Nike’s first collection of shoes for the metaverse is fetching astronomical sums.
The collection, known as CryptoKicks, is being auctioned off as non-fungible tokens (NFT) on online marketplace OpenSea. Customers are paying between $4,000 and $9,500 in cryptocurrency for the shoes, but some pairs have sold for well over six figures. Nearly 9,000 of the Nike Dunk Genesis NFTs have been sold, according to OpenSea.
By comparison, a pair of Nike Supreme Stars Mean Green SB Dunk Lows were selling Thursday on StockX for roughly $1,000. In October, a pair of Nikes that Michael Jordan wore during his rookie season in 1984 sold at auction for $1.47 million, according to CBSSports.com.
NFTs are virtual items that use blockchain technology and smart contracts to assure each item is unique and unchangeable. . Instead, the shoes will go on the feet of an avatar that walks around a virtual world, such as Decentraland.
CryptoKicks are customizable, with customers purchasing a “skin vial” to change the color of the shoes’ signature Swoosh, heel, straps and tongue. NFT design studio RTFKT created the shoes after Nike acquired the startup in December. Nike and RTFKT are hoping the shoes will give them a slice of what’s projected to be a boom in metaverse-related sales in coming years.
The market for transactions in the metaverse is expected to reach $6.1 billion this year and nearly $42 billion globally by 2026, according to research firm Strategy Analytics.
RTFKT (pronounced “artifact”), launched in 2020, also made a splash last year when it sold out of a line of real sneakers paired with NFTs in seven minutes, making $3.1 million in the process.
Nike didn’t respond to requests for comment on CryptoKicks sales. In an earnings call last month, CEO John Donahoe noted “the positive momentum and energy we’re already seeing in the space.” The company last fall launched an online game zone on Roblox called Nikeland where fans can create an avatar of themselves and play sports in a virtual space.