VERSUS: Do NFTs Have a Place in the Sneaker World?
Non-fungible tokens, better known as NFTs, are currently the hottest get-rich-quick scheme this side of taking GME to the moon. NFTs have gradually been infiltrating every aspect of popular culture – sneakers included. So the question emerges: do NFTs have a place in the sneaker world?
Two of SF’s finest – a baggy-eyed technological optimist, and a sneaker-hoarding luddite – face off with their conflicting views of this mysterious and unregulated facet of sneaker culture.
As always, don’t forget to lodge your votes at the end.
Brother! Did you check out the Atari NFT sneakers?! Are you going to cop?
Yeah, I guess it’s a cool animation. But why would I pay money for something I can freely view? What’s the deal with this whole NFT thing anyway?
Non-fungible tokens! They protect your digital assets (using blockchain tech – similar to Bitcoin). Which means you can FINALLY curate your own collection of virtual sneakers and artwork. It’s time to dive into the Matrix, baby.
Sure, you can freely view the sneakers, but I’ll actually OWN them. Think of it this way: Anyone can freely download the animations Grimes just sold for around $6 million. But only one person truly ‘owns’ the product.
Did you see the collaboration between RTFKT and Seattle crypto-artist FEWOCiOUS??? They sold 621 pairs for a total of $3.1 million…
Some of the prices of NFTs are getting pretty ridiculous. I only heard about them when the artist Beeple sold Everydays: The First 5,000 Days for something like $69 million. That’s fair enough for the fine art world – but I’m too uncouth to properly appreciate paint strokes and pixels alike. So I don’t think it’s a good idea for sneakers which, outside of the high fashion stuff, don’t really retail for much more than $200.
Nicky Diamonds of Diamond Supply Co. – the person responsible for the Nike SB Dunk Low Pro ‘Tiffany’ – just released an NFT artwork of the sneakers with Wale that started at $500. Seriously, who’s paying that?!
SMH. At the end of the day, I want tangible goods. Why would I pay big bucks for something I can’t physically own – especially sneakers? This push towards digital experiences erases the original purpose of living: in this instance, the feeling of wearing a fresh pair of kicks. I can see the value proposition when a sneaker is in the thousands on the secondary market, but I still can’t fathom it being a viable thing in the long-term. Because people simply want inventory they can touch and feel. Money, it’s gotta be the shoes!
Does anyone even wear their sneakers anymore? Isn’t it all just for inventory and ‘flippability’ on the secondary market? Besides, you need to get with the program. Enter the meta-verse.
But at what cost to the ‘real’ world? The technical procedure required to ‘mine’ ETH, the ‘standard’ currency used to transact most NFTs, is extremely intensive too, and requires a lot of electricity. Which means further greenhouse emissions. The sneaker world is already facing challenges from the big S – I don’t think making them digital will necessary improve the situation. Why do you think they created The Matrix in the first place?
Surely NFTs still require a lot less resources than physical sneakers… whether they’re Space Hippies or not!
Imagine the potential for sneaker designers and customisers to actually claim ownership of their work! To embed a blockchain signature that they can sell. We can support independent artists and help provide a pathway for the next generation of sneakerheads coming through!
But who’s to say brands won’t just appropriate the work and reverse engineer from blueprints? At least pen and paper can be relatively safely stored if it hasn’t been digitised. And an NFT is only worth monetary value when it gets sold anyway, so these up-and-comers will either have to sell their work and eat, or hold onto their ideas and starve.
So the brands effectively have enough leverage to eventually own the IP for sneaker designs anyway.
Why are you being so cynical? You’re not looking at the broader picture. Imagine an NFT to complement your physical sneaker purchase. You can then wear your virtual sneaker in video games! Or imagine an NFT that functions as a kind of randomly-generated ‘golden ticket’ for sneaker events or exclusive signed-pairs. The possibilities are endless!
But, given how much NFTs are selling for now, what are you buying? The sneakers or the NFT? It almost seems the shoes become the supplementary component of the transaction and experience, as opposed to being the primary vector of enjoyment.
NFTs may be paying dividends to indie artists right now, but let’s see if this bubble bursts before it even gets a chance to take over the sneaker world.
At the end of the day, you can’t literally wear an NFT Air Max! And that tactile experience is what being a sneakerhead is all about.
A digital bubble can’t burst baby. This crypto has more fidelity than the Air Unit of a 720!