Under Armour Enters Metaverse With NBA Star-Studded Digital Sneaker

The entire sports world celebrated when Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors broke the record for the most three-pointers scored. With 2,974 three-pointers under his belt, Curry’s most important one against the New York Knicks made history. One of the first groups to cheer was the team at Under Armour, which counts the NBA player as a partner. The pair is already behind the Flow 9 physical basketball sneaker that bears Curry’s name. Now they are taking things to the next level with the launch of a metaverse-based digital sneaker.

Under Armour is taking Curry’s record-smashing achievement to the blockchain with the launch of Genesis Curry Flow, a digital cross-platform metaverse sneaker that can be used as in-game gear on select titles. It’s an NFT collection comprised of 2,974 NFTs, in a nod to the basketball star’s three-point milestone. The NFTs are “digital replicas of the game-day shoe Curry was wearing when he broke the record — the Genesis Curry Flow,” according to Under Armour in the announcement. One can be yours for $333.00.

Digital Sneaker Functionality

So what can token-holders do with their nifty metaverse NFTs? That’s the million dollar question. Non-fungible tokens are often used as avatars and can be viewed as a status symbol on social media platforms. Under Armour wants to make its NFTs more practical, calling them the “first functional metaverse shoe,” explaining that they can be worn digitally in basketball and other games across four metaverse ecosystems: 

  • Gala Games, which was founded by Zynga co-founder Eric Schiermeyer. Gala Games will let players “play to earn” TownCoins with their “Curry NFT in Town Star.”
  • Decentraland, an open-source-based VR platform
  • Sandbox, a play-to-earn blockchain game featuring NFTs, decentralized finance (DeFi), and the metaverse
  • Rumble Kong League, a metaverse sports league

The gaming platforms will mint corresponding NFTs for the owners of the Genesis Curry Flow set. Next users claim their digital shoes, where they can put them to good use in the metaverse. Under Armour will redirect the proceeds it earns from the digital sneaker NFTs to a cause that resonates with Curry — kids. The company will donate the funds to pave the way for coach training, safe practice areas, and sporting equipment/gear, without which some kids would never have a chance to participate. Under Armour’s NFT party kicks off on Dec. 21 at 8 p.m. EDT.

Slam Dunk

Steph Curry has already dabbled in NFTs, plunking down $180,000, or 55 ETH, earlier this year for one of the most popular digital collections out there, the Bored Ape Yacht Club. Curry has since placed the Bored Ape with zombie-like features wearing a tweed suit as his profile picture on Twitter.

That’s also where he announced yet another NFT collection that he launched with crypto exchange FTX. This set similarly is a play on Curry’s three-shot record with 2,974 digital tokens in the collection. Each NFT features one of Curry’s thousands of three-pointers from his career. Here again, all of the proceeds from the NFT sales will go to charity.

If FTX’s Curry NFT collection is any indication, Under Armour’s set won’t last long. FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried revealed on Twitter that the Stephen Curry NFT collection sold out in five minutes.

NFT Rabbit Hole

Under Armour is the latest in a wave of projects and companies, both traditional and those native to the blockchain, to fan the NFT flame. On the native side, MetaMask, a crypto wallet and bridge to decentralized applications (Dapps) on the blockchain, is also planting its NFT flag. The project has announced the launch of NFT digital collectibles on the MetaMask extension, a feature that it says will be at parity with the MetaMask mobile app. The addition of NFTs on MetaMask will give artists behind these digital collectibles yet another platform to showcase their creations.

MetaMask boasts 10 million-plus monthly active users, as of August 2021, and is considered the go-to non-custodial cryptocurrency wallet. To participate in the NFT space, users must have a digital wallet, and MetaMask is a popular choice on major platforms like OpenSea.

Not to be outdone, competing crypto wallet extension XDEFI already lets users interact with NFT Dapps from the wallet and jump from blockchain protocol to blockchain protocol. XDEFI is eyeing support for other popular NFT networks like Solana.

Space Age

If crypto wallet extensions are too far down the rabbit hole, we will come back to earth with space NFTS. Big Time Studios is a project founded by Ari Meilich, who is also Decentraland’s former project lead. Big Time is launching a SPACE NFT collection for its space travel game today. The NFTs, of which there are 60,000, are being sold in an auction. SPACE NFTs are “virtual land upgrades” that give players the opportunity to earn Big Time’s token.

Source: BigTime

In addition to giving players the opportunity to earn, the SPACE NFTs “unlock unique gameplay features and utilities,” including:

  • new portals
  • extra rooms
  • specialized crafting areas

With these tools, gamers can set foot on new worlds and fight other-dimension threats, not to mention earning more tokens and scarce NFTs.

Sports and gaming have clearly been early movers in the blockchain industry’s NFT bonanza.

This article originally appeared on Wealth of Geeks and has been republished with permission.

Featured Image Credit: Under Armour

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