SNKR WARS Builds a Footbridge to the Metaverse


One of the biggest challenges to the mainstream blockchain is that it’s entirely virtual. NFTs remain lines of code on a ledger that point to patterns of pixels on a screen. You can’t even pet Dogecoin’s shiba inu. As long as potential users feel that their million-dollar crypto-purchases vanish every time they turn off their devices, blockchain will fight to build trust beyond early adopters.

That gap between the virtual crypto world and the real world is closing, however. Experiences and physical goods tied to NFTs are bridging the way to mainstream adoption. And if you are going to cross that bridge you may need some sneakers. 

Marc Scepi is a footwear designer who, over the last 25 years, has worked for brands including New Balance, Timberland, Teva, and Saucony. He’s also a cryptocurrency enthusiast and when Covid struck, he took the opportunity to dig into NFTs. It wasn’t long before he was wondering how to find a connection between the crypto world and his passion for sneaker design. 

The result was SNKR WARS, a robot-themed metaverse that turns NFTs into physical footwear.

Launching on the Solana network at the end of October, SNKR WARS depicts a battle between two opposing teams of cyborgs. Cypherpunks fight for freedom and decentralization; K-Otic Corp. battles for greed and stasis. Every few months, SNKR WARS will release NFT drops of different characters but some rarities will include metadata that allow the owner to obtain real, physical sneakers. Availability is limited to between 100 and 500 pairs. 

With the launch of SNKR WARS’ Arclands metaverse, collectors will be able to import their NFT sneakers and avatars and trade their designs in the metaverse’s ecosystem. Visitors to the metaverse will even be able view and buy sneakers from retailers that they can wear in the real world. 

“The concept of our metaverse is to allow brands to easily plug and play in our world, create a 3D virtual retail space, and mint their products as NFTs,” explains Scepi. “Consumers will be able to see the products in 3D, spin them, see reviews, etc., then purchase them as an NFT, store the digital version in their wallet and have the physical product shipped to their home or picked up at a store near them.”

SNKR WARS’s second drop will be made up of collaborations. Smart contracts will enable designers who add their own sneaker designs to the metaverse to receive royalties every time a sneaker is bought and traded on the secondary market. “Everyone that touches the art piece will get a percentage of its profits,” says Scepi. “This is my way to give back to the design community I love so much.”

SNKR WARS represents the first major bridge between metaverses and the real world, a way of creating a digital imprint of physical ownership and a physical version of a digital product. But there’s no reason for that bridge to be built only of footwear. 

“Connecting these worlds can lead many different industries to follow this model,” says Scepi. 

For now, we’ll be crossing the bridge on foot but how long before we’re traveling between real and virtual worlds by bicycle—or in custom-designed, NFT cars that you can then pick up at your local showroom?

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