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Nike receives patent to tokenize shoes on Ethereum

Celia Wan

Shoe manufacturer Nike just received a patent to tokenize shoes on the Ethereum blockchain. 

In a document posted on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and dated Dec. 10, Nike stated that it intends to generate unique IDs and create ERC 721 tokens for some shoes. People can "unlock" these tokens by purchasing physical shoes and these tokens can then be linked with unique owner IDs to signify ownership. Besides representing a digital shoe, the token can also record the so-call genotype information of a digital shoe, including specific attributes, colors, styles, backgrounds.

The patent could presumably allow users to exert more control over their shoes and shoe designs. For example, the application highlights that owners can set limits on how many copies of their proprietary shoes can be cloned and produced. There are also "surrogacy features" to grant others the right to mix shoe designs and "parenting/nannying features" to allow third parties to take care of the shoes. 

In addition, "'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," stated the patent. 

It is not surprising that Nike is looking to tokenize footwear. In China, where Nike saw a 22% quarterly revenue jump in September, limited-edition footwear produced by named brands are creating a frenzy. Earlier this year Chinese news site Xinhua.net reported that second-hand sneaker trading platforms are gaining traction in China, where people can buy limit edition shoes and resell to pocket the difference. "Fashionable shoes have already acquired traits of stocks and futures," the news wrote.