When Elon Musk announced that Tesla would accept Bitcoin as payment for its cars, it proved to be a short-lived initiative. But the EV company's move opened a door for Adidas' plans to use blockchain, said the sportswear company's Web3 lead Erika Wykes-Sneyd.
"Elon Musk helped to open that door for us, just a little bit, so we could capture people's imaginations internally," Wykes-Sneyd told Decrypt at the NFT Paris conference. "We did use it as a slipstream," she added—one that enabled Web3 advocates at the company to "start the conversation" around what Adidas could do with blockchain technology.
One thing Adidas was keen to avoid was simply offering crypto payment options for its products. "I think those of us that knew were like, 'Well, I don't think just accepting crypto is what it means to get in this space,'" said Wykes-Sneyd.
Instead, the sportswear giant embarked on an ambitious program of Web3 initiatives that included buying its own Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT, teaming up with NFT collector gmoney on a multimillion-dollar NFT drop and partnering with crypto exchange Coinbase and metaverse platform The Sandbox. The company even showcased its Bored Ape avatar, Indigo Herz, in its World Cup trailer.
Building Adidas' Web3 strategy
From day one, said Wykes-Sneyd, the aim was to "make sure we're supercharging and using Web3 to fast track what Adidas is saying its corporate goals are." That involved a lot of planning; her team spent nine months engaging in "laying down the strategy, building the foundations, a lot of relationship building" before putting its Web3 plans into action. "By the time we went to market, everybody for the most part thought, 'Wow, Adidas is early,'" she said. "And we were, but we were actually thinking about this and planning it for 10 months prior."
The company's future plans include token-gated sneaker drops and—potentially—payments in Apecoin, the Bored Ape Yacht Club-themed token.
As for Tesla, the EV company abandoned its plans to use Bitcoin as a payment method mere months after Elon Musk's much-trumpeted announcement, citing the cryptocurrency's environmental impact.
Adidas, for its part, is more committed to cryptocurrency and Web3. "We've fully indoctrinated everybody at this point," said Wykes-Sneyd. "That's been part of the journey for the last year and a half, is getting people across a huge global organization to be drinking the Kool-Aid."