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Nike's big push into the blockchain starts with '.Swoosh'

Nike

Nike's interest in the blockchain extends beyond buying a digital collectibles startup. The apparel maker has introduced ".Swoosh," a blockchain-based platform that will let members collect and eventually create virtual jerseys, shoes and other goods they can wear in games and other online spaces. You may get access to real-world products and special events, too. The creation of an "inclusive" community is important, Nike says, although the company isn't shy about wanting to make money — you can buy virtual products using conventional payments, much like you would a physical pair of runners.

The .Swoosh platform is currently in beta. Sign-ups start November 18th, and you'll need an access code if you want to avoid sitting on a waiting list. Nike doesn't start official "programming" until December, and the first community-shaped virtual collection is poised to launch in early 2023. The brand's initial community building will focus on the US and some European countries.

Nike also hinted at how it will motivate some creators. After that first collection arrives, the firm will launch a community challenge that gives winners a chance to co-create virtual items with Nike. They'll earn a royalty on whatever products they ultimately sell.

The debut comes just under a year after Nike bought RTFKT to accelerate its virtual goods business, and represents its first major push into the field. Nike also faces some competition from athletics wear rivals eager to profit from the blockchain. Adidas has participated in NFT drops, for instance, while Reebok has released its own collectible items. The .Swoosh rollout could help Nike counter those challenges by creating a go-to hub for digtally-savvy fans.