NBA Top Shot ("Top Shot") was my NFT appetiser. I got in about 20 months ago, when I heard Mark Cuban talk about it.
Top Shot is about Moments and Packs of Moments. A Moment is a digital highlight - a player making a shot, a steal, maybe a dunk.
The same Moment could be held by a few hundred, or thousands of collectors. Each Moment has a serial number. Lower serial number = higher value.
Is a Moment an NFT? Yes and no. Yes, because it's a digital file unique to the owner. No, because as of now you can't send Moments to different crypto wallets.
I knew I wasn't early. But I didn't think I was late. I was definitely chasing a story. Which was, that folks were buying Moments for a few bucks then reselling them for thousands of bucks. I didn't get in to get rich, I got in to experience the story.
I was new to NFTs, learning in tech always comes with a cost. I thought the worst that'd happen is I'd end up with some Moments that at some point would be worth half of what I paid.
If I could get what I paid for my Moments I'd be done with Top Shot. Definitely not buying more Moments. Not because I'm crying foul for not making any money. All because the story I was chasing was over months before I got in. Because I think Top Shot is gambling and worse.
I'm not in or out. No different than a junkie using drugs to quit doing drugs - "I'll just smoke a little today". I rationalize it by telling myself I'm just spending $9 or $14 for new packs. Maybe I'll hit a good pack, when I do I'm done. Top Shot is a bad habit I can't seem to break. I'm essentially gambling or practicing lotto thinking
Top Shot also feels like religion. Because I'm praying my Moments will be worth something. Just kidding. I don't pray for anything -- except rain. My god do we need rain.
Back to religion. They keep sending me emails, telling me that if I just increase my "collector score" I'll have a better chance at scoring primo packs. That's no joke Scientology – keep paying money to reach new levels, but once you get to that level it's not enough, you gotta get to the next level – pay up bucko.
Revised: Top Shot feels like gambling, the lotto, and religion.
I'm going to see Phish's tour opener in two weeks. Can't wait. I'm reminded of this line, from "Kill Devil Falls"
"I didn't plan to stop at the bar but Kill Devil Falls is really so far
Who knew a day would turn into a week
But I learned my lesson and can still remember the last one
But this time will be different until I do it again"
Every time I get a pack that's worth less than I paid, which is all the time, or don't get a primo pack, which is all the time, I get angry. I go to sell everything I have, but remember how far underwater I am. But that still doesn't keep me from dumping. What stops me is wondering how long it'll be before I get my money from them. Their Discord is full of complaints that getting money back from Top Shot is a hassle. Sort of like Vegas - they'll carry you into the casino. Wanna leave? You're on your own.
No doubt about it, Top Shot was great for the early ones. I'm sincerely happy for them. Especially those in the struggle - that turned a couple hundred bucks into a few hundred grand. Good, no, fucking great for them.
There are some in crypto who think NBA Top Shot was great for NFTs, because it brought exposure. I can see their point, I don't have a clear counterpoint other than, "You're happy saying an app that's essentially gambling is what created your exposure"?
Top Shot sells a story that was over months ago. Unless they rethink everything, no one but gamblers should do it. Buying their packs and hoping for a score is gambling, lotto thinking. It develops bad habits that become really hard to break. If my son was doing Top Shot I'd take away his computer.
Top Shot knows my persona, their messaging is carefully crafted to hook me. Makes sense, because the NBA's biggest sponsor is a gambling app.
Maybe I do have a clear counterpoint.