Nike releases shoes based on NFT Cryptokicks – Portland Business Journal – The Business Journals
Nike and its web3 studio RTFKT have officially brought their digital Cryptokicks into the real world. Cryptokicks iRL, as they call it, are now the first NFT-turned-real-shoe on the market.
Nike (NYSE: NKE) dropped its first pair of cryptokicks in April, which took on the silhouette of Nike’s iconic Dunk shoe and were only available in the metaverse. Now, Nike’s Cryptokicks iRL are real, physical shoes people can wear.
The shoes feature self-lacing technology similar to Nike’s Air Mag model, customizable lights, wireless charging and Bluetooth to pair with its own app.
They also feature an NFC chip that can be read for the proof of authenticity related to the shoe’s related NFT, making its ownership trackable. An NFT is a unique digital work of art with an ownership code that acts like a certificate of authenticity. Only one person can own the NFT, and a code for who owns it is stored on a blockchain virtual ledger.
The public draw for a pair of Cryptokicks iRL ended Friday morning, with only 19,000 pairs of the shoes available. The bar for entry to the draw was high — only those with an RTFKT account, a crypto wallet supported by Wallet Connect, a U.S. shipping address and at least .5 ETH, or about $634, in their wallet were able to enter.
In his Substack newsletter “The Kicks You Wear,” Maryland-based sports journalist and sneaker enthusiast Mike Sykes said even though Nike’s latest investment in web3 is notable, his hopes for its success aren’t all that high.
“This is an opportunity for the brand to prove that this has appeal to mainstream consumers. They have to show it’s not just some gimmick or a cash grab like — frankly — so many other big brand metaverse projects have been. These sneakers have to show us utility,” he wrote. “No one in my circle has talked about it — even the firmest believers in Web3 seem disinterested. That’s not a great sign. … This is just a $600+ shoe. That’s not very appealing.”
Nike acquired RTFKT in December 2021. Founded in 2020 by Benoit Pagotto, Chris Le and Steven Vasilev, RTFKT creates virtual sneakers and collectibles, leveraging game engines, NFTs and augmented reality. The company’s products are auctioned off using blockchain, which according to the RTFKT helps “ensure authenticity, ownership and grant access to new experiences.”
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