Dapper Labs is an NFT company using the power of play to bring fun and games to the blockchain. They are the team behind CryptoKitties, an early NFT game that was so popular, it sent Ethereum gas fees skyrocketing in 2017 and made the blockchain unusable for a period of time. Dapper Labs learned from this experience and developed the Flow blockchain with the intention of building applications that break into the mainstream. Fast forward to today, and they have already achieved that goal by many metrics.
Breaking Into the Mainstream With NBA Top Shot
Dapper Labs attributes their success to having fun with things that people already love and building communities around fandom. When Dapper Labs created NBA Top Shot, they enhanced the fan experience and captured the passion of NBA games with Top Shot moments, collectible video highlights of players making exciting plays. NBA Top Shot is a hit, achieving over $750 million worth of sales and over 1.26 million users. NBA Top Shot is officially licensed by the NBA and the NBA Players Association also shares in its success.
While Top Shot’s momentum has been impressive, Dapper Labs recently signed a deal with the NFL and the NFL Players Association, and other sports leagues including the UFC, La Liga, WNBA, and the ICC through valued partners to launch similar officially licensed NFTs.
Next Stop… DAOs!
Dapper Labs sees the next big opportunity as DAOs.
DAOs enable any group, company, or organization to raise and spend funds on projects that advance mutually agreed upon goals. DAO members make important decisions like setting their long term priorities and deciding how contributors get paid through token voting. DAOs regularly pay for a wide variety of tasks including marketing, smart contract development, and community management.
DAOs allow internet-native communities to trust that funds are responsibly spent because blockchain technology enables levels of financial transparency that were previously impossible. DAO members can easily track the movement of funds using a blockchain explorer or a custom interface. This unprecedented level of transparency enabled the creation of DAOs that maintain and improve leading DeFi protocols, pool funds to make investments similar to a venture capital firm, and pay for community events.
Dapper Labs shared their vision for DAOs with Quantstamp:
“Just as we see blockchain decentralize the web, DAOs pave the way for the decentralization of social media and the democratization of online shared-interest communities. Through our acquisition of Brud and the launch of Dapper Collectives, we're focused on bringing community ownership and collective building to Dapper Labs products –– starting with Lil Miquela and her 10 million fans; building and releasing open source tools to help other mainstream communities engage in decentralized ownership and governance on Flow blockchain; and helping the most forward-thinking “web 2” companies decentralize their operations, engaging at the CEO and Board of Directors level to assist in tokenomics as well as technical implementation.”
To date, Dapper raised over $600 million from investors. Most of the funds were raised in March ($305 million) and September ($250 million) 2021. Notable investors include Michael Jordan, over 20 other athletes, Andreessen Horowitz, and Coatue Ventures. Coatue Ventures is a branch of Coatue Management, a firm with over 48 billion assets under management (AUM) in Q1 of 2021.
Dan Rose, the Chairman of Coatue Ventures, made the following statement after Dapper’s March funding round:
“We think Dapper Labs is a leader in the space at the infrastructure level with the Flow blockchain and at the application layer with NBA Top Shot. We continue to be impressed by Roham’s [Gharegozlou, CEO] strong leadership and vision and we could not be more proud to partner with him and the entire team at Dapper.” (source)
Originally created by Dapper Labs, Flow now has a thriving ecosystem.
“Over 5000 developers are building on Flow today. It's an open platform for anyone to build on and we're seeing projects like Matrix World, with NFTs for their metaverse, Seussibles, CNN, RCRDSHP, Jambb, Cryptoys, Gaia, and many more established and emerging from a plethora of incredible categories,” says Mickey Maher, SVP of Partnerships at Dapper Labs.
BloctoBay, a new non-custodial NFT marketplace similar to OpenSea, recently launched in beta and CNN is already selling NFTs based on historical events on the marketplace. Developers are also building tools to store NFT metadata on IPFS, a decentralized storage solution—and these are just a few of the things happening in the Flowverse.
In order to keep people up-to-date with ecosystem developments, the Flowverse website was launched. This website lists streamable speaking events, upcoming NFT drops for sports, music and art fans, and projects building on Flow.
The Foresight and Leadership of Dapper Labs
Dapper Labs is consistently ahead of the curve in the blockchain industry. Dapper Labs recognized the potential of NFTs with CryptoKitties way back in 2017, and also foresaw that sports fans would gravitate to digital collectibles. In addition to their foresight, it also took tremendous leadership to convince the NBA of the value of NFTs at a time when most companies struggled to understand the value of blockchain technology.
Dapper Labs now has the foresight to bring DAOs to the mainstream. Only this time, in addition to their leadership and technical ability, Dapper Labs’ track record of success will convince more traditional organizations to join the fold.
Quantstamp has an ongoing security relationship with Dapper Labs and will continue to secure digital assets on Flow.