NBA Top Shot has seen explosive growth in recent weeks, but with that influx of collectors has come a variety of growing pains for Dapper Labs. Its collector base for the blockchain-based digital highlights is soaring, with packs selling out faster than ever and a bustling marketplace in constant flux. But with more and more people — including several NBA players — getting interested in Top Shot, the company may have figured out a way to get everyone what they want first and foremost: packs.
Top Shot announced plans early Saturday for a massive pack drop preorder in an effort to get everyone interested in the collectable a base pack of Moments. The drop, which is scheduled for Saturday starting at 10 am PST, will allow collectors to queue up over a four-hour period before Top Shot will let them all preorder a $9 pack of common Moments from its Series 2 collection.
“Given the growth that the NBA Top Shot community has shown of late, copping packs through drops has been all kinds of tough,” Dapper said in a release early Saturday. “To address this, our team has designed a pre-ordering system that will allow each collector to reserve themselves a new Release 21 Base Set pack without having to rely on good fortune in the random queue generator.”
This process could take a while and it’s another change to the way Top Shot sells its base packs, but one that makes sense given the demand the company has seen. In recent weeks, a queue would open up for collectors to join that randomly assigns them a place in line at a set time. Once the supply of packs is out, though, anyone too far back in the line would simply be out of luck. For some “stress tests,” that pack supply could be as small as 5,000 packs. But the demand has far outpaced the supply to say the least.
A release of a rare pack drop earlier this week, for example, was delayed a day because of what Dapper called suspicious bot activity — basically people writing programs to game the system and act as several humans in line in order to secure multiple packs. When the drop happened on Friday, Dapper saw more than 200,000 people lining up for what amounted to a little over 10,000 packs that cost $99 each. It’s an enormous demand for a fast-growing product, but it’s also left a lot of collectors disappointed and caused complaints for many people who are still trying to just get their first base back and start collecting.
Saturday’s drop a smart way to get that base of people excited about Top Shot and more immediately involved in the ecosystem, especially at a lower cost. A $9 pack of three moments is much more affordable than buying on the market right now: as of Saturday morning, the most affordable Moment there was an Ish Smith assist for $17.
And there is some upside to the deal: the packs Top Shot is promising in this preorder contains 52 new moments in the Series 2 base set, including some rookies that will have just 4,000 minted. The full list is here, and includes Moments like a LeBron James assist, a Giannis Antetokounmpo block, and other highlights from stars that are likely to be in high demand once packs actually arrive.
That is the catch, however: the packs won’t be released until sometime in March. Dapper promised an update for people by March 6 on their status so Saturday’s drop, while likely to be in the hundreds of thousands of packs, won’t actually hit collections for a few weeks. Top Shot acknowledged that this method “won’t come close” to meeting overall demand for Moments, but they’re carefully tweaking the market and its supply while trying to account for growth. And, depending on how it goes Saturday, it could be the model for its Common drops moving forward.
If you’re on the fence about giving Top Shot a chance, Saturday might be your best (and most affordable) opportunity to get involved in the community. You’ll just have to be patient, both in what’s likely to be a lengthy queue and a long wait to actually get your pack in a fortnight or so.