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NBA TopShot ecosystem startup MomentRanks raises seed funding from Dapper Labs


MomentRanks, a startup that tracks non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and enables collectors to engage with each other around their digital assets, has raised $1.7 million in a seed round funding. NBA TopShot creator Dapper Labs and Boston Seed Capital led the investment.

One of the biggest criticisms of NBA Top Shot is that there is no use for the NFTs outside of the marketplace. The highlights can be seen for free on YouTube, and engagement around the ownership of NFTs is not necessarily targeted at basketball fans. “It’s an NBA product for NFT fans as opposed to an NFT product for NBA fans,” one user wrote on Reddit.

MomentRanks can change this. The platform launched in February of 2021, right around the time that Top Shot’s popularity skyrocketed. It is dedicated to empowering collectors to start a conversation around the collection and add value to their digital collectibles. It also offers a ranking of accounts, sales data on Top Shot, and recent listings.

In addition, there is the possibility of creating fantasy games based on the Top Shot moments. A new feature on the platform, Play, enables users to line up their moments, compete for prizes, and get ranked among other users on the performance of their highlights. Play is Top Shot’s first fantasy sports game and it takes place daily. Although Dapper Labs does not own MomentRanks, this feature addresses the complaint that there is no use to the NFTs outside of Top Shot’s marketplace. 

As of now, the platform is solely dedicated to Top Shot. When a user signs up, it automatically connects the account with Top Shot’s account (likely based on email), and if the user does not have an account with Top Shot, there are instructions to get the account verified. 

The funding for MomentRanks will be used to scale the infrastructure and grow the team of data scientists and engineers. Since the startup was created to target Top Shot playesr, it is unclear whether it is looking to onboard other NFT sports initiatives. 

One aspect to consider is that, on public blockchains, for a fantasy game to reference an NFT issue by another platform, it is ideal for both platforms to run on the same blockchain. For example, Topp’s MLB digital collectibles runs on the WAX blockchain, which would pose challenges if MomentRanks was to partner with them. 

Nevertheless, MomentRanks brings a lot to Top Shot. Besides adding more utility to the NFTs, it is creating an environment that is more focused on the engagement aspect of NFTs as opposed to its transactional value. 

“With a product designed to help empower collectors, MomentRanks has quickly become a trusted destination for the NFT community,” said Roham Gharegozlou, CEO of Dapper Labs. “Hundreds of thousands of people already use MomentRanks’s platform each month, and we’re beyond thrilled to support its leadership team on their rapid growth track.”

Meanwhile, Dapper Labs also participated in a $65 million round of funding for NFT developer Genies. Dapper Labs itself raised $305 million in funding at a $2.2 billion valuation in late March and is in talks to raise more funds at a $7.5 billion valuation. You can read more about Dapper Labs future plans here

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