On Monday, November 14th Nike announced the launch of dotSwoosh, their Web3 NFT platform for designing and purchasing virtual shoes, apparel, events and limited releases of physical products. The site is currently in beta testing mode and is very minimal, but users will be able to sign up for a free account as early as this Friday, November 18th.
After acquiring NFT platform RTFKT (pronounced “artifact”) in 2021 Nike has made a few strategic moves to carve out space for their own NFT platform including suing the resale site StockX after their early-2022 launch of their own Nike sneakers, and dropping Cryptokicks in April.
We know what you’re thinking — isn’t Nike kind of late to the Web3 game? Why are they launching this now, as the crypto market continues to collapse in light of the FTX crash and LTX/Binance fiasco?
Your guess is as good as ours, but they are attempting to build this platform with the knowledge of common pain points within the existing Web3 and cryptocurrency market and improve upon them, something they couldn’t have done as precisely a few years ago.
A big complaint they’re trying to remedy is the skepticism, especially amongst periphery or non-crypto Nike fans, around the point of owning virtual sneakers. Ron Faris, head of Nike’s Virtual Studios division, shared with Fast Company that “We know we’re not just targeting Web3 natives, we’re targeting a more Web3-curious audience, people afraid to [buy NFTs] because it’s too confusing or hard.”
What Is Going To Be on dotSwoosh?
dotSwoosh’s site marks itself as “the home for Nike’s virtual creations” and invites users to “co-create the future of Nike.”
Their homepage is a timeline of the stages for the website’s rollout, including:
January 4th: Users will be able to build their own virtual sneaker collection and display, trade and even use wearables in games and “other immersive experiences”
February 4th: Users will be able to “unlock special access” — vague, but they also say you’ll be able to pre-order upcoming drops. We’re assuming this means physical drops, but they could be virtual as well.
March 4th: The community-building aspects of the platform will roll out and users will be able to connect with other dotSwoosh members and compete in challenges.
April 4th: Users can check out virtual Nike events as well as in-person meetups with Nike designers, athletes and other fans.
It’s the opinion of this editor that the fledgling crypto market is not a sizable enough competition to challenge Nike’s $127 billion shoe empire. However, they’re modernizing some eggs in a proverbial basket of the future, as well as attempting to meet the needs of a growing fan base, an undeniably savvy decision.
They’ve also threaded the needle between the LTX/Binance crypto crumble and a lack of a flushed out metaverse, which could work in their favor if they’ve dodged certain financial consequences of being implicated in crypto institutions during their pre-regulation phase.
What Happens Next?
They’ve planted their stake in the ground for the future of these alternative markets, but the answer remains as to whether sneakerheads will go digital.
Judging by the allure of the deep sneaker market: owning something no one else does, it seems like the intrigue would overlap. You can’t wear digital sneakers, but some priceless pairs aren’t worn by their owners anyway. At least that’s what I’ve come to understand in my minimal interactions with that corner of the web.
However, a pixelated sneaker is a lot different than a pair you can feel, smell and display, whether or not you wear it. Nike’s rollout of the site, the access purchases give users and and, ultimately, the safety of NFTs in general will all contribute to the bright future or downfall of this platform.
You can read more in dotSwoosh’s FAQ section about the details on Nike’s virtual creations, how to get your hands on one, security aspects of the website and more. Users will be able to sign up for a free account on November 18th.