The world and technology are changing greatly in 2021, and with Bitcoin blasting past $50,000 in recent days, the whole world is taking notice of cryptocurrency.
Beyond (and perhaps a reflection of) the value though are the practical applications which you may not be aware of yet.
So how is all this crypto and NFT stuff related to the sneaker resale market?
Let’s tie this all together so you can get a greater understanding of how the world and its technology landscape is advancing and how you might one day be flexing digital kicks in addition to — or maybe even in place of– your real ones.
(also, we’d love to hear from you’re a sneaker NFT creator–email firstname.lastname@example.org)
What are NFTs?
The tweet above from streetwear legend Bobby Hundreds may make 0 sense to you right now, but this philosophy may very well change the whole sneaker reselling world–so it’s in your best interested to start to become enlightened on the subject of what an NFT actually is.
If you don’t know about reselling sneakers or its multibillion dollar market, the “GOT ‘EM” screenshots are from Nike’s SNKRS app, which you can see users successfully use to sell on eBay below:
(Skip to the end of this article if you already know what NFTs are or if you just don’t care or have the time /bandwidth to understand for the TL;DR)
If this is your first time hearing about this acronym, it certainly won’t be the last this year.
NFT stands for Non-Fungible Token.
Fungible is a fancy economic word that basically means replaceable.
So, if something is non fungible, it’s totally unique and cannot be replicated or owned by more than one person at once.
The word Token has been colloquialized in the cryptocurrency community to describe something that is made permanent or minted on the blockchain (basically a hard coded, decentralized and public record that is the home for cryptocurrencies and tokens).
Below are the insane prices that people are paying to own Cryptopunk NFTs:
Why are people spending so much money on these pixels, especially when you can just screenshot images?
Ordinary pixels are fungible because you can widely distribute them without any unique attribution to the owner.
The difference between Cryptopunks and any other NFT is that the ownership is tied and verified to a unique transaction that you can actually see on the blockchain (most easily through platforms like Opensea).
The hype created by NFTs is showing that the whole world may shift to this new form of ownership, especially as the technology becomes easier to understand and more user friendly.
The New Way to Flex Your Kicks ?
These digital, AI designed, no name NFT kicks went for over $12,000* made by RTFKT, an emerging digital sneaker marketplace, for Metagrail, a wider platform for digital collectibles including sneakers (*in Nov 2020 ETH–now approx $40K in April 2021)
The psychology behind the insane multi billion dollar sneaker resale market that people profit from is dead simple: it’s mostly about the flex.
NFTs are the crypto flex of 2021.
It’s inevitable then that the sneaker world and the NFT market are now overlapping.
Rare kicks are expensive, limited, and worn by celebrities.
NFTs are the ultimate way to flaunt status because not only are they super expensive right now like hype sneakers are, they’re made in limited quantities and you can flex them to the whole public in a more efficient way than posting pics of on feet heat on IG– most importantly, they also can’t be faked, which is perhaps the biggest problem for sneakers and maybe a selling point for those on the fence about starting a NFT sneaker collection.
By jumping in on this, you’ll also flexing your brains and you have a decent shot at making some bread as an early adopter.
When will the sneaker world adopt NFTs?
Believe it or not, the sneaker world has already adopted NFTs.
In December 2019, Nike filed a patent for Cryptokick Tokens that live on the Ethereum network as NFTs (if that sentence was gibberish to you, keep reading this article for a broad overview).
Although Cryptokick tokens haven’t yet been widely adopted, all of this hype in 2021 is coming closer and closer to the sneaker world, most recently with NBA Top Shots pictured below, which are also NFTs.
NBA Top Shot has crossed the $50,000,000 mark in early 2021, making it the biggest NFT marketplace to date. A widely adopted sneaker equivalent is all but inevitable, and will probably emerge at some point this year.
Nike’s Cryptokick also extends to physical sneakers with CHIP (Chain Integration Project) with physical chips that will be associated with genuine Nike shoes that will further combat counterfeits — because these CHIPs are non-fungible, they are literally impossible to fake.
Sneakers NFTs for Sale
In addition to the previously mentioned marketplaces RTFKT and Metagrail, sneaker NFTs are popping up every day.
From Tokenlandia, an Adidas custom NFT
Jay Shogo, a shoe customizer who is known for his Sharpie designs, isn’t even particularly well known (he has around 2000 followers on IG right now), and his physical sneakers don’t go for much, but he jumped on the NFT train and may very well cash in big by having done so.
Most people haven’t heard of FEWOCIOUS, but he’s an 18 year old artist who’s already sold $18,000,000 in NFTs this year alone, including these shoes:
Look out for sneaker NFTs to be more widely available and for celebs to start flexing them in the same way they do with real sneakers.
How do I get started on my NFT Collection?
Whether the astronomical prices (many NBA Top Shots have sold in the six figures) will remain in their current stratosphere or if they’re just a bubble waiting to burst will remain to be seen, but it looks like NFTs are here to stay.
If we’re your first time hearing about NFTs, and you want to get in, this is exactly what the crypto world wants–and this may be a good thing for everyone because it’s often early adopters that are rewarded.
By participating in NFTs, you will have to make some first steps that will bring you in as a participant of the cryptocurrency world. Maybe you’ll even stick around and join other crypto projects.
Either way, you’ll probably be among the first in your friends to be flexing sneaker NFTs.
It’s slightly complex to get in the NFT game, but it will be worth it. There are tutorials out there that go more in depth on this topic on YouTube so just search around there for a detailed set up, but here’s the broad overview.
If you remember, these Non-fungible tokens live on the Ethereum blockchain.
So in order to get your collection started, you need to have access there.
The official metamask logo
To start as a unique participant on the Ethereum blockchain, you will need to have a Web3 wallet like Metamask which supports ETH among a few other crypto currencies and ERC 20 tokens, which most NFTs are.
Just follow the instructions carefully on how to set up your Metamask wallet, load it up with some ETH (you can send it to your Metamask wallet address from Coinbase or Gemini — these are both affiliate links that will get you $10 in free Bitcoin for $100 invested), and you’ll be good to go to participate on the marketplaces and show off your collection on whatever platform you’re using and on your Web3 wallet!
Easier ways to start participating
Gemini owns Nifty Gateway
NFT marketplace Nifty gateway makes it easy to buy NFTs with a credit card so you don’t even need to load your wallet up with ETH to start.
Gemini now owns Nifty gateway, so it helps to have an account with them if you don’t already (you can sign up and get $10 with this affiliate link).
Bitski is also a great user friendly way to get started in the NFT game.
There’s a lot of cool art on both of those platforms, and we’re expecting kicks to be showing up there or some other user friendly platform in the near future.
With all of these platforms, you will still need that web3 wallet Metamask to buy any of the offerings so you can verify ownership of your crypto swag on the blockchain.
INFINITE is making a splash in the sneaker market with a new way to truly verify kicks
You can even get started on practical applications of NFT technology by getting on board with companies like INFINITE who are basically doing the same thing as Nike is doing with its Cryptokick CHIP but on a wider scale, for more sneakers, and with more direct to consumer participation.
Ok enough with the nerdy stuff!! Back to sneakers and what this means to you.
Can Nike Reproduce Physical Sneaker Hype with NFT Sneaker Hype?
Back to the Bobby Hundreds and Russ Bengston dialogue on Twitter:
“between Top Shot and being able to spend real money on virtual video game accessories, it’s only a matter of time before Nike/Jordan just sells virtual sneakers. shit, you’re not wearing the shits anyway and selling off “GOT ‘EM” screenshots. why even have a real shoe at all?”
-Russ Bengston of Complex Magazine
“Okay, what Russ is working through here is – in my opinion – a forceful justification for NFTs. How long can sneaker-collecting sustain, both environmentally but also meaningfully, if Nike can produce the same feeling, the same social badge and cultural value in a digital NFT?”
-Bobby Hundreds, creator of The Hundreds
At this point, the dialogue may make more sense in the context of reading this post.
Only time will tell whether or not sneaker NFTs will carry the same clout as physical sneakers, or if their current resale value will remain so high compared to valuable sneakers of the recent years.
Of course, there are potential risks like the volatility of the price of Ethereum, and the valuation of NFTs, which is completely subjective, could really go anywhere–including down.
Either way, as the world shifts more towards augmented reality and sustainability efforts cut down on physical production, this type of digital ownership will be coming, possibly adding a whole new segment to the billion dollar resale aftermarket, creating a whole new wave.
Will you be there to ride it?
This is an excerpt of the 2021 version of the Hypemaster Playbook, which covers sneaker resale basics as well as overall business and market advice so that you can thrive as a sneaker entrepreneur.
Look forward to the free update to be released soon to all current owners !