By Kim Bhasin
Sneaker resale marketplace StockX LLC is starting a service that allows users to trade sneakers without ever taking possession of them.
The service, set to be unveiled Tuesday under the name Vault NFTs, uses non-fungible tokens tied to physical products that sneaker traders can buy and sell instantly using blockchain technology to ensure authenticity. Buyers will own the token and the corresponding sneakers and may have them delivered at any time. All the products will be warehoused in one place until final delivery, eliminating intermediary shipping costs and transit times that would otherwise delay transactions for several days.
“To date, unlike traditional stock exchanges, the millions of orders executed on StockX involve physical products moving from sellers to StockX for authentication, and then ultimately to buyers to be worn, collected, resold, or simply held as an alternative investment,” StockX Chief Executive Officer Scott Cutler said in a statement. “We’ve always known that this was just the beginning.”
Alternative asset marketplaces for everything from sports collectibles to fine art are facing new competition from digital upstarts that use tokens for trading tangible goods. In sneakers, fully digital items are starting to attract interest too. In December, Adidas AG sold millions of dollars in NFTs, and Nike Inc. acquired virtual sneaker maker RTFKT for an undisclosed sum.
StockX will make a limited selection of sneakers available to trade with the new method upon launch, with plans to expand offerings in the coming months.
StockX’s digital push comes as it works with banks and intends to go public in the first half of 2022, Bloomberg News previously reported. In April, the company said it was valued at $3.8 billion after a secondary tender offering.
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