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Nike’s Cryptokick NFTs Trading for Thousands of Dollars

Nike finally unveiled its first sneaker NFT Friday—four months on from its acquisition of the digital design firm RTFKT.

The footwear giant’s debut non-fungible token, a mysterious box with it and RTFKT’s respective logos emblazoned on the sides, arrived in February. Unlike other brands, which have sold off a specific number of tokens at a set price, Nike’s first NFT was gifted to anyone who owned one of RTFKT’s CloneX avatars—an NFT collection it released in November before its acquisition by Nike.

Similarly, RTFKT limited access of Friday’s release to owners of the so-called MNLTH box from February. Owners of the token can now “burn” it—an action that removes the NFT from circulation—in exchange for a neutral RTFKT x Nike Dunk Genesis Cryptokick, an “Evo X Skin Vial” and a new MNLTH box.

Skin Vials allow owners to change the look of the Nike Dunk Genesis “or any compatible sneakers” with limited-edition skins, a video shared on RTFKT’s social media accounts explained. The term “skins” refers to the exterior design of the sneaker, similar to a colorway. In an FAQ section on RTFKT’s Discord channel, a brand representative noted that equipping and unequipping a skin will cost “gas,” a variable fee that is applied to many actions that take place on the blockchain.

EVO X, “RTFKT’s first Skin Vial Tech collection,” consists of eight types of vials, each of which mirrors the DNA varieties—and corresponding rarities—of the studio’s CloneX collection. The most common type, Human, accounts for 50 percent of the vials. The three rarest—Undead, Murakami and Alien—each make up less than 1 percent.

All eight types are tagged as “evolutive” on the crypto marketplace OpenSea. This trait seems to tie into a functionality teased in RTFKT’s video whereby users will be able to “evolve” their sneaker and “choose drip upgrades and powers.” At another point, the studio encouraged owners to “collect, evolve and breed sneaker skins.”

It is currently unclear exactly how evolving and breeding will work. On Discord, RTFKT said evolution mechanics and features will be unlocked “in the near future.” Evolution, it added, will burn the previous skin vial. RTFKT is not currently disclosing the number of evolution “paths” that will be available. “Think of it like [a] Video game skill tree style of evolution tree,” the Discord FAQ section advised.

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The variety of available skins seems set to grow significantly. In its explainer video, RTFKT said a single pair of sneakers is capable of loading “thousands” of skins. The brand teased future skin releases from “legendary collaborators, artists and the RTFKT community.” On Discord, RTFKT noted that all these collaborators “will be able to create and drop skins, once our wearable platform goes live later this year.” The studio did not offer further details on what this “wearable platform” would entail.

Though Friday’s release was limited to prior MNLTH owners, all of RTFKT’s Nike releases are available for secondary trading on OpenSea. Since Friday, trading volume for RTFKT’s new NFTs has surpassed 8,600 Ether, or $24.8 million.

According to OpenSea’s records, the highest sale recorded so far was of a Cryptokick equipped with an Undead vial. The NFT last sold for 73.3 WETH—wrapped Ether is essentially equivalent in value to Ether—or roughly $211,000. A lone Murakami vial—RTFKT collaborated with the Japanese artist Takashi Murakami for its Clone-X NFT collection—sold for 72 ETH, roughly $207,000. The floor price for an unequipped Nike Dunk Genesis NFT is currently 2.8 ETH, more than $8,000. The cheapest available vial is listed at just below 1 ETH, or more than $2,800.

RTFKT is encouraging its followers to trade unequipped sneakers and vials separately. According to tweets the studio posted over the weekend, owners of an equipped NFT can potentially accept a bid, unequip the vial and still complete a trade, thereby cheating the buyer out of all the vial’s value. RTFKT has suggested in its tweets that it is working with OpenSea to “resolve” the issue.

Though RTFKT has seen a heavy trading volume for each of its new NFTs, the original MNLTH token from February surpasses all of them. Since Friday, its trading volume has topped 11,600 Ether, or about $33.3 million. That total, however, represents just a quarter of its total trading volume. Since February, OpenSea has recorded a trading volume of more than 44,850 Ether, or $129 million. Since the MNLTH token was gifted to CloneX NFT owners, it’s unclear how much money—if any—Nike has made off its crypto endeavors.

Friday’s release marked the culmination of years of preparation. Nike has spent years filing patents referencing “CryptoKicks.” At the time, it described them as virtual collectibles backed by unique, non-fungible tokens, which is exactly what they became. The company first filed to trademark the term in April 2019.

Nike competitor Adidas released its first major NFT project in December. The tokens were initially sold at 0.2 Ether, which at the time was equivalent to more than $750. Also unlike Nike, Adidas simply released tens of thousands of copies of the same NFT. Those who own the token receive access to virtual wearables in the blockchain-based gaming world, The Sandbox, as well as physical product to match. The cheapest NFT on OpenSea is currently listed for 2 Ether, or more than $5,700. According to the marketplace, the token’s all-time trading volume is just below 36,600 Ether, or $105 million.

Though some consumers are clearly willing to invest serious money in NFTs, it remains to be seen how much broader appeal there will be. A consumer study released Monday by CommerceNext claims that just 48 percent of those surveyed in February said they hadn’t yet heard the term “metaverse.” Only 5 percent said they were enthusiastic users of it, while 47 percent said they were vaguely familiar, but still in the dark on how to use it, CommerceNext reported.

The events company released its study in partnership with Bizrate Insights, Coresight Research and CommX. It relied on a February survey that focused on those between 18 and 59 years old.

A Pipe Sandler survey published this month reported that teens expressed a similar degree of uncertainty around the metaverse, finding that 48 percent said they were “unsure” of or “not interested” in it.