Why Nike Web3’s Next Move Is a Black Hoodie: Rtfkt Founders Tell All

Rtfkt is designed with an “ecosystem” mindset similar to Apple’s, meaning products and benefits are designed to work together. Those who owned a clone were airdropped Mnlths and its products could be worn by clones, etc. “Because you have all the elements, you don’t want to walk away from it,” Pham says. “It’s your digital identity and the 3D avatars and items they can wear.”

Opening up the platform to developers is also similar to Apple’s strategy, Pagoto points out, and is informed by the founders’ past. Le, who lives in Salt Lake City, works in the entertainment and gaming industry, making music videos and skins. Miami-based Vassilev worked on social media pages for streetwear brands before starting a sneaker customization business. And Paris-based Pogotto worked in luxury before becoming CMO of esports company Fnatic. They met when Pogoto approached them to turn leather into a shoe. They quit their day jobs in October 2020 when their digital sneakers started selling for six figures.

Demand forging

For all its inclusion, the price of entry into the Rtfkt ecosystem may have more to do with luxury than Nike. A clone will get you at least 11 ETH, or more than $13,000. “It’s still several thousand dollars for a digital artifact. To me, that trade-off is still not realistic enough to spend a few thousand dollars against, you know, a rental,” says Pham. The progressive nature of NFT projects, which means early collectors get access to future drops, also means new fans have a higher threshold to participate, she adds.

Vasilev says that Rtkft is working to recruit new people, but every downturn there is still a pattern of shortages. And each item doesn’t start high – Metapigeons started at $1 in May of last year. (The resale value of the pigeon is now in the thousands.) While Rtfkt receives some revenue from the resale market, it does not set these higher prices. “If an item sells for $100,000 on the secondary market, we don’t make $100,000,” Pagoto says. “One of our collectors and supporters makes the money.

People always say you need the first 100 customers, then 1000. Our first hundred customers are already millionaires. We made people millionaires,” says Pagoto, because of the dramatic increase in resale prices. Customer growth is likely to be a constant indicator of success. “With every new downturn, we think about how to attract new people,” he admits. “But it’s an interesting position that’s very luxurious because we have more demand than we can supply.”

Expect more physical plus digital drops involving NFT and NFC chips, especially in the sneakerverse, which was an early adopter of digital fashion. Competitors include Cult & Rain and a new luxury brand from Gmoney, in addition to expansions from established Adidas and Puma.

Aside from teasers and speculation on Twitter and Discord, Pagotto can’t share any details about his plans for later this year. He could suggest that he will continue to invite people to change the way they think about a sneaker, and will play on the idea of ​​multiple skins to adorn a single basic shape. “You have a base, just like a main character, and you change the appearance with skins. We’re going to focus on the foundation, and we’ve developed some cool material, but I can’t talk about it now. When you see it, you know it comes from a digital world first.”

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