Sportswear giant Nike has secured a patent for blockchain-powered sneakers, known as CryptoKicks, according to reports emerging today.
First filed back in April, the patent was granted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), detailing an innovative blockchain system for recording and transferring ownership of the sneakers. The patent describes a system of attaching digital assets to physical products, which will allow ownership of the sneakers to be recorded on a blockchain at the point of purchase.
According to the patent, the blockchain records allow instant verification of ownership, with buyers assigned a digital token with every purchase. These tokens then hold value in their own right, and can be traded or exchanged like any other digital assets.
The model ensures the digital tokens are inherently scarce, because they are tied to the production of CryptoKicks sneakers. The patent explains that both the digital show, and a cryptographic token together represent the ‘CryptoKick’:
When a consumer buys a genuine pair of shoes a digital representation of a show may be generated, linked with the consumer, and assigned a cryptographic token, where the digital shoe and cryptographic token collectively represent a ‘CryptoKick’.
The digital tokens can be assigned independently of ownership of the sneakers, or in addition to a transfer of ownership should buyers resell. Digital assets are stored in a type of cryptocurrency wallet Nike have dubbed a “Digital Locker.”
Intriguingly, the system also allows for owners to “intermingle or breed the digital shoe with another digital shoe to create shoe offspring,” which can then be made into a new production shoe.
The patent is an example of a company innovating to develop retail products powered by blockchain, external to core technology markets.
One of the biggest names in global sportswear, the patent may suggest Nike is moving towards launching more products tied to blockchain and crypto technology, though no release date for CryptoKicks has yet been made public.
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