German sportswear maker Adidas cashed in on the non-fungible tokens (NFTs) hype last weekend, selling 30,000 of its "Into the Metaverse" collection of NFTs for 0.2 Ether each.
At current prices, that means the company could have pulled in around €21 million - although as the price of Ether fluctuates rapidly an exact figure is hard to estimate.
The sale, organised in two batches, was initially beset by technical issues that saw Adidas pause the NFT minting process after about 20 minutes.
One problem: pausing the minting process caused large numbers of transactions to fail, leaving prospective buyers on the hook for the Ethereum blockchain's infamous transaction charges - known as 'gas' - but with nothing to show for it.
Responding on Monday, Adidas tweeted that those who lost their gas fees would be refunded. "Those who felt hurt by gas in the public sale, we are learning from it," the company said.
After a pandemic year that saw the hype over assets like meme stocks, Pokemon cards and trainers hit fever pitch, sports brands are looking to cash in on the next big thing.
Earlier this month, Adidas rival Nike announced it had purchased RTFKT (pronounced 'artefact'), a company specialising in collectible virtual sneakers, for an undisclosed sum.
"Our plan is to invest in the RTFKT brand, serve and grow their innovative and creative community and extend Nike’s digital footprint and capabilities," the company said in a statement on its blog.
RTFKT, which was founded in January 2020, claims to be a world leader in creating "one of a kind sneakers and digital artefacts".
A key selling point is that owners of some RTFKT NFTs can claim physical versions of their digital sneakers, something that may hint at Nike's future plans for the Metaverse.