Nike might be giving a whole new meaning to digitalization. The American sportswear giant has received a patent in the U.S. for CryptoKicks, a wide-ranging concept founded on the blockchain – the same sort of computer ledger that underlies cryptocurrencies. In one of its iterations, it serves as a sneaker-tracking device. To quote from the patent application, it is a “method of generating cryptographic digital assets for footwear” and confirming “a validated transfer of footwear from one party to another.” In essence, a shoe, its seller and its buyer are linked in such a way as to defy counterfeiting. But the patent application goes well beyond that. CryptoKicks could also be “computer-generated virtual collectibles, such as digital shoes.” Here, Nike redefines the CryptoKick as a “digital asset,” which needn't be linked to any physical object. Instead, it could be linked, for instance, “with a 2D or 3D design file, rendering or drawing package from which a physical product may be constructed.” There is more in the application.

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