Sneakers in the Metaverse. The Rise of NFTs in the Kick Game.

NFTs are exploding in the sneaker market. Nike recently acquired RTFKT. Adidas is collaborating with Bored Ape Yacht Club. StockX is allowing buyers to purchase an NFT of a sneaker which can be exchanged for an actual physical pair at a later date. The rise of digital sneakers and collectibles is just getting started!

To start with a short explanation on NFTs. An NFT is a non-fungible token. Unlike crypto which can be replaced, for example, one bitcoin can be replaced for another, an NFT is wholly unique. They are part of the Ethereum blockchain which is a cryptocurrency but the difference between the Ethereum blockchain and the Bitcoin blockchain is that Ethereum supports NFTs. These work differently from a coin as they store extra information such as unique identifiers making them different from a crypto coin.

RTFKT was recently acquired by Nike with a focus on the creation of digital sneakers and artifacts. These use NFTs, blockchain authentication, and augmented reality. Their items are primarily for use in gaming and augmented reality applications. A unique feature of RTFKT is a feature called forging. This allows holders of tokens to exchange their tokens for the actual physical item of the owned NFT.

The first project Nike has released with Nike is called “Nike Cryptokicks”. The digital sneakers are based on the Nike Dunk which has made a major comeback as of late and is fetching huge resale prices on the physical market. However, the digital sneakers were only available to those who owned Mnlth which was a digital box that was airdropped to owners of a Clone-X which is a PFP (Picture for Proof) project RTFKT created in collaboration with the Japanese artist Takashi Murakami. At present they are fetching the equivalent of over $3000 on the NFT platform OpenSea.

Adidas has taken a slightly different route when it comes to NFTs. They linked up with Bored Ape Yacht Club, PUNKS comic and gmoney under ITM (Into the Metaverse). They allow holders of NFTs to exchange the NFT for physical items on their website (https://www.adidas.com/into_the_metaverse).

Prada has also linked up with Adidas launching a collaborative selection of images which were crowdsourced from 300 fans. These were then minted and sold as NFTs.

StockX has been allowing people to purchase NFTs of sneakers which can then be exchanged for a real pair at a later date. However, this has recently caught Nike’s attention and Nike could be taking legal action (https://www.complex.com/sneakers/nike-stockx-lawsuit-counterfeit-shoes-nfts-timeline/) against StockX soon.

Right now they are highly volatile and it is speculative as to whether they will hold their value in the future. They could become just another fad or early adopters could be sitting on a gold mine in the future. Either way, the use of NFTs in fashion and sneakers is an exciting development and it’s only just getting started.

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