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A pair of trainers – yours, for £3,833

A pair of trainers – yours, for £3,833

Posted on 15th December 2021

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More evidence of the acceleration towards the metaverse

One of our marketing team, whilst at university, watched a friend sell someone a brick for a pound (drink may have been involved).  At least there was something tangible for the buyer’s pound, although his remorse was less easily quantified, but the latest trend in the metaverse, reported a day or so ago, is for wealthy people to buy up virtual land.

Just to show you how far and wide we scour the media for these updates, I discovered this news in the South China Morning Post, but it’s also widely available in other publications. Essentially, property speculators are buying up land that only exists in the virtual world.  In the US, it’s reported that “New York-based company Republic Realm announced it had spent a record-breaking $4.3 million on digital land through The Sandbox, one of several "virtual world" websites where people can socialise, play games and even attend concerts.”

Given that the Chinese economy is taking a major hit just now from the travails of Evergrande, currently the world’s most indebted company, and that in 2009 the subprime crisis was one of the factors that led to the Great Recession of the second decade of the 21st century, I’m not sure that I’d rush just yet into virtual property.  However, if like me, you can’t afford real estate, virtual or otherwise, then you can always make smaller, strategic investments in virtual trainers. The news, yesterday, that Nike has bought RTFKT, the maker of digital trainers, shows the way the market is going.  Apparently, RTFKT sold 600 pairs of physical trainers in March this year for the eye-watering sum of $3.1M. In sterling, that’s equivalent to £3,833 per pair, but apparently the cost was largely accounted for by the fact that with each pair of usable trainers the buyer also got a pair of virtual trainers. The latter are examples of Non-Fungible-Tokens, virtual assets that are authenticated using blockchain technology.

Trainers are only part of what looks like a valuable and rapidly growing market. In May this year, a virtual Gucci bag was sold for more than the real thing.  Where is this all going to end? Well, on the face of it NFTs are fools’ gold, but I would not like to bet against a lot of people becoming very rich before this is all over…

Scott Bentley, Be-IT

Posted in News, Opinion

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