A couple of months ago, Nike acquired metaverse sneaker creator RTFKT Studios and planted the seed for a new frontier of digital sneakers. That fruit is now ripe for the picking, as the first of the Swoosh’s Ethereum-based kicks have finally been unveiled.
Digital drip — RTFKT took to Twitter to tease the “future of sneakers,” outlining what’s to be expected in the collaboration. Set on a Dunk silhouette and dubbed the Dunk Genesis, the kicks are powered by Dream OS and Skin Vial technology. Skin Vials allow the user to change the look of the sneaker — or any other compatible shoe — with limited-edition skins. As of now, there are eight Skin Vials total, featuring green, red, silver, pink, black, and other multicolor schemes.
Back in February, RTFKT airdropped free NFTs called “MNLTH” to owners of the Clone X, a previous project made in collaboration with Takashi Murakami. The metallic cube was cobranded with RTFKT and Nike logos, alluding to a future drop from the studio and the Swoosh. After three months and various quests and puzzles, owners of “MNLTH” were able to unlock the cube’s contents, which revealed their own pair of Cryptokicks, one Skin Vial, and a second “MNLTH.”
Nothing good comes easy — The second “MNLTH” vault will follow a similar unveiling as the first, with holders needing to complete more quests in order to reveal its contents. Even the metaverse can’t escape sneaker resell culture, as some of the NFT owners are attempting to flip their digital kicks on the secondary market. OpenSea, an NFT marketplace, currently has listings for the Cryptokicks priced at over $15,000.
Before it got a Nike-fied in 2021, RTFKT Studios was the mastermind behind other NFT-related projects with some of streetwear’s best and brightest. Jeff Staple dabbled into the metaverse with a 100-edition sneaker and bird NFT last year, and Takashi Murakami’s Clone X NFT is still doing very well six months later. Murakami also designed one of the Skin Vial designs for this Cryptokick release.
As for Nike, the brand has already filed for seven metaverse-related trademarks, including computer software as a cryptocurrency wallet, a digital currency asset marketplace, services for the crypto community, and more. It even sued StockX for its use of Nike silhouettes for its own NFT project, to which StockX shot back saying Nike showed a “fundamental misunderstanding” of NFTs.
This isn’t the first time we’ll see Nike and RTFKT Studios test the waters of the metaverse, and there are rumors of more drops coming as early as next month. Things are getting heated in the sneaker metaverse with lawsuits and trademarks — but at this rate, it’s still just the beginning.