25 May 2023 22:05, UTC
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Nike’s .SWOOSH Web3 platform has released its first non-fungible token (NFT) sneaker collection, surpassing $1 million in sales despite persistent delays and technical issues that hindered the user experience.
The sale of the highly-anticipated Nike virtual creations began on May 15, nearly a week after their previously-announced start date of May 8. The first round of sales, called “First Access,” was open exclusively for select users who were airdropped “posters” that served as their early entry ticket. In total, Nike says there were 106,453 posters distributed to its earliest .SWOOSH community members.
The “General Access” sale began on May 24 – two weeks after its proposed sale date of May 10 – and aimed to offload any remaining NFTs from its total inventory of 106,453.
As of Thursday afternoon, over 66,000 NFTs had been sold, according to Polygonscan. Each NFT was priced at $19.82 – a tribute to the year the Air Force 1 sneaker was first released – indicating that Nike has raked in about $1.3 million from sales so far, though the sale is ongoing and now ends on June 1.
While initial numbers look promising, the launch was delayed several times due to technical and traffic issues, according to Nike, leaving excited buyers frustrated by the cumbersome process.
Meanwhile, updates from the Nike team have hinted that sales are moving slower than expected. While popular Nike physical sneaker releases often sell out in minutes, over a third of the OF1 NFTs are still available for purchase.
Chronic delays and technical glitches
When the First Access sale finally took off on May 15, the launch was bogged down by repeated delays, setting the tone for a bumpy NFT mint.
On May 7, the Twitter account for .SWOOSH tweeted that the platform needed a few more days to “fine-tune” its rollout and create a “seamless” experience.
However, when the First Access sale began, the website frequently crashed, leading to an uneven minting experience that lasted several hours. Some users expressed disappointment with the finicky experience, considering Nike’s expertise in releasing limited-edition collectibles to the masses.
On May 16, Nike extended its First Access sale “due to the ongoing tech issues,” pushing back its General Access sale in response. Additional “traffic issues” led to a second delay.
On May 17, Nike said that there were still over 85,000 OF1 boxes left. By May 22, that number still hovered around 83,000, despite what appeared to be a large number of users eagerly awaiting the ability to purchase their NFTs.
The General Access sale began on May 24, though the site was again plagued with processing delays. Some users even reported being charged for OF1 NFTs despite not receiving them. In response, .SWOOSH said that it “ran into an unforeseen error that held up the minting process” that “also blocked additional purchases.”
On May 25, Nike tweeted that over 55,000 OF1 boxes had been sold to over 30,000 unique buyers and hailed the sale a success. Other Nike staff praised .SWOOSH for “managing some insane traffic.”
Nike did not immediately respond to CoinDesk for comment.
The global sneaker giant has been making steady moves to expand its Web3 strategy over the past several years, previously acquiring digital fashion startup RTFKT Studios. RTFKT has launched several successful NFTs, including its CryptoKicks collection, and has partnered with brands like Rimowa and artist Takashi Murakami on limited-edition releases.
.SWOOSH has teased the release of a .SWOOSH marketplace in the coming months and has touted plans to expand into virtual and IRL experiences, gaming, mint passes and 3D Files.
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