So what do the buyers of the Nike Cryptokicks actually own? It’s not entirely clear.

The rollout was shrouded in mystery. In February, RTFKT released 20,000 NFTs of a mysterious box called MNLTH, pronounced “monolith” (vowels, apparently, are for noobs in the NFT world). The only clue about what was inside was the Nike Swoosh and RTFKT’s lightning bolt logo.

Some 8,100 people who owned an NFT from one of RTFKT’s earlier collections received a MNLTH for no additional cost, said Joe Chui, 39, an NFT analyst in San Francisco who runs the YouTube channel RealTalkFIRE, and who received two. Everyone else could buy one on OpenSea, starting around 5 Ether (about $15,000 at the time), although no one knew what was inside. (Nike did not respond to multiple requests for comment.)

That didn’t stop Bryson Honjo, 31, who lives in Honolulu and runs UntiedHawaii, a YouTube sneaker channel, from paying 5 Ether apiece for two MNLTH boxes. “You have to believe that this is going to be another revolutionary sneaker, akin to the 1985 Air Jordan 1,” Mr. Honjo said.

On April 22, after months of speculation, Nike announced on Twitter, Discord and other social media platforms that owners could connect their crypto wallets, where they stored the NFTs, to the RTFKT site to “open” their boxes, Mr. Chui said.

Inside, owners found a digital image of a generic basketball shoe called a Nike Dunk Genesis Cryptokick, along with a virtual “skin vial”— a glowing canister that, once inserted into a port on the virtual sneaker’s tongue, gives the sneaker its final look.

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