NBA Top Shot and the World of Digital Collectibles

Top Shot has gained traction with more than 50,000 users having bought in and spent more than $65 million in the process.

Jeremy Levine was just checking his phone quickly before heading out to spend a January Sunday morning skiing in Lake Tahoe. Instead, within minutes, he was spending $100,000 to buy a 13-second Zion Williamson highlight.

The play, Williamson soaring and swatting a Malik Beasley shot into the stands — his first career block — from a game on Jan. 24, 2020, is available to watch for free.

But Levine didn’t buy to watch it per se, though it is a particularly impressive display of Williamson’s elite leaping ability. He bought it because he’s hoping this encapsulated video clip, which he doesn’t own the exclusive rights to, will eventually jump in value from six figures to seven.

“This could go 10x, 100x or go to zero,” said Levine, who has launched and sold several daily fantasy sports companies over the past decade. “I’m an early adopter and I’m excitable.”

Levine’s excitement is over a new digital collectible called NBA Top Shot. Digital as in not tangible, a slice of data that exists only on the internet. But it’s 2021, and this concept isn’t just accepted by a wide range of collectors but also speculators and investors, many of whom identified this new kind of asset as the next big thing.

The NBA and its players are in on the action.

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