A pair of virtual sneakers sold to $ 5,000, “real” or IQ tax?

The sudden explosion of RTFKT “virtual sneakers” has pried open the door of NFT in a more tangible form, leaving the digital natives with a broader world of digital consumption.

A pair of virtual sneakers sold to $ 5,000, "real" or IQ tax?

Image source @RTFKT Studios official website

Spending $5,000 on a pair of “non-existent sneakers” that not only sell and trade online, but also have a decent hype value, do you dare to buy them? Anyway, on the platform of digital fashion brand RTFKT Studios (RTFKT), people have gone crazy.

In March this year, RTFKT Studios and 18-year-old crypto artist Fewocious launched a co-branded shoe that sold more than 600 pairs in just seven minutes, with a total value of more than $3.1 million, or an average value of $4,992 per pair.

A pair of virtual sneakers sold to $ 5,000, "real" or IQ tax?

RTFKT Studio and FEWOCiOUS collaborate to launch ‘virtual sneakers’

Today RTFKT is one of the hottest players in the ‘virtual sneaker’ market, having closed an $8 million seed round of funding on May 4. Public information shows that the company was founded in London, UK in 2020 by Chris Le, Benoit Pagotto and Wissam AI-Madhon. The main business includes sneakers, skin design, AR, blockchain, NFT, digital fashion and innovative game design, etc. The products launched are regularly auctioned online and users use digital currency to purchase.

A pair of virtual sneakers sold to $ 5,000, "real" or IQ tax?

Some of the “virtual shoes” currently on sale on RTFKT’s website

Titanium Media App noted that in order to let consumers really feel the existence of the “virtual shoes”, RTFKT will also produce some physical versions with the same specifications and process as the “virtual shoes”, sent to consumers, capturing a group of die-hard fans.

Jonathan Lai, partner at RTFKT’s investor Andreessen Horowitz, expressed ample confidence in this market: “As people spend more time in the virtual world, I believe we will pay as much attention to virtual sneakers and handbags in the future as we do to physical sneakers and handbags. In the last decade, gaming has evolved from entertainment to social networking – for many people today, gaming is the new shopping mall and sports bar.”

So how did ‘virtual sneakers’ catch fire, and what technology and consumer trends do they represent behind the scenes?

The ‘virtual sneaker’ that’s on fire
Back in 2019, the American sportswear giant Nike announced a patented technology called “CryptoKicks”, which can virtualize shoes, and when consumers buy a pair of authentic Nike sneakers, they will get the corresponding digital sneakers and be assigned a virtual token.

After the sneakers are sold, their associated digital assets are transferred to the purchaser, which are stored in Digital Locker (a cryptocurrency wallet-type application) with absolute security.

However, at the time, Nike’s technology was more often used for sneaker authentication and authenticity identification, and the market value of “virtual sneakers” has yet to be explored.

A pair of virtual sneakers sold to $ 5,000, "real" or IQ tax?

By early 2020, the ‘virtual sneakers’ developed by RTFKT became popular and took the fashion world by storm.

At that time, RTFKT studio posted a processed image of Elon Musk attending the 2018 Metropolitan Museum of Art Charity Ball on Instagram, showing Musk ‘wearing’ a pair of cool shoes in the shape of an electric pickup truck Cybertruck, which was created by RTFKT and had a very cyberpunk vibe that attracted many fans to inquire, and eventually sold for The shoe was made by RTFKT, which attracted many fans to inquire about the cyberpunk quality of the shoe, and eventually sold for a high price of $15,000, which made RTFKT a hit.

A pair of virtual sneakers sold to $ 5,000, "real" or IQ tax?

图片来源@LADYMAX.cn

By March of this year, RTFKT’s co-branded shoe with crypto artist Fewocious was snapped up by consumers in seven minutes, with sales totaling $3.1 million, setting a new record. RTFKT co-founder Benoit Pagotto said they would turn Fewocious’ design into a real sneaker that shipped in April to consumers who purchased the virtual version.

According to Titanium Media App, the virtual sneakers “produced” by RTFKT are run in a blockchain decentralized way, with independent numbers on the shoes, which can be traded and sold like ordinary sneakers, and the whole online transaction process is traceable and can’t be forged.

In essence, the “virtual sneaker” is actually an NFT product.

According to public information, NFT is called Non-Fungible Token, which is a digital asset encrypted by blockchain technology with the characteristics of uniqueness and indivisibility. This means that people can trade the asset regardless of whether it is a painting, a song or a pair of virtual sneakers that are “attached” to it.

For example, when buyers buy “virtual sneakers” on the RTFKT platform, they can not only “wear” them on social media platforms such as Instagram through customized AR filters, but also trade with buyers through the blockchain when they want to sell them, which gives room for speculation as some rare sneakers have collector value. The company’s social media platform “wear” can also be traded with buyers through the blockchain.

As of press time, the price of the same CYBER SNEAKER virtual sneakers worn by Musk has soared to $113,996 on the official website, and shows a sold-out status.

A pair of virtual sneakers sold to $ 5,000, "real" or IQ tax?

Musk’s same CYBER SNEAKER virtual sneakers

We’ve noticed that with the explosion of the “virtual sneaker” market, some big brands have also caught on and launched their own “virtual shoes” to add a touch of technology to their brands.

In March 2021, luxury brand Gucci partnered with technology company Wanna Fashion to launch its first “Gucci Virtual 25” virtual shoe, which will cost users just $12.99 (about 85 RMB) to try out on the Gucci App or gaming platform For $12.99 (about 85 RMB), users can try on the Gucci App or game platform Roblox using VR technology and post pictures and videos on social media platforms.

A pair of virtual sneakers sold to $ 5,000, "real" or IQ tax?

“Gucci Virtual 25” Digital Sneakers

It’s worth noting that both companies have coincidentally increased their focus on the NFT market: the next step on RTFKT’s to-do list is NFT products in games and virtual spaces; Gucci has also said it will invest heavily in this virtual fashion and release NFT products in the future.

To a certain extent, the sudden explosion of RTFKT’s “virtual sneakers” has pried open the door of NFT in a more tangible form, leaving the digital natives with a broader world of digital consumption.

Everything can be NFT?
The emergence of NFT is actually earlier than “virtual sneakers”; in 2017, a cryptocurrency cloud cat game “Crypto Cats” was launched worldwide, in which players can buy, sell and tame virtual cats, which can be regarded as one of the earliest prototypes of NFT.

A pair of virtual sneakers sold to $ 5,000, "real" or IQ tax?

The encrypted cat game was a hit

In this game, each newly born kitten will carry the 256 metagenomes of its parents’ cats, so there will be 4 billion possibilities for the kitten’s appearance, personality and characteristics, with rare cat breeds “born” selling for upwards of $100,000, and internet users rushing to buy and collect them.

Although the crypto cat was only hot for a few months, it was still a milestone for the popularity of the NFT concept.

Since then, NFT has also blossomed in the sports sector.

In 2019, a decentralized game NBA TopShot exploded in popularity upon its launch, with the official release of card packs starting at $9 and selling out in minutes. The game is able to present the top moments of the game in the form of a smooth little video pack. Users can redeem, collect and trade their favorite players’ NFT cards in the game.

According to Titanium Media App, NFT cards also have an appreciation value, before a Zion Williamson (Zion Williamson) NBA Top Shot star card, the second-hand resale price reached 100,000 U.S. dollars.

According to Cryptoslam data, the total historical turnover of NBA TopShot platform in March this year exceeded $260 million, becoming one of the world’s phenomenal NFT products.

A pair of virtual sneakers sold to $ 5,000, "real" or IQ tax?

NFT cards on NBA TopShot

By 2021, the NFT market has become even hotter and the areas involved even broader.

At the end of February, 10 NFT paintings by Musk’s girlfriend, singer Grimes, sold for $5.8 million in 20 minutes; immediately after, Musk also announced he was selling one of his songs as an NFT ……

A pair of virtual sneakers sold to $ 5,000, "real" or IQ tax?

One of singer Grimes’ NFT paintings

On March 11, digital artist Beeple’s full collection of 5,000 digital paintings was sold at Christie’s, the world’s leading art auction house, for $69.346 million (about RMB 450 million), setting a new record for NFT digital art sales; in mid-to-late March, Twitter founder Jack Dorsey’s first tweet also fetched a high price of nearly $3 million through the NFT format.

A pair of virtual sneakers sold to $ 5,000, "real" or IQ tax?

Digital artist Beeple’s NFT digital artwork “Every Day: The First 5,000 Days

In addition, including restaurant brand Pizza Hut, daily necessities giant cleaning company, boutique watch company Jacob & Co. have also launched their own NFT products, “virtual sneakers” such a popular “consumer goods” also let NFT out of the circle.

In the face of such a hot momentum, the market began to popularize the phrase: “everything can be NFT”. This is reminiscent of “Snow Crash” by science fiction author Neal Stephenson, in which people have a virtual identity in the Metaverse world (metaverse) in which they can socialize, consume and entertain themselves, while these actions also interact with the real world – corresponding to the NFT consumer In the NFT consumer world, the price fluctuations of any digital asset that people buy also affects real life to some extent.

This highly imaginative digital consumer world is undoubtedly fascinating to digital natives, but in reality, “everything can be NFT” is still very far away from us, which involves not only the need to rely on centralized banks and third-party certification bodies to manage and confirm digital payments, but also the mapping of NFT products to the physical world. world, is still too far from human reality.

According to the understanding of Titanium Media App, at present, NFT mainly exists in the field of electronic or digital class artwork, for example, OpenSea is the largest crypto collectibles trading platform at present, including paintings, cards, domain names and other more than 14.4 million NFT collectibles for sale on the website.

A pair of virtual sneakers sold to $ 5,000, "real" or IQ tax?

OpenSea official website

Titanium Media App noticed that even if the current NFT is so hot, there are still many voices of opposition in the market. Some consumers believe that NFT is based on the trading of virtual goods and there is a certain degree of speculation, coupled with the instability of virtual currency, participating in it is like licking blood from a knife’s mouth. There are also radicals who say that the crypto market winter will eventually come, when the NFT bubble will be burst and completely collapse. Of course, the NFT art trading market, which is so hot today, will also cease to exist.

In response to the NFT’s “art bubble” argument, New York-based art critic Kenny Schachter said, “Even if it’s a bubble, there’s soap in it, and it’s not nothing.” He also predicts that NFT will probably exist in some form for a while afterwards, but probably not in exactly the same form as it does today.

It is foreseeable that, with the game of virtual and reality, and the continuous maturation of ARVR technology, the value created by the digital natives of the Z era in the virtual world is becoming increasingly prominent, and the waves created by NFT technology will continue to affect various industries for a long time to come.

Reference.

I’m sorry, but my sneakers are not meant to be worn

Musk was “carried”, NFT “hype shoes” spread fashion circle

RTFKT Studios Raises Nearly $10 Million as Elon Musk’s Virtual Sneakers Become a Hit

NFT on the altar of God, bubble or windfall?

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