Whether you believe in the metaverse or not, a few companies are betting it’s the future. Nike is one of them. Last December the athletic wear company bought RTFKT (“artifact”), a virtual sneaker designer, in the hopes of planting its foot squarely in the metaverse. That purchase is now paying dividends.
Over the weekend RTFKT and Nike dropped the Nike Dunk Genesis Cryptokicks, a collection of 20,000 NFT sneakers. Since the virtual sneakers launched, crypto punters have been buying them for between $7,500 and $9,000 (2.5 to 3 ether). Their appearance can be changed with digital vials, which are themselves going for a minimum of $2,500 (0.8 ether).
Some vials are more common than others, and Cryptokicks equipped with rare skins have gone for vast sums. One pair, for instance, sold for $133,000 (45 ether). One Alien vial, the rarest in the set, sold for $449,000 (150 ether). RTFKT says holders can perform certain online quests that will “evolve” the skins.
As yet there are no announced plans for holders of these NFTs to recieve real-life versions of their digital goods, though a Snapchat filter was created so owners could wear their kicks in AR. It’s part of a larger bet on virtual fashion, a gamble taken by more than just Nike.
In December, Adidas released its Into The Metaverse collection of 30,000 NFTs, partnering with the Bored Ape Yacht Club to do so. Ownership of the NFT promises drops of both virtual and real-life clothing, a tactic also taken by Dolce & Gabbana. Gucci went a different route, teaming with blue-chip NFT collections to put Gucci clothing on Pudgy Penguins, World of Women and Bored Ape Yacht Club avatars.
Nike and Adidas are increasingly taking their rivalry into the metaverse: Adidas has bought land in Sandbox, a game-heavy metaverse that’s in beta, while Nike has invested in Roblox, a digital world especially popular among kids.
As for RTFKT, it’s behind Clone X, one of the most successful NFT collections. Designed by famed artist Takashi Murakami, it’s a set of 20,000 3D anime-inspired profile picture art whose owners include Justin Bieber. It costs just over $50,000 to buy into Clone X now, but membership comes with perks. In February, holders were dropped a mysterious box which, after weeks of speculation, ultimately contained the Cryptokicks that are now selling for nearly $10,000, as well as a random assortment of vials.
Thus far just over a third of Clone X owners have opened their mystery boxes, meaning two thirds of the Cryptokicks have yet to even enter circulation.