Late to the game? Not even close
When I’ve been excitedly pitching our new idea I’ve gotten a lot of push back and I thought I’d set the record straight. We are not late to the game. Rather, the patents that we’ve seen from Nike and Chronicled are not even relevant to the game we want to play. I’m hoping to clear up a lot of common misconceptions with this post by offering up some undisputed facts.
The game SneakerCred is playing
Before we start, I want to make sure that we are on the same page. Let me state as clearly as possible the goals of the IDRivet patent:
- Enable a guild of skilled sneaker experts to certify a shoes authenticity.
- Give this guild the tools to compete in the same market occupied by GOAT and StockX.
- Provide this guild with a truly tamper evident and tamper proof means of attaching a tag to a shoe
- Make the tag as minimalist as possible. Only as big as is absolutely necessary.
- Allow a tags ID number to be connected via a mobile app to a blockchain registry.
- Give sneakerheads a symbol that signals to others their kicks are legit. IDRivets let others know a pair of sneakers are 100% genuine.
SneakerCred’s IP portfolio will focus on giving third party experts who are unrelated to the manufacturer the ability to certify that product. Certificates of authenticity allows buyers and sellers to transact in the secondary market.
What’s the difference between GOAT and SneakerCred?
The value of listing your sneakers with GOAT is that you get a certificate backed up by GOAT’s experts when your shoes arrive in the mail. That certificate is a guarantee of authenticity. Unfortunately the next time those sneakers are sold, the seller who wishes to recertify needs to pay GOAT another relisting fee. The sneakers are then shipped back to GOAT and the process starts all over. GOAT certificates cannot be reused because they rely on the postal system to ensure their security.
SneakerCred however will rely on its patent pending IDRivet technology combined with its mobile app to ensure that certificates can be reused. It also allows sneakerheads to definitively prove via the app how many and what kinds of sneakers they actually own.
What’s the difference between Nike’s patent and SneakerCred’s?
SneakerCred’s patent is very different from the Nike patent. Nike is a manufacturer. Nike has a supply chain. Their supply chain guarantees customers that if they purchase a Nike product in a Nike store the sneakers are genuine. Nike is aware that the secondary market exists. Like any brand they prefer their customers to walk into their stores and buy their products in the primary market. Their cryptokicks patent is a novelty patent, it doesn’t exist to enable the secure buying and selling of sneakers on the secondary market. Regardless of what their patent says they don’t want you to buy their shoes on the secondary market.
The goal of the IDRivet patent (which will be utilized by SneakerCred), however, is to enable the buying and selling of shoes with a certificate of authenticity on the secondary market.
How does Chronicled’s approach differ from SneakerCred’s?
This is from Chronicled’s original whitepaper Open Registry for IoT:
Imagine that you are a 21-year old hitchhiker in the year 2029, and you decide to visit Silicon Valley. You arrive in Palo Alto wearing your augmented reality glasses and lock eyes on a car displayed in front of the Palo Alto Electric Car Museum. The glasses inform you, “This is a 2015 Tesla Model S”. Once you are in proximity of the car, additional information about the car — where it was manufactured, the designer’s original drawings, the owner’s manual, a Model S driving simulator, a list of prior owners, etc. — are all accessible via voice command. You have a digital treasure trove of data about the product model and this individual automobile available to you instantly.
If you read Chronicled’s whitepaper, the reader is immediately made clear that Chronicled’s vision is based on technology that does not currently exist today. Although futuristic technology is really fascinating and makes for great science fiction reading material, I wouldn’t develop a consumer product based off of technology that doesn’t exist yet.
Chronicled is focused on Near-field communication (NFC) and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) tag technology. This technology requires that chips with radio antenna be placed into or attached onto objects that consumers want to tag. These chips must work according to inductive coupling. This technology only works at very short ranges. The opening story in their whitepaper however seems to indicate that inductive coupling in small devices is able to work at a range of several feet. This type of range for small devices simply isn’t possible today or even in some futuristic world. This is because the inverse-square law limits the range at which inductive coupling is capable of working.
If you want your IoT embedded chip to be detected from several feet away here is what you need:
- Embed a large coil of antenna wire the size of a tolltag sticker into the shoe attached to the chip.
- Have your users pay $1,100 to equip their phones with a powerful bluetooth reader like this one. See video here and here.
Otherwise you are going to have to settle for a few centimeters.
Anyone who longs for the return of the headphone jack to the newest series of smartphones knows that Bluetooth is an inherently unreliable technology. We have yet to see bluetooth IoT chips using this technology perform to the level of consumer expectations. This is probably the reason why Chronicled decided to go with NFC chips instead, which only have a range of a few centimeters:
NFC is a set of short-range wireless technologies, typically requiring a separation of 10 cm or less.
It’s an unscientific expectation that in the future we will see ranges for these NFC chips increase by 10 fold.
Chronicled’s other wrong assumption
From the whitepaper:
Don’t serial numbers help to solve the problem of counterfeit product fraud?
Unique identifiers that Brands include in their products are not truly unique. A serial number, UPC code, QR code, or barcode can be copied or cloned. Dishonest manufacturers can easily copy the legitimate identifiers, and consumers have no way to verify if a serial number is real, copy-of-real, or totally bogus.
I’m afraid that the security seal industry worth hundreds of millions of dollars would disagree with you. And after reviewing the promotional material here and watching the video here I’d have to agree with them.
SneakerCred’s rivet has tamperproof and tamper evident features which prevent anyone from taking a rivet with a unique ID and transferring it from the authenticated shoe to a counterfeit. The patented technology that it uses to protect against fraud and abuse is simple and straightforward. Physical rivets don’t need complicated radio technologies to communicate with user’s phones. Because of this simpler design, it is far less likely to malfunction than an NFC chip.
So in summary NFC chips don’t work as envisioned and are not even necessary to prevent counterfeiting. This greatly reduces Chronicled’s value proposition.
Chronicled’s tags are big
Opinion: Weighing in at a massive 3 cm in diameter this tag is one hell of a fashion statement. With a diameter of 1 cm the IDRivet is nearly 10x less obtrusive. So far Chronicled’s tags have been used to create a boutique line of sneakers for customers such as Marshawn Lynch’s BEASTMODE Royale Chukka. These types of tags were developed for new lines of sneakers. These tags were never made to be added to previously manufactured sneakers. The IDRivet patent seeks to provide a means of adding a tag to existing sneakers of all brands, from any time. This would not be limited to new novel boutique releases.
The initial feedback to this idea was along these lines:
“This is taboo, you know that right?” — Q
“Modifying a collectible sneaker in this way with this rivet is forbidden. To even suggest such an action is an outrage, an affront to the delicate sensibilities of sneaker culture. A rivet in the top eyelet of a sneaker is an absurd anathema which shall be roundly rejected!” — Jeeves
“It ain’t gonna work man, they neva gonna go for it.” — Mo’Money
After asking a few questions however things always change:
- How much is getting your sneakers permanently certified worth to you?
- How would you like to do trades at a SneakerCon and know for certain that you are getting genuine kicks?
- How you like to prove to anyone who sees you that your kicks are legit?
- How would you like to prove to anyone the quantity and quality of your entire sneaker collection?
- To use GOAT with shipping costs is $50, what if I could give you a more personalized service for $20?
- What would it be worth to you to be able to prove that you owned sneakers once worn by your favorite celebrity?
Just by talking to people, they spontaneously become willing to consider how valuable the 1 cm x 1 cm real estate on the top of their first shoelace hole really is. This is truly prime real estate and every sneakerhead has the choice to build on it or not. No one else can make this choice for you, only you can make it. If you feel that the ROI will be worth it then go for it.
More importantly we all start asking ourselves some relevant questions:
- Who defines value? Is it others or is it ourselves?
- Who defines culture? Is it influencers or is it the community?
- Who the heck is Jeeves and what makes him the authority on sneakers anyways?
Now it’s your turn!
Forget Jeeves! What do you think?
Do you think that rivets are going to be a new type of street cred? Is this going to be a way for people to make their kicks “official?” Will rivets be the new badge of “realness” or “ratchetness?” Make your voice heard!
I will be sharing more with you about the feedback from our readers in future posts! Will IDRivets as tags on existing shoes be compatible with Sneakerhead culture? Stay tuned!