Crypto Gold Rush: Sport-focused NFT Marketplace Raises 900+ million USD

The Coin Times
4 min readOct 19, 2021


New startups in the modern NFT market raised 900+ million USD dollars this week, emphasizing the appetite of crypto investors who lead the industry’s massive growth.

NFTs or non-fungible tokens are new in the digital assets world and are the fastest-growing phenomenon in the blockchain industry. They are digital assets, which represent the state of art for the ownership of virtual assets.

Unlike cryptocurrencies, NFTs are not fungible. We cannot exchange them with other digital currencies like fiat money or gold. Each NFT is unique and acts as a collectible item that is non-duplicable; however, we can visualize the NFT media on the Internet.

NFT Startups Dapper Labs and Sorare Touch The Sky

Dapper Labs, which makes virtual basketball cards, announced on Wednesday, September 22, 2021, that it raised 250 million USD in a funding round led by Coatue.

Bond, the investment firm of former Wall Street analyst Mary Meeker, and Singaporean sovereign wealth fund GIC also supported the round. After their support, the new round values ​​met 7.6 billion USD as per its market.

Sorare, a French fantasy football game containing NFT, also announced on Tuesday, September 21, 2021, that it pocketed 680 million USD in a bumper led by SoftBank. Private equity firms, Bessemer Ventures, Atomico, and IVP also invested with D1 Capital and Eurazeo. And most significantly, French soccer star Antoine Griezmann and former English player Rio Ferdinand are also the major investors in Sorare.

After this huge investment, crypto and blockchain startups have raised roughly 19 billion USD in venture capital this year. It nearly triples the 6.4 billion USD in the sports sector as blockchain history reveals.

NFTs In The Sports World Are Shaking The Value.

Various sports organizations are turning to NFT and other crypto assets for additional income. English Premier League club Manchester City, for example, has launched a breakthrough second NFT drop, following its victory after its first drop with Jon Noorlander, an Executive Creative Director and Artist, to mark another Premier League Label.

Meanwhile, several football clubs have introduced fan tokens, which allow owners to vote on mostly smaller club decisions and receive particular discounts. One user of fan tokens is Socios, which has teamed up with sports clubs such as Inter Milan, PSG, and Leeds under the ‘fan engagement tokens’ title.

Besides this, Dapper Labs NBA Top Shot platform allows users to share and collect highlights from basketball games in NFT form. The NBA provides them with a license for sports highlights and moments, which receives royalties for each transaction.

In addition, Dapper Labs has developed its blockchain for NFT. It previously used ETH tokens but moved away from that decentralized network after its popular digital pet game CryptoKitties caused slower transaction processing in 2017. It is currently in the process of migrating CryptoKitties to Flow.

After announcing its latest funding on Wednesday, Dapper Labs announced a partnership with LaLiga, Spain’s premier soccer league, to provide soccer fans with an NBA Top Shot-like experience. Dapper Labs plans to spend some fresh money on new experiences like paid trips to big games.

“Part of this funding will be used to expand the functionality of NBA Top Shot, develop a mobile product, and combine the digital collection experience with the experience of a fan who comes to a live game or even supports his team on the social networks.”

~ Roham Gharegozlou, CEO of Dapper Labs, told CNBC.

It comes a week after LaLiga announced a separate partnership with Sorare to add digital league player cards.

Sorare also plans to launch a mobile app and enroll in the top 20 soccer leagues by the end of 2022. Both Dapper Labs and Sorare hoped to use the social media followers of sports stars to spread their platforms.


The investment is valued at 4.3 billion USD for Sorare, making it the most valuable private technology company in France and one of the significant startups in Europe.