Footwear has long been a critical element of culture and fashion worldwide. For some, shoes exist only to protect one’s feet from the elements; but for others, they are the most critical part of a wardrobe. Sneakers, in particular, have developed a cult following, with some ultra-rare pairs selling for tens of thousands of dollars. 

An entire industry has developed around sneaker culture, ranging from the shoe manufacturers and retailers themselves to the influencers who help drive the culture. And as Web3 becomes more mainstream, big sneaker brands like Nike are dipping their toes into nonfungible tokens (NFTs) and the metaverse, while play-to-earn projects like StepN have also experimented with tokenizing shoes.

One particularly active group is resellers, who purchase just released, high-demand shoes and resell them to eager buyers who missed out on the original drop. CryptoKicks, a United Kingdom-based shoe resale business founded by 13-year-old Blake Cockram, is taking this business model and adding a fresh Web3 spin to it — anyone who buys a pair of sneakers with crypto gets 10% off their order.

On Episode 22 of The Agenda, hosts Jonathan DeYoung and Ray Salmond chat with Blake to learn what it’s like being a teenage entrepreneur and how CryptoKicks’ crypto-centric business model is helping onboard new users into the blockchain space.

Onboarding newbies to crypto, one shoe at a time

“We accept crypto as a payment,” Blake explained. “You can pay in whatever you want, but we’ve got a thing going, and if you pay in crypto, you get 10% off any trainer.” According to the young entrepreneur, this proves an enticing offer for many, especially when in-demand sneakers on the secondary market can cost hundreds of dollars.

“People think, ‘Oh wow, that sounds quite good. May as well get some crypto and get some cheaper Jordans.’”

CryptoKicks accepts Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH) and stablecoins like Tether (USDT). According to Blake, most customers who purchase sneakers with crypto are brand new to blockchain. “‘I’ve probably only had about one or two people who were already into crypto, but everyone else has kind of been new to it, and we’ve got them into it,” he told co-hosts Jonathan DeYoung and Ray Salmond. So, in addition to getting a pretty sweet discount, Blake’s customers also learn how cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin work and how to take greater control over their assets.

“We’ve walked a couple people through it, like download this app, make your wallet, that it might take 24 hours to confirm you, because it normally does. And you just tell them how to go through it. And a couple people have asked us, ‘What’s the best coin for me to pay you in? What would I make money off in the future?’ and stuff like that.”

The life of a 13-year-old crypto entrepreneur

Blake, himself, was orange-pilled by his older brother. “He’s into crypto a lot, and he’s like, ‘We could do something crazy here. ‘You start your company and put crypto in the name, and people are going to go crazy for it.’ And we’ve done it, and it’s worked out pretty good.”