousands on the high end, I have yet to not break even buying a pack. This is the best opportunity to make money - though it requires some luck. From my experience, packs usually drop at least twice a month. Infographic to Learn More Here.
How do I get started? Sign up with your email and fund money into your Flow wallet - as easy as through a credit card. I got started with $40, that's really all you need to begin.
How does it differ than trading regular playing cards? There is greater liquidity, lower transaction fees, a common marketplace, a more immersive experience (the gifs are fun, the packs BLAST MUSIC as they open), you can compete and showcase in an online word, and there is zero chance of counterfeits or time delay in ownership.
How much money can you earn? The easiest way to make money is from packs though you can also make money by buying and selling memories on the secondary market (keep in mind that you do pay a 5% transaction fee to Dapper on sales made). My typical strategy is to hold good quality cards with low serial numbers that stand as an outlier (I hope to buy like $20 memories, serial number below 2,000, when all those surrounding it are $25+). This strategy works sometimes, not others. In one case it did work, today, I bought a $15 Vanvleet and sold it for $19. I'm not going to retire from this but I'm enjoying the process.
To give a better idea of overall profitability, I opened my account on March 4th with $30 and now have $700 - mostly from pack drops. Keep in mind there is enormous upside potential as some packs will have low serial number Zion Williamsons and Lebon James and these are often trading for over $200,000.
What are some tips and tricks I should be aware of? I would suggest having a strategy going into this if you want to try and flip cards. Buy only memories with a lot of liqidity (lots of trading volume), well known names (Lebon James, James Harden, Jimmy Butler, Kyle Lowry) or shoot for the rookies that may have a huge season, and be careful not to overpay - always look around the pricing list to see if you can get a cheaper price or lower serial number. Before making any sales, take a look at what the fair value might be on the website below and also take a look at the 'Pricing Helper' to see what the prices are for the same memory surrounding your serial number - the lower the serial number, the better. Also the player's jersey number is worth a ton!
A List of Resources. There are a ton of resources to be mindful of including this website to filter for good deals or Live Token to also find real-time deals (that often sell out immediately) and you can see the fair market value of the memories you personally own when you log in. You can also follow their discord for recent news about pack drops and changes to the site and join an active fanbase. I also like to follow the NBA volume/transaction value trends and player worth here. Lastly, you can follow the rookie moments and their worth here.
What am I doing today? Trying to offload a couple of my memories for a couple dollars profit (as I do - again, not retiring soon!) and queuing up for the All-New Hustle and Show Pack drop. This pack drop includes eight different Hustle and show common moments (serial numbers up to 18,000) and four additional Series 2 Base set moments with varying edition sizes. At $14, I'm confident this could easily result in $150+ in profits though unfortunately, I will not be getting one as I was randomly assigned to number 217,418 and that will not be low enough to get a pack with only 140,000 available. Luckily for my Dad, he is getting a pack and I will comment with his expected profitability.
Take a look at my showcase of memories I have casually collected here, please LIKE!
NBA Topshot is getting huge with over 800,000 users and market value eclipsing one billion dollars! Many memories (that may have cost $10 in a pack) are selling for $200,000+. This is not crypto's best kept secret by any means but I think it is the easiest way to make money in this scene. Because each pack has a limited supply, you will be my competition, but I am excited to share in this site's potential and really the potential for all blockchain and non-fungible token projects. As an added bonus, the Flow Blockchain is proof of stake and not proof of work which is far more environmentally friendly than Ethereum.