What Endstate actually sells are NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens), which are released in limited quantities on a regular basis. Customers purchase her NFTs, indicate their shoe size, and within weeks receive real sneakers.

Shoes come with a variety of perks and access to real-life experiences. (I wasn’t kidding about the cheesesteak.)

At NFT.NYC in June, Howard and Collen met me at a cafe just days after raising a $5.5 million seed round from investors including Archetype Ventures, Accomplice, and Castle Island Ventures.

Endstate co-founders Bennett Collen (left) and Stephanie Howard (right) wore matching sneakers to NFT NYC this summer.Anissa Gardizy

The co-founders arrived in matching sneakers that looked like regular shoes until Collen tapped her smartphone near the laces. A 3D rendering of him in his shoes was shown on the screen, with the word “genuine” in green.

In doing so, Collen made sure his kicks were one of 50 built for Endstate’s first sneaker drop. The company embeds a chip in the tongue of every sneaker, linked to his corresponding NFT.

why is this important? For Endstate, NFTs are more than just digital art. The startup operates in the “Utility NFT” space. In other words, digital assets, like contracts and memberships, come with certain rights and privileges for their owners.

The market for NFTs as digital artwork is an important development in the industry. collapsed greatly.

Nic Carter, a partner at Castle Island Ventures, said in a recent blog post that several “tech-savvy luxury brands” have considered selling NFTs without physical goods or utilitarian components in the last year. I wrote that it is highly

“Now that the hype has cooled, these brands believe that the real innovation is not to exploit fans by selling overpriced JPEGs with dubious utility, but by combining enduring digital assets with merchandise. You’ll start to realize that it’s about exploiting.”

In fact, Endstate’s goal is to partner with artists, athletes, and entrepreneurs on NFT sneaker drops to connect their digital assets. To physical goods and real experience and rewards.

Endstate sneakers “Ukraine Aid”.Lane Turner/Glove Staff

The company is currently working with Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Devonta Smith to sell $250 sneakers. Sneaker owners can attend Smith-sponsored events in Philadelphia, as well as exclusive game-watching parties. (“Sneakers are the ticket,” Howard said, because the shoes contain chips.)

Perks will continue to be offered throughout the season. After his first touchdown, every time a certain number of yards is exceeded, NFT holders receive a free cheesesteak gift card.

“It’s fun, but it shows how NFTs can go beyond physical sneakers and unlock this alternate world,” said Howard.

Howard was unable to share details, but Endstate is in talks with musicians, creators, and brands known for sneakers and streetwear.

Endstate also paid tribute to Welles Remy Crowther, an alumnus who died after saving at least 12 people in the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York City, with this year’s Boston College game “Red Bandana” limited edition sneaker. will be sold next month. .

Both co-founders of the company Experience the cutting edge of innovation.

For Howard, it’s sneakers. She joined New Balance after college, and when she designed the New Balance 850 in 1996, she was the Boston-based company’s youngest employee., A groundbreaking pair of shoes that the company re-released in 2019 (it was the first pair that didn’t display the “N” logo on the side of the shoe.

Designer Stephanie Howard poses for a portrait circa March 1996. Howard, 23, is the youngest designer for Boston-based New Balance and the third-largest producer of his running shoes in the United States. Lane Turner/Globe Staff/Boston Globe via Getty Images

Howard went to Reebok before becoming Nike’s design director. Over the last 10 years, she has consulted on innovation for her Timberland, Vans, Converse and other brands.

A BC graduate, Collen brings fame from the world of technology. In 2014, he founded Cognate, which was trying to validate and enforce blockchain trademark rights. “It was an uphill battle in 2016 and he tried to sell it to lawyers in 2017,” he said.

Internet domain registrar and website hosting company GoDaddy acquired Cognate in 2018.

Collen teaches blockchain and cryptocurrency at BC and wanted to start another blockchain business during the pandemic. I met Howard after attending a webinar on sneakers and the law where she was a panelist.

Collen and Howard believe that in the not-too-distant future, everything that matters to real-world consumers (sneakers, apparel, accessories) will be digitally replicated. (That’s what they believe is the “final state” of product ownership.)

“This bottle of water doesn’t have a digital version, but anything of value or meaning to me needs a digital version,” says Collen. “We want to be at the forefront of that.”

Anissa Gardizy can be reached at [email protected] follow her on her twitter @anissagardizy8 and on Instagram @anissagardizy.journalism.

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