Off-Marketplace Transactions: Buying NBA Top Shot Packs Outside the Marketplace
In the middle of the pack drought where all of us are starving for packs, a lot of people are left finding other ways to buy packs to get their collections started. Although Top Shot has announced plans to allow pack selling in the marketplace sometime in the future, a lot of excited users just cannot wait. After all, that exhilarating moment of anticipating what is inside a pack can get quite addicting--which is why I may or may not be binging pack opening streams and videos on my free time.
But, as with anything that is not well-regulated, there are a lot of risks involved, and these risks are important to consider before dealing with off-marketplace transactions. NBA Top Shot has been clear with their stance that these transactions are not recommended, but if people are adamant to do it, I thought I'd give a preview of the process and risks involved.
So, how do people sell packs?
Say, Tom made a post on Discord that he is selling a rare pack and I happen to be interested in it. I then contact Tom and we agree to do a video call where I watch him open the pack. What Tom and I need to agree on is, who sends the goods first? Does he send the moments to me first? Or do I pay first to watch him open the pack?
The risks for either scenario is pretty big for both the buyer and the seller. What if Tom opens a pack with a #1 Steph Curry on it? Will he go through and send it to me or will he keep it for himself? What if the pack contents are undesirable? Will I go through with it or will I just ghost him and leave him with an open pack?
Referees can be a good solution. Referees are people who the buyer and the seller can trust. This trust can be because this referee is a known member of the community, or this referee is a known referee and have had tons of transactions done with handfuls of people that can vouch for them. When referees are involved, this is what usually happens: the buyer sends the money to the referee, and the seller sends a moment as some sort of collateral to the referee. This collateral, as well as the money, is released to the seller once the deal is done and the moments have been transferred. If the seller bails after opening the pack, both the collateral and money is sent to the buyer. If the buyer bails, the money is sent to the seller anyway.
Some referees do these transactions for free, but some charge a fee which I've seen can range from 5-10% of the sale price.
Note: Do as much research as possible to vet the referee you choose. NBA Top Shot do not have official referees. If anyone claims to be one, run.
Where can I find a referee?
If you belong in a Discord group, you can ask around for reputable referees. There are also some Facebook groups with the admins doing referee'ing for a fee.
There are always uncertainties when dealing with these transactions, and there are already a lot of horror stories floating around on deals gone bad. Getting a trusted referee mitigates some of that. Doing a deal without one opens you, as the buyer or seller, to a ton of risk (and possible heartbreak). This post, in no way, advertises doing off-marketplace transactions but advocates that you look at all the risks involved and what your tolerances for them are.
Have horror stories? Have other tips? Talk to me! Comment below or holler on Twitter @topshotnoobie.
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