Can you ‘own’ a goal? Collectible NFTs rolling into elite soccer

Par scrills

LONDON, Sept 22 (Reuters) – It might have seemed a long shot a year ago when a company built a digital platform for basketball fans to buy and trade video highlights of NBA games that they could probably watch for free online.

It was more bewildering when some clips changed hands for tens, or even hundreds, of thousands of dollars.

These highlights, endorsed by the U.S. National Basketball Association, were sold as non-fungible tokens, or NFTs – crypto-assets that uses blockchain to authenticate their ownership, giving them a certain cachet and tradeable value. read more

The NBA Top Shot platform has proved so popular that the crypto company behind it, Dapper Labs, announced on Wednesday that it had raised $250 million and was now branching into soccer through a deal with Spain’s elite LaLiga division.

So just like some basketball fans – or speculators – have paid north of $200,000 for a video of a LeBron James slam dunk, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid enthusiasts will be able to « own » glorious goals by Karim Benzema or Luis Suarez.

While the whole concept leaves many people baffled, there’s serious money behind it.

Dapper Labs’ new investors include Singapore wealth fund GIC, which joins the likes of hedge fund Coatue, a16z and GV (formerly Google Ventures) in backing the three-year-old Vancouver-based company.

The numbers tell their own tale.

NBA Top Shot, launched in October last year, was among the first NFT products to take off as the sector gained popularity in early 2021. Monthly sales went from $1.5 million in December 2020 to $43.8 million in January, then peaked at $232 million in February. read more

But the growth slowed in the second quarter of the year. By June 2021, monthly sales were at $53.1 million. read more

Dapper Labs said the soccer platform would launch in June 2022 and allow people to buy NFTs of video « moments » from Spain’s top teams.