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Blockchain CryptoKitties creator partners with NBA

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Today Dapper Labs announced a new blockchain collectibles app with the National Basketball Association (NBA) and National Basketball Players Association (NBPA). Dapper is the creator of the infamous CryptoKitties app which, for a month or two, because of its success overloaded the entire Ethereum network.

“Through NBA Top Shot basketball fans can engage with their favorite players, teams, and each other in entirely new ways” said Dapper Labs CEO Roham Gharegozlou. “We use the latest in blockchain technology to create assets and experiences that are guaranteed limited edition and authentic, not to mention portable and permanent in a way nothing digital has ever been before.”

The NBA Top Shot game sounds like a cross between collectibles and fantasy games. Users create an ideal squad, but “their rosters are built by acquiring live in-game moments from the NBA season.” In turn, these moments can be owned or used to compete in tournaments.

“Dapper Labs’ innovation and expertise make them a perfect partner to introduce this groundbreaking game and what we believe will become coveted digital collectibles for basketball fans around the world,” said Adrienne O’Keeffe, NBA Senior Director, Consumer Products & Gaming Partnerships.

NBA Top Shot collectibles will launch in the fall, with the game to follow in early 2020.

The new game presents a dilemma. On the one hand, many will hope this is another step towards broadening the appeal of blockchain. But at the same time, some will be concerned that Ethereum’s scalability issues have not yet been adequately addressed. And, as happened in late 2017, too much success could impact the rest of the network.

Ethereum 2.0 addresses scalability and the first launch phase is currently targeted for January 2020. As a plan B perhaps Dapper could leverage side chain technology? Dapper is already addressing security for non-crypto enthusiasts with their Dapper app which provides account recovery and fraud protection.

Dapper Labs has $28.75 million in funding from Andreessen Horowitz, Union Square Ventures, Venrock, GV (formerly Google Ventures), Coinbase and others.

There are two other organizations targeting collectibles and sports fan engagement that have signed up multiple partnerships with European soccer teams. Fantastec’s SWAP has signed Real Madrid, Arsenal and Borussia Dortmund. The company was founded by sports marketing veterans. And has deals with four soccer teams Juventus, Paris Saint Germain, West Ham and AS Roma.

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