The creator of CryptoKitties has teamed up with the NBA (via Shutterstock).
Ethereum,  Technology

NBA, CryptoKitties creator team up

Basketball-themed digital collectables, gaming will bring hoops stars onto the blockchain

The company behind viral blockchain hit CryptoKitties has signed a deal with the NBA to create basketball-themed digital collectables.

On Wednesday, blockchain developer Dapper Labs announced the creation of NBA Top Shot, which will offer tokens featuring images of specific on-the-court moments. 

Aside from being collectables on their own, the NBA Top Shots tokens will be the basis of a fantasy league-style online game in which players to compete head-to-head or in leagues. The moments tokens are scheduled to launch this fall, while the game itself will go live in 2020.

Unlike a traditional fantasy league in which participants collect and trade players to build a team that wins or loses over a season based on those players’ on-court activities in each game, NBA Top Shots players will collect individual moments, such as a Kevin Durant three-point shot or a Joel Embiid dunk. 

These tokens “can then be either owned forever or used to compete against other players in online tournaments and leagues on-chain,” Dapper Labs said in a release. Promising innovative team-building mechanics and gameplay simpler than traditional fantasy leagues, it will be usable by all ages, the company said.

Calling the game “groundbreaking,” NBA senior director of consumer products & gaming partnerships Adrienne O’Keeffe predicted that the NBA Top Shots tokens “will become coveted digital collectibles for basketball fans around the world.”

Aside from being a new way for fans to connect with their favorite players, National Basketball Players Association executive vice president of licensing Josh Goodstadt said, “[w]e believe blockchain technology creates a truly unique product that fans can collect, manage, and engage within a fun environment, and we are excited to partner with Dapper Labs to introduce these groundbreaking digital assets to the NBA community.”

Built on the Ethereum blockchain, the digital assets will be “guaranteed limited edition and authentic, not to mention portable and permanent in a way nothing digital has ever been before,” said Roham Gharegozlou, CEO of Dapper Labs. 

The NBA Top Shots tokens are built on non-fungible ERC-721 tokens, each of which is unique and unchangeable.

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Leo Jakobson, Modern Consensus editor-in-chief, is a New York-based journalist who has traveled the world writing about incentive travel. He has also covered consumer and employee engagement, small business, the East Coast side of the Internet boom and bust, and New York City crime, nightlife, and politics. Disclosure: Jakobson has put some 401k money into Grayscale Bitcoin Trust.