Nike launches ambitious NFT platform for virtual sneakers

Meet .Swoosh, a brand new web3 platform from Nike where you will soon be able to buy, sell and much more virtual sneakers. Painful mustard after meals or the future of (virtual) fashion?

After the initial hype, the NFT market has almost completely collapsed this year, and last week one of the world’s largest crypto exchanges went bankrupt with all the consequences it brought.

.Swoosh: Nike Launches NFT Platform

Fortunately, after all the bad news, there is now hope. A savior has arrived, a messiah, from an unexpected source. Nike has launched .Swoosh, a brand new platform for the clothing brand to sell virtual sneakers, apparel and accessories. Yes, we are talking about NFTs here.

Too little too late? Maybe it just depends on who you ask. The metaverse and the NFTs depending on who you talk to sad, faded hype from the past or the future of… everything. At least Nike isn’t giving up. With .Swoosh, the brand wants to build an active web3 community in the long term. Fans will eventually be able to access exclusive events, collaborate with Nike’s own designers on new products, and even earn money selling virtual products.

Big digital ambitions

It sounds vague, but luckily the head of Nike Virtual Studios sums it up for us: “It will be a place where our community can come together and create the future with us,” said Ron Faris. “You can collect, trade and flex virtual Nike products. You can go to real-life events with your token-gated virtual creations.”

Okay, that didn’t really help, but Nike’s digital ambitions are big nonetheless. In recent years, Faris has ensured that the clothing brand’s SNKRS app has grown into an important source of income. Early this year, he founded Nike Virtual Studios for the brand, a separate division of the company tasked with translating the brand into the world of NFTs, web3 and the metaverse. Because yes, you also want to look good in Mark Zuckerberg’s digital world.

Caution beta

For the .Swoosh, Nike teamed up with the team at RTFKT, an NFT startup that Nike acquired late last year. The ambitions are therefore big, but for now the platform is starting on a small scale. You can only log in to it via your web browser, on your phone or desktop. There is no app and there is no way to chat with other users yet. In fact, .Swoosh is still in beta. Only users selected by Nike itself will have access.

You can already put yourself on the waiting list. Are you one of the lucky ones? Then you can create your own .Swoosh domain, for example Manners.swoosh. It’s your own digital spot in Nike’s metaverse, where others can admire your collection of virtual sneakers. It sounds like something out of science fiction, but the clothing brand has full confidence in it.

Nike NFT Metaverse .swoosh virtual sneakers
👟 Then it’s on the waiting list (Image: Nike)

Virtual sneakers with physical perks

For now, Nike does not sell anything through the platform. It will only happen in January with a first virtual meeting. Then users can pay with their debit or credit card, just like when you buy real sneakers, after which their purchase is recorded on the blockchain. Virtual items may also be linked by Nike to events or products in the real world. For example, consider pre-ordering a future physical sneaker that will already give you a virtual version. Or a festival where you can only get in if you have a certain NFT from Nike.

Furthermore, the brand remains rather guarded about what will happen on the .Swoosh, so it remains primarily a matter of waiting. Not only what you can find there as a consumer, but also whether the platform will gain anything. If anyone knows how to fuel collecting madness, it’s Nike. But perhaps the current state of the NFT market is even too great a barrier for the sneaker farmer.

Cash in on Nike’s success

However, the promise sounds fascinating. For example, next spring users will be able to create their own virtual products on the .Swoosh, and even share in sales when Nike includes them in official product lines. Kind of like LEGO Ideas, but virtual, in the metaverse.

Also, the virtual sneakers and other items will eventually be wearable outside of the .Swoosh. After all, that’s the big promise of web3 and the metaverse: that you’ll soon be able to wear your brand new digital Air Force 1s in the web3 version of Fortnite.

Deep breath

But for now, Faris says, Nike will take it easy: “We’re not going to sell things right away,” he explains. “We really want to be careful and considerate in how we invite the community.”

It’s clear that Nike doesn’t want to score quickly with the .Swoosh. The brand clearly chooses in the long term. We will find out in the coming years whether the platform will succeed. You can follow .Swoosh’s ambitions and updates on the official Instagram account or through a blog on Medium. To be continued!

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Nike launches ambitious NFT platform for virtual sneakers

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