Why I am betting on the Seeing Stars

28 days ago I published “Why I am betting on whale” and when I finished writing it the price of whale token fell below my purchasing price. FOMO strikes and worse I documented it all online. Find that article here.

I feel the same way today writing about why I am betting on the Seeing Stars. I recklessly purchased all of the Seeing Stars when I internally pulled the trigger on centering my collection on this set. It was a big change in collection strategy for me but I believe I hit a homerun doing so even though my purchase price for the 24 moments was roughly $6,422. That Whale article aged well, let’s double down on it and document this next investment.

Buying the set for $6,422 is no where near optimized. It’s likely that the first readers of this article will detect a loss at this purchase price. Nevertheless, I am confident this article will age well and that my complete Seeing Stars collection set will ultimately earn life changing money for me.

“Earning life changing money” should evoke skepticism and I was full of skepticism with NBA Top Shot for a while. The unpopular but true reality of NBA Top Shot is the perception that users are solely motivated to purchase moments and packs because of the expected increase in resale value. Personally, I prioritize the intrinsic value in the investments I make and I have always had doubt about where it exists in Top Shot moments.

In the quest for discovering intrinsic value, I started with Serge Kassardjian in the third burning conversation. See that conversation here.

My biggest takeaway from that conversation was that the license that the dapper team struck with the NBA was the zero-sum value of Top Shot moments. In other words, if no one cares to buy anymore moments and the code for each Top Shot Moments cannot be sold for any money; the moments are at least tied to the licensing agreement between the dapper and the NBA.

I think this concept is important because this licensing agreement provides some sort of backbone to the Top Shot platform. At minimum, the NBA is tied to dapper as money is being exchanged between the two parties. When money gets exchanged that’s proverbially getting in bed with one another. The NBA has proven it has no tolerance for funny business and sleeping with scam artists would not be in their best interest. That’s my roundabout way of suggesting that the NBA’s public reputation stands as collateral for Top Shot giving me confidence that the early meteoric rise isn’t the sign of a bursting bubble.

Beyond this zero-sum value, there are definitely questions that persist about NBA Top Shot. I think it’s important to watch this negative video about NBA Top Shot and understand the arguments made. See the video here.

I agree that the currently utility of NBA Top Shot moments is not clearly defined. These digital collectibles don’t do much besides sit in your virtual wallet for everyone to see. I do think it’s clear that digital ownership in time will feel more and more tangible but nevertheless still a problem for the unimaginative consumer. This problem is what had in the past prevented me from making a larger investment into Top Shot. Not knowing exactly what these moments do as well as having no clue about the specifics of the new supply before it arrives was concerning for me.

If I were to make a juxtaposition to Bitcoin, Satoshi clearly illustrates the purpose for the protocol as enabling peer to peer transactions without the need for a middleman. It is true that Bitcoin today is thought of by many as a store value resulting in internal conflict among Bitcoin advocates. In this sense, Top Shot won’t be plagued with the same issue. That being said, where does Top Shot go to illustrate its utility? I have a couple thoughts as to how these moments will garner utility.

The first and most intriguing path toward utility is the new concept of Tokenized Fandom. When Josh Hart had his first show about Top Shot with Roham, I thought what Roham said was striking. See that 45 second clip here.

This idea that moments will award you special privileges when we can all go back to NBA games in person is fascinating. I remember shortly before the pandemic, my girlfriend and I went to a minor league hockey game. Every stoppage in play created an opportunity for some sort of promotion, beer was cheap and everyone in attendance left with some sort of memorabilia. The highlight of the night was when a special fan was recognized for attending their 100th straight home contest and earned the right to watch the second period in the home team’s penalty box. Pretty cool experience for that super fan to hang out with the 4th line winger for 2 minutes as he was serving his high sticking penalty late in the second period.

It was an exciting fan experience but lacked the sincerity of household player names skating on the ice. The crowd was at full capacity and would at times lose energy when play restarted after an entertaining promotional timeout. However, that super fan who spent their 100th game in the penalty box cemented their fandom for life. The unique experience that no one else in the stadium could experience is what Top Shot can offer and the opportunities are truly endless.

The second utility case is seen in Swyysh Fantasy. Swyysh is a weekly fantasy contest in which users create their lineup for the week and collecting points congruent to the moment they own. Winners of the Swyysh Fantasy week will now be eligible for free packs surely incentivizing more and more users to play. To see how to play Swyysh fantasy check out this video here.

I have always contended that more mainstream NBA Fans will make the connection to a more robust fantasy basketball experience. The opportunity to buy and sell moments that you can use for your weekly lineup should intrigue the more basketball centered top shot user. Playing general manager on the marketplace and constructing your lineup as a coach in my opinion will energize a lot of new users.

A unique fan experience is definitely what Top Shot can provide and I think it’s okay that it isn’t roadmapped to a script. An early tweet from Roham rings to mind.

The question becomes how will Top Shot evolve? That’s an impossible question and to suggest that I have the answer is outrageous. However, what I do see evolving is the focus of the developers in the coming weeks channeled toward sustainability of their product. This past week all of the focus was making sure the market was scaled up to current demand. You saw them tweeting about all of their new hires (many of whom were women!) and seemingly establishing their infrastructure.

To me it makes the most amount of sense to evolve the platform by providing more incentive to the challenge rewards. My speculation is collectors will earn new privileges from their dedicated efforts of holding moments that other users are flipping for profits.

It’s no secret that those who went after the Cool Cats in the second round found little to no profits and that is a huge barrier for future challenges. It’s my opinion that the whole point of challenges being introduced to the top shot ecosystem is to reward the good behavior of collecting and holding moments. If future challenge reward moments and the moments needed for the reward devalue, less and less collectors will be incentivized to complete said challenges. Take a look at the cool cat 2 challenge graph by Steef at rookshot.market.

Even with the reward of Anthony Davis, it was clearly cost prohibitive to complete this second cool cat challenge. Time will tell if it will be worth it for collectors who go on and finish the LaMelo Mega Challenge of all 4 cool cat challenges.

These numbers scared me at first. Frightening really. It screams to me that finishing challenges is worthless. If you really want the reward you can go ahead and purchase it on the marketplace afterward for a better price.

For all of these reasons, I am speculating that the composition of challenges will change. The developers are not going to sit idly by and allow challenges to continue to grow more and more cost prohibitive. The developers have made it incredibly clear that this project is a 100+ year ordeal and the measures being taken this week were sacrifices for the long term health of the platform.

I am making my bet on the Seeing Stars collection because I believe collectors of this compete challenge will be rewarded handsomely. If it is true that the dapper team is in it for the long haul, then it is logical to further incentive collectors from at least holding onto challenge rewards. Literally as I am writing this article, Roham posts this tweet.

It is my continued speculation that we will learn that reward moments will have special value in some regard. I believe it may be best realized in the HardCourt application to which the public knows very little about. Further, I won’t be surprised when collectors who hold moments and finish challenges get special privileges. Whether it be access to discord channels not available to the public or more exciting privileges such as pack queue shortcuts or added unknown reward moments, I believe this “magic” is coming.

It is my continued speculation that a collector score or measure of how much of a true NBA Top Shotter you are is coming. Thus, your top shot status will be pumped up as more important than the value of the moments on the marketplace.

My speculation is simple-very soon it will be more profitable to own moments that it will be to sell them.

If it’s true that the HardCourt application is going to be some sort of basketball game spinoff, I can’t imagine a team you would rather try to win with than the All Star team. Either way, I will own the complete set of Seeing Stars in the first season of Top Shot including KD and Lebron (I am planning on just buying the Mike Conley reward once completed). If it is unprofitable, I will at least have a decent array of options to play swyysh fantasy with and potentially earn more packs.

I can’t see a bullish Top Shot scenario in which collectors who finish challenges continually find diminishing returns. The Cool Cat Mega Challenge is a larger more difficult challenge and perhaps it was predictable that the 2nd round of 4 was cost prohibitive at the end. It will fit my position that the LaMelo Mega Challenge reward will hold special privileges not yet known to the community.

I just don’t know how you can read tweets like this and not be somewhat confident that more “magic” is coming.

I want to be clear that I am rooting my collection strategy and this article on my intuition and speculation from what I have seen in the platform from a healthy distance behind my computer screen. Despite my best efforts, I am in no way connected to NBA Top Shot. I’m just a guy who believes the Seeing Stars Set will skyrocket in value due to the how I believe the developers will change the game in coming weeks.

I started writing this article when Whale hit $50 (3/13).I woke up the next morning to make a final edit on this article and the price plummeted sub $30. YIKES.

I was humbled to learn of a hack that was responsible for the price dive of Whale token. My early understanding is that only 2.17% of the whale token supply was compromised. Further, the hack occurred on the social token issuer’s hot wallet which at least assures me that the whale token I own is safe. I think we will quickly see $50/Whale token soon but it’s a healthy reminder to not get money drunk on unrealized gains.

This is what happens when you speculate, there is something you hadn’t considered and it surprises you. Ultimately, I am fortunate that I have that angel on my right side that forbids me to invest money online that I cannot lose but the FOMO devil is sometimes too much to handle. I do not need any money that I put online and for that reason I can ride the short term volatility both in Whale and in the Seeing Stars (not to mention the rest of my Top Shot collection).

When you make moves on speculation, such as the one I’m advocating for here, you have to admit to yourself that you do not know everything nor do you have control of the situation. Is it possible that I am right about developers incentivizing challenge reward holders but not doing so for the Seeing Stars? Absolutely. Further, I could be totally wrong about Top Shot’s bullish future and/or the developers future handling of challenges at large.

For this reason, I only gamble with money I can stomach losing and I have to live with whatever FOMO remains. There is no FOMO worse than not having enough cash for the next opportunity.

In short, I caution anyone reading this that there’s a million ways this gamble on the Seeing Stars goes sideways. That being said, it’s my position that in 3–6 months time that each seeing star moment is worth at minimum $1,000 for reasons we have yet to learn as a community.

The biggest lesson I learned from the pandemic is that no matter what, you just have to keep moving. It’s important to understand the past and learn from your mistakes, but you can’t dwell on them. Hustle with your convictions, learn and search for the next hustle.

I have strong convictions about Top Shot moving forward and the Seeing Stars move definitely gets puts me in a position to either sell the set at a silly profit or enjoy the fruits of new rewards. I could be wrong, but I’m not betting on that.

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