The sneaker authentication app from tech startup Suku is betting big on NFT sneakers you can’t wear on your feet — at least not in the physical world.
NFTs (non-fungible tokens) have never been more popular, and as digital collectibles become more and more prevalent, the ways in which they can be bought, sold, and displayed are evolving right along with them.
Infinite, an app developed by blockchain technology company Suku, aims to make a splash with an innovative method for authenticating sneakers that pairs physical shoes with digital tokens backed by crypto technology.
This responds to a need — according to GQ, counterfeit sneakers are a $450 billion global market. Eventually, however, Infinite wants to expand to offering NFT sneakers that are digital-only and not tied to a tangible item at all.
Digital trading cards have skyrocketed in popularity thanks to platforms like NBA Top Shot and Sorare enjoying hundreds of millions of dollars in retail and secondary-market sales to date. Infinite hopes to capitalize on this wave by developing a marketplace to facilitate transactions of virtual sneakers that can be traded or “worn” in virtual environments like video games.
It’s an ambitious extension of their current use of NFTs, which helps verify authenticity, ownership, and transaction history for each physical pair.
Once Infinite authenticates a shoe, it is given a unique physical tag in addition to non-fungible token powered by Hedera Hashgraph, a digital ledger similar to a blockchain. The NFT will allow buyers to see the item’s previous ownership and gain the peace of mind that comes from knowing they are protected from fraud.
“I see this as the Carfax for kicks,” sneaker enthusiast, YouTuber, and Infinite director of business development Sean Williams told Business Insider. “The history is there, it lives with it, it travels on from owner to owner.”
While sneakers are the focus for now, Infinite has its eyes on expansion to other collectible categories like art, cars and other assets, which would all be linked to NFTs on a new marketplace called Infinite Digital.
Similar to what we have seen in the trading card community with platforms like Starstock, Infinite app users do not need to have immediate physical access to a shoe in order to sell or buy; the identifying NFT tag simply travels from one user’s encrypted wallet to another. And that digital-only framework is a case study for how Infinite Digital might be the ideal home for buying and selling sneakers that exist exclusively in the virtual world.
So, is there really room in the sneaker game for shoes you can’t wear on your own two feet? Given the explosive growth of NFTs in industries like apparel, sports collectibles, art, and gaming, Suku and Infinite are strongly convinced that the answer isn’t simply yes, but resoundingly so.