Footwear giant Nike just received a patent for a crazy idea in which it tokenizes the models in the Ethereum blockchain. The patent, which was published on Tuesday, December 10th on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office website has granted Nike the ownership rights to the system in which the company hopes to use to bring more engagement with its customers and between customers.
The patent application describes a system in which a model owner gets rights to a virtual counterpart shoe tokenized no the blockchain. The blockchain version is created on the Ethereum on-fungible token standards ERC721 or ERC1155. The physical model may not be the talking point but its combination with the virtual model counterpart gives the owner rights to unlock extra features such as “surrogacy, parenting, nannying” and “breeding.”
In the patent application, Nike gives the owners of some of their shoes the right to cross-breed their shoes borrowing certain features of a shoe that is already in existence in order to breed the properties of these shoes such as colors, styles, and backgrounds on to an “offspring” model design.
The best part is that the owners of the “offspring” shoe can then make the custom shoe design through special order to Nike. Nike explains on the patent application that “‘breeding rights’ for a digital shoe may be governed by one or more real-world manufacturing restrictions; ownership rights for each successive generation of a digital shoe may be tied back to the original, real-world shoe (e.g., wholly or partially; by percentage of genotypic contribution, etc.) via encryption key to the originally associated virtual product.”
Nike has a ‘cool’ name to these virtual shoes borrowing its cue from the popular Ethereum-based game Crypto-Kitties. It is called CryptoKicks.
“When a consumer buys a genuine pair of shoes a digital representation of a shoe may be generated, linked with the consumer, and assigned a cryptographic token, where the digital shoe and cryptographic token collectively represent a ‘CryptoKick.’”
In the event that the current owner of a tokenized shoe sells their physical shoe, the digital ownership is also passed on to the new owner as well and since it is an NFT token, the new owner gains total ownership of the shoe, the virtual representation and all the rights to the shoe and its offsprings.
Nike describes the new patent as a way to also give consumers a method to verify the authenticity of its shoes. It states in the application that “after receiving the shoebox containing the purchased sneakers, the user scans the box UPC with a barcode scan feature in a sneakers app operating on the user’s smartphone.”
This scan will verify not just that the shoe is genuine but also gives the owner the idea of the provenance of the shoes.