Is Nike About to Start Selling Digital Sneakers You Can’t Actually Wear?

nike nft

If you’re not yet familiar with NFTs, you will be soon. NFTs or non-fungible tokens are an emerging arm of the crypto-ecosystem, by which people online are able to purchase and own completely unique and irreplaceable digital items linked to the blockchain by the exchange of various cryptocurrencies. There are a lot of words in there, we know, so to put it simply, let’s call them a digital collector’s item.

An NFT can be anything really; an artwork, a sculpture, even a house. The market has predominantly been dominated by artists and designers since its inception some four years ago, but more and more, high-end fashion brands are jumping on board the trend and listing a collection of unique, digital-only garments.

Earlier this month, Gucci began selling virtual sneakers for US $11.99. A bargain in comparison to the label’s wearable shoes, but of course, these ones will never actually be physically worn. Another brand, RTFKT, recently launched and sold out of its digital sneaker range in seven minutes, making a whopping US $3.1 million in the process.

Now, there’s talk Nike could start playing the NFT game, and there’s convincing evidence to suggest the sportswear giant is gearing up to launch a digital offering called CryptoKicks. According to Benzinga, Nike Inc. was granted a patent in 2019 that calls for a “system and method for providing cryptographically secured digital assets”.

“Blockchain control logic for mining, intermingling and exchanging blockchain enabled digital shoes” is also part of the patent Nike received, according to the publication.

Furthermore, CryptoKicks owners will apparently have the option to “intermingle or breed the digital shoe with another digital shoe to create ‘shoe offspring’ and have the offspring made as a new, tangible pair of shoes”.

The patent was first submitted in April 2019 and was granted towards the end of that year. Of course, Nike has not yet launched any kind of NFT offering, but we’ll be keeping a keen eye out for this one.

The technology and notion of NFTs are still pretty new to many, however, it’s predicted to stick around for some time. Speaking to The Business of Fashion, Wanna CEO Sergey Arkhangelskiy said:

“In five or maybe 10 years a relatively big chunk of fashion brands revenue will come from digital products. Our goal as a company is to actually supersede the product photos… and substitute it for something which is way more engaging and closer to offline shopping.”

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