Gary Vaynerchuck-Backed Swoops Raises $3.5 Million for NFT Basketball Game


The NFT basketball game Swoops, built on Ethereum sidechain Polygon, has raised $3.5 million, led by Courtside Ventures and Alpaca VC. Entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk, DraftKings CEO Jason Robins, Slow Ventures, and Red Beard Ventures were among those also joining the round.

Swoops is a basketball strategy game in the daily fantasy sports (DFS) genre where every player is a tradable NFT.

“This is truly a game of skill with multiple user profiles and journeys, whether that be owner, investor, or manager. The goal here is not just to be a simple game, but rather a full ecosystem for others to build upon,” Alpaca VC General Partner David Goldberg said in a statement.

NFTs are unique blockchain tokens that signify ownership over an asset, like a piece of digital art or an in-game asset. In this case, each Swoops NFT signifies a unique in-game character, each with special skills and attributes. The initial mint of 500 or so will be on mainnet (Ethereum), with the remaining 10,000 minted for the public drop this summer on Polygon. The plan is to add more players every season.

Swoops is a DFS game played with NFTs. Image: Swoops

Swoops NFT owners will be granted full commercial ownership over the IP of their players, meaning they can use them however they like. But it’s worth noting that each character will age over time, so a player’s attributes, stats, and appearance also will change. Regardless, holders will be able to buy, sell, and even stake player NFTs.

While some may not like how their NFT characters age in the game, Swoops lets users assemble teams of players to earn real money.

After the NFTs are minted (primary sale) and revealed in May, Swoops will launch a free-to-play version of the game in July so users can get a sense of the gameplay.

In September, Swoops is planning to host tournaments where NFT holders can play and earn winnings, and by December, there are plans for a real-life Swoops conference in Miami for the game’s more hardcore fans.

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