Adidas to enter the metaverse with first NFT products
Adidas has announced its next collection will be a mix of digital and physical items, and will be sold as NFTs produced with collaborators such as Bored Ape Yacht Club.
Titled Into the Metaverse, the collection will comprise virtual wearables that buyers can use in online platforms, but also the physical clothing to match.
It is Adidas' first collection of NFTs, or non-fungible tokens – essentially, digital collectibles with proven authenticity. NFTs act as a blockchain-based certificate of ownership, allowing pieces to be authenticated, bought and collected.
The brand created the collection in partnership with some of the most well-known personalities in NFTs: Bored Ape Yacht Club, gmoney and the Punks Comic creators.
Adidas is positioning the launch as a way to engage with fans and join "the forefront of creativity".
"As part of our ambition to celebrate ideas that are defining a new age of originality, we've landed at the forefront of creativity, which is the open metaverse," said vice president of Adidas Originals marketing and communications Erika Wykes-Sneyd.
Adidas chief digital officer Scott Zalaznik said that blockchain technology, which records the unique signature and ownership of NFTs, presented a great opportunity for brands.
"Blockchain is one of the most innovative technologies of this generation," said Adidas chief digital officer Scott Zalaznik. "We see it unlocking boundless potential to connect with our members."
"The foundation we are building with Web3 [a blockchain-based vision of the internet] will lead to new creative opportunities for partnerships, engagement through digital goods and a path towards a more inclusive future," he added.
Adidas is launching Into the Metaverse through its lifestyle label, Adidas Originals.
The NFTs went on sale on 17 December for the cost of 0.2 Ethereum, and the digital and physical wearables for NFT owners will be made available in 2022.
The digital items will be usable in the blockchain-based gaming world of The Sandbox as well as other platforms, while the physical products will include a hoodie, tracksuit and gmoney's signature orange beanie.
As part of the launch, Adidas has also purchased its first NFT – ape #8774 of Bored Ape Yacht Club's 10,000-strong collection of ape avatars. The club comes with some perks for owners, which Adidas will now have access to.
Adidas has also acquired a plot of virtual land inside The Sandbox, which it plans to fill with "exclusive content and experiences".
NFTs have been a hot topic since early 2021, when a Beeple NFT sold at auction at Christie's for a record-breaking $69 million.
Around the same time, designers sold NFTs of "impossible furniture" and a whole house.
While Adidas has embraced NFTs, the technology is controversial because the computing power it requires takes a colossal amount of energy.
A number of other brands are focusing on products for the metaverse, a digital universe where people can experience a parallel life to their real-world existence, including Nike, which just acquired virtual sneaker company RTFKT.