Is Nike getting ready to dive into the metaverse? The company recently published two job offers for virtual hardware designer positions, and filed metaverse-related documents with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
Nike and metavers: two steps towards a virtual world
On October 27, 2021, Nike files an application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for use of its “swoosh” logo and “Just do it” slogan in virtual assets for its entertainment services, retail stores, and “for use online and in online virtual worlds.”
In addition, Nike has posted job openings for virtual hardware designer positions for footwear, where it says that future occupants of the position would “play a key role in redefining our digital world, bringing us into the metaverse.”
Physical and virtual shoes: the crazy ideas of the metaverse
Nike is one step ahead of Facebook in its plans for a metaverse. Back in 2019, the brand patented a tokenization system for its CryptoKicks shoes on Ethereum (ETH). The system aimed to authenticate the brand’s shoes. A token was unlocked when purchasing the corresponding physical shoes. All that was required was to link a 10-digit identification code of the pair to the owner’s identification code.
The patent also mentioned ideas inspired by CryptoKitties. It suggested the idea that digital shoes could be “upgraded,” with the ability under certain conditions to produce a new pair, from two other pairs:
“Using the digital asset, the buyer is able to securely trade or sell the tangible pair of shoes, trade or sell the digital shoe, store the digital shoe in a cryptocurrency wallet or other digital blockchain locker, intermingle or “replicate” the digital shoe with another digital shoe to create a “shoe progeny” and, based on the rules of acceptable shoe manufacturability, have the newly replicated shoe progeny custom made into a new pair of tangible shoes. “
Nike is not alone in this metaverse race. It has as a competitor the brand RTFKT Studios, which has released both physical and virtual shoes. RTFKT Studios raised $8 million in May 2021, with backing from Andreessen Horowitz, Galaxy Digital and others.
The metaverse offers great opportunities for the apparel industry, which will be tasked in this virtual world with providing clothing, shoes, and other fashion accessories to characters. Will Nike’s virtual shoes have a place as NFT in the Facebook metaverse?