A way in

Being Extremely Online and loving NBA basketball have fuelled an exciting and addictive new hobby which has also introduced me to the NFT space

Screencap by author

The first time I heard about bitcoin was in 2013. I was working at an advertising agency in Toronto and one of the developers in my department struck up a conversation about everyone’s favourite cryptocurrency. “So, it’s like money?” I asked, like an idiot.

He tried to explain bitcoin and bitcoin mining to me and I didn’t get it, especially the mining part. He explained it again and while I still didn’t really get it, I said I’d consider putting $1,000 or so into bitcoin if he could explain how to go about doing that. He tried to explain how but it didn’t make any sense to me. I never invested.

If I had thrown $1,000 (CAD) into bitcoin around my birthday in June of that year, my investment would currently be worth around $500,000 (CAD).¹

I don’t think about this much, and, when I do, I don’t really regret it. Sure, I wish I had that cool half mil in my bank account, but if I regret this I should also regret not buying $TSLA, $AAPL or $AMZN when I had money to invest—which I don’t.² Besides—if things could have happened any other way, they would have.³

That said, I filed the experience away in my head so I’d never hesitate to get in on (or near) the ground floor of something potentially lucrative—even if I didn’t understand all the nuts and bolts

A few weeks ago I didn’t know what a NFT was. I’d never even heard the term until it popped up in one of my group chats, and even then it was “NFT” and not “non-fungible token.”

From Wikipedia:

A non-fungible token (NFT) is a special type of cryptographic token which represents something unique; non-fungible tokens are thus not mutually interchangeable.

And, later:

Non-fungible tokens are used to create verifiable digital scarcity, as well as digital ownership, and the possibility of asset interoperability across multiple platforms. NFTs are used in several specific applications that require unique digital items like crypto art, crypto-collectibles and crypto-gaming.

I’m not an economist but I do understand that value is largely based on scarcity. If the details of that scarcity are explicitly denoted, then speculative investing becomes easier. Not simple, just easier.

Andrew Bernstein’s iconic LeBron James photo still rocks my world

In the case of NBA Top Shot, a digital collectables platform and marketplace I have been addicted to of late, a non-fungible token is like a basketball card, except instead of a static photo it’s a video “moment.”

For example: instead of a picture of LeBron James in mid flight on the front of a card made of paper and/or plastic, a Top Shot moment is a little video of that entire play. They’re called moments but my friends and I just call them cards because it’s easier that way.

Each moment is organized by serial number and different moments have different amounts of serials. An exceedingly rare moment might only have 50 or 99 serial numbers (moments) available while an exceedingly common one might have 15000+. Higher serial number moments are more sought after and valuable than lower ones; moments within “editions” that are hard-capped are more sought after and more valuable than those where there is what’s called a circulating count, meaning the “edition” doesn’t have a limited number.

In other words, a moment in an edition with 49 total moments is likely worth more than a moment in an edition with 15000+ total moments. And serial #20 in an extremely limited edition may well be worth more than serial #1 in an edition with a circulating count.

If you want a better understanding you could watch this video or just learn by doing—preferably by using my referral code, which costs you nothing and makes me nothing but helps me build up status points inside the Top Shot platform. (You’ll understand what that means soon.)

If you’re a prospective user/investor/whatever, you may want to get in sooner rather than later. In recent days and weeks, the world has been paying more and more attention to Top Shot, and it really looks like this thing is primed to go really, really wide really, really soon.

From Oddball, a newsletter I co-author with my friend Jonathan:

ESPN and The Athletic have covered it (read: caught up) in recent days, and Gary Vee and Mark Cuban have been telling their acolytes to go hard in the Top Shot paint.

This makes me feel my interest (okay, obsession) in Top Shot is justified. It also has me wondering when it’s not going to be just a little club for me and the other 50,000 (or so) users. Cuban, Vaynerchuk, ESPN, and The Athletic are among the first big names/publications to be blasting this thing towards the stratosphere.

Soon, they’ll be four of thousands.

¹Hindsight is 20/20 and I don’t really stress about things like this, but understanding what I could have had encourages my interest in Top Shot.

²I probably could have put together $10,000 USD to invest around my June birthday in 2017—but I didn’t do it. Based on what Stockchoker spit out, if I had put that money into $TSLA it would currently be worth $114,200.16; $AAPL it would be worth $38,118.01 USD; $AMZN it would be worth $33,503.80. Again, hindsight is 20/20 and I don’t really stress about things like this.

³Read the intro here for a bit more context on what I mean by this, and subscribe if you want to.

Internet problem solver guy person. Creator of DMail, the world’s first and only email newsletter.

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