Keywords: Digital Nikes, Nike's NFT Sneakers
In the last several months, we've seen various digital artists creating and selling NFT sneakers. The reception has been more than warm, with hundreds of people paying thousands of dollars each for digital pairs they will of course never be able to wear in real life. And the positive reception to these NFT sneakers has according to Engadget led Nike to purchase a successful NFT startup to assist in the design of the company’s next generation of digital sneakers.
It's a fascinating development, and one that opens up a lot of interesting questions for those interested in sneaker culture and NFT ecosystems.
Many RTFKT pairs can currently be found in the popular NFT marketplace OpenSea, so it's very likely that the first Nike releases, at least, will also be found there. With regard to which metaverses will allow you to "wear" your digital sneakers, we know that RTFKT has already worked with popular applications like MetaverseMe and Ready Player Me. Having said that, it's not yet clear what would be the most convenient alternative for Nike –– to make its virtual sneakers compatible with as many metaverses as possible, or to sign an exclusivity deal with a particular application in the future.
In order to purchase an NFT generally, you need a digital wallet –– basically a service that keeps track of your cryptocurrencies and NFTs. The financial advice platform AskMoney discussed NFT wallets in an article not long ago, using the popular example of MetaMask to explain the concept a bit further. Basically, this and other options like it are apps into which you can transfer cryptocurrency and store the digital files representing your NFTs. Notably, MetaMask and Ledger in particular support Ethereum transactions –– which might be crucial to securing digital Nike products. Currently, most RTFKT NFTs are found on the OpenSea marketplace, which is Ethereum-based.
As we’ve recently explored, the lines between Jordan Brand and Nike are a bit blurred, but Nike does in fact own Air Jordans. However, given how important the Air Jordans are within sneaker culture, with each release being highly anticipated and also influential, it’s natural for Nike to be a bit protective of this brand. Having said that, the company has had no problems entrusting innovative designers with creating Air Jordans in the past, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise if Nike announces a collaboration with metaverse designers that have previously worked with RTFKT like –– Takashi Murakami or Fewocious.
The NBA 2K video game franchise has been allowing players to purchase digital items like shirts, shoes, and even very expensive collecting cards for years. As successful as this virtual economy is though, it has yet to implement blockchain technology, which would be necessary for the purchase of NFT sneakers. Of course, this doesn’t mean such a move wouldn't be highly profitable for both Nike and 2K Games. But we will probably have to wait for one or two more titles before we see the first Nike NFT sneakers in the series.
The sneaker market is not a stranger to high-priced collectibles, with fans paying hundreds if not thousands of dollars for highly sought pairs. However, this pales in comparison to the values reached by popular NFT sneakers. In a recent collaboration with artist Fewocious, RTFKT sold three NFT sneaker models priced at $3,000, $5,000, and $10,000 respectively. During the seven-minute period the sale lasted, 621 total pairs were sold.
It might be too soon to say what Nike plans after the acquisition of RTFKT. It might involve releasing a new collaboration with designers like Cactus Jack for the metaverse, or they could surprise us by creating their own virtual environment where people might be able to buy and showcase their favorite Nike items. Regardless of what Nike decides to do, we'll keep you updated right here at UAFactory when something interesting happens.