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Shortly after, Adidas Originals shared a subtle tweet to say “We’ve partnered with Coinbase. Probably nothing.” Playing down the significance of the partnership is intended, no doubt, to build hype and excitement. Key players supporting Adidas in this partnership are well versed in preparing for the next evolution of the internet, Web 3.0. Collectively, they provide the necessary means to catapult Adidas into the metaverse.
As more conglomerates stake their claims in the metaverse, it’s becoming clear the risk is worth taking. Major investments into digital such as these happen only when there’s groundbreaking change on the horizon. And first-mover advantage means not having to spend even more money trying to catch up.
Exclusivity and verification
Adidas made another, quieter, announcement a couple of weeks ago. It released a Proof of Attendance Protocol POAP within the Confirmed app.
The Adidas Confirmed app offers loyal fans rare content and access to exclusive sneaker releases and hype drops. This includes first looks at products from Adidas Originals brands and partners such as Yeezy, Prada, Pharrell, Palace, Craig Green, and Human Made. The PoAP ensures Adidas can easily recognise its top fans in the metaverse when it comes time for these special events.
Exclusive and limited-edition goods make for ideal non-fungible tokens (NFTs) on the blockchain. They can be verified and traced between owners, ensuring the value and authenticity of that item is maintained. By inserting the POAP into Confirmed, Adidas has demonstrated another use for NFTs.
“This digital collectable is our way of rewarding you for following your curiosity as we explore this new age of originality together,” Adidas said in a statement. “This token proves you were here from the beginning of this journey. Keep it safe – it may come in handy.”
We’re increasingly moving into an era when such proof of authenticity is important, along with having some protection of, and control over, personal data, such as pictures we use on social media. This is because Web 3.0 – in which online users will participate much more within decentralised systems and environments, rather than relying on the tech giants’ platforms – is the next frontier on the internet, blockchain, and the metaverse.
This development can be the means for truly democratised engagement and participation; however, it will completely disrupt ownership and digital assets as we know them today.
As more people get involved with creating their own open and transparent virtual worlds, whole communities will benefit and become part of the metaverse future.
Cross-collaboration is critical
The four-way Adidas partnership signals what it takes to enter the metaverse, highlighting that cross-collaboration is key in building the necessary systems and infrastructure online. It’s no longer about one company monopolising the landscape; instead, it involves working together to create infinite landscapes.
The steps Adidas is taking alongside Coinbase provide the mechanism for people to buy, sell, and trade digital currencies such as cryptocurrency in virtual environments. The Sandbox enables Adidas to design its virtual environment alongside its fans’ spaces, creating a space to interact and socialise. Weave in one of the most recognisable NFT brands, Bored Ape Yacht Club, and unique storytelling by Punks Comics, and the interactive narrative begins to evolve as the user base grows.
For major brands, this is a great way to allow their community to create content within a branded virtual environment. It pushes beyond a physical store, 2D website, or app. We’ll soon be at a point where people move fluidly between all environments. And there will be a greater expectation of a consistent experience connected to an interactive loyalty program that feels more like a game than subscribing to uninspiring email lists.
This is new territory for many but Adidas, et al, are willing to forge ahead, posing an important question along the way: “What if we invite all of the original thinkers and do-ers to design our future together?”