After launching a Discord server, the NBA teases Ethereum NFTs for the playoffs


Following the success of NBA Top Shot, the NBA is stepping up its NFT and Web3 efforts—and it’s headed to Ethereum.

The NBA officially created a new Twitter stream called NBAxNFT earlier this week, with the goal of “showcasing everything that intersects basketball and Web3, including NFTs, gaming, and the metaverse.”

The NBA has built a Discord server as part of that initiative—which now has more than 30,000 members—and revealed intentions this afternoon to produce Ethereum NFTs connected to the current season’s playoffs, which begin tomorrow.

While Dapper Labs’ NBA Top Shot is one of the largest NFT projects to date, having helped establish the concept of digital sports collectibles and propelling NFTs into the mainstream, it now appears that the pro basketball league plans to expand into additional NFT and Web3 initiatives—including Ethereum NFTs—in light of this season’s playoffs.

“To whet your appetite, we’re working on an NFT project to commemorate the NBA Playoffs,” the statement adds. “We are not yet prepared to reveal specifics—that will come shortly.”

According to the article, the server’s first 10,000 users will be allowed to add an Ethereum wallet address to an allowlist by 5 p.m. ET on Saturday, and those who meet the cutoff will be “assured access to mint an NFT from this project.” Minting the NFTs will be completely free, with the exception of Ethereum network gas expenses.

Given that this new initiative is based on Ethereum, it is very improbable that Dapper Labs and NBA Top Shot are connected directly. NBA Top Shot is based on Flow, Dapper’s own blockchain technology, which is developed to support high-volume NFT businesses after encountering issues with early NFT project CryptoKitties.

Decrypt contacted Dapper Labs to inquire about its role in the new NBA effort, but did not get a response immediately.

According to the NBA’s Discord channel, this new NBAxNFT venture is not centered on a specific NFT release, but rather on a range of prospective Web3 initiatives.

“Like @NBAxNFT on Twitter, this Discord server is the NBA’s official home for basketball and Web3 enthusiasts to participate, discuss, and learn about current and future NBA initiatives and collaborations,” the statement says. “This does not apply to any particular NFT project. It’s a forum for this group to connect around shared interests.”

Socios, a cryptocurrency platform that hosts dozens of fan tokens for European soccer teams and other sports and esports organizations, has progressively grown in the United States via a series of acquisitions.

An NFT functions similarly to a blockchain-based receipt, establishing ownership of an item. They are often used for digital things like artwork, sports souvenirs, and video game merchandise. In 2021 alone, the broader NFT industry produced $25 billion in trading activity.

The NBA has submitted a trademark registration in the United States for the name “The Association,” which would incorporate a range of NFT-related projects, from collectibles to game tickets and apparel.

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