The evolution of the sports NFT boom and the risks that still surround it – The Athletic

It’s been a year since NBA Top Shot took the collectibles world by storm and helped bring concepts like non-fungible tokens and blockchain into the wider public consciousness.

The chatter last winter centered on the eye-popping resale prices of nifty video clips of LeBron James dunks and Stephen Curry triples, which are presented as a sort of NBA-licensed digital trading card that could be collected or resold. on a secondary peer-to-peer market for hundreds, thousands, even hundreds of thousands of dollars.

People were quick to point out that the highlights are available for free on YouTube and elsewhere, but buyers appreciated the unique, serialized digital ownership of a specially formatted and licensed clip – that’s where blockchain technology comes into play, acting as a public ledger for every NFT Transaction – and the ability to flip them for profit.

Other NFT projects soon emerged, including a digital painting that sold for $69 million – the kind of deals that capture global attention and fuel new interest in a novel concept for the mainstream.

The sudden emergence of NBA Top Shot also energized the pullback against NFTs, blockchain and cryptocurrency. Critics point out that the energy needed for such technology is bad for Earth’s environment, and that many crypto and NFT projects are risky speculation or even outright scams that inflate a financial bubble.

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