One hour after the main event (with song-drop and breakdancing), dozens of journalists gathered to ask Adidas and Marshmello questions.
"ARISTIDE": Everybody can break dance, yeah? Because that is necessary.
Hello, i wanted to say a few words. Was everybody at the main presentation? Okay, good.
I wanted to say a few words, just to clarify to make it very clear. adidas, in the last little while, maybe years, has realized, there is very big problem with outsourcing.
It is by design, It is by contract, it is by law — factories that we do not actually have control of, they are very far away. This is the same for any multinational.
The difference with adidas is that we know it and we address it inside and we speak in lengthy, lengthy conversations in Herzogenaurach about the big problems of many, many tens of thousands of workers suffering in the way that they do.
We want a solution in real world, but we cannot have a solution in real world. Because it is the way that system of outsourcing works. We would go bankrupt if we wanted to change all the contracts and subcontracts and subcontracts etc, and pay workers adequately, and recompense all the outstanding claims that already exist which are tens of millions of dollars — we cannot do that without going bankrupt again. (If you know history of adidas we went backrupt in 1980s, that is when we were reformed to majorly outsource.)
So what we do instead is we create virtual world within Metaverse, it is called adiVerse. And in adiVerse, workers are fitted with chips that measure work directly, that generates a kind of blockchain instrument called adiCoin, which is the name of our company. adiCoin is spendable only in the adiVerse, which is good enough, because that is the only place it needs to be used.
And our workers are very wealthy in adiVerse and can enjoy life in a full way, like all of us — you come to Lisbon, one of the nicest cities in world. They can go wherever they want to in adiVerse, in virtual world. So what we try to do with this is give all workers — who in real world suffer, many cannot eat one meal, proper, good, healthy, per day. Many of them cannot visit sick parents who are too far, they cannot miss work, they get fired. They cannot maybe even get pregnant. This is the fact of sometimes.
There are many such facts and what we give them in adiVerse is completely a different world from this. It is very many meals, very much travel wherever wanted, etc. etc.
So, uh, that is that is what i wanted to say. That this is all we can do within the current system that we are locked into, unless we go bankrupt, and we do not want to go bankrupt. And all of the companies which we are colleagues with which we are brothers and sisters with have exactly same situation. They are locked into system, that that is made for them, of course, they are very happy this system exists but they did not invent it. So if we want to change the worker suffering of adidas in these various places, and I listed dozens of countries where we have factories, then we have to change entire system because that's just dozens of countries for us, and there are many thousands of such factories. We have to change entire system, and it is not one company at a time. It is not enough. We have goodwill, that is strange for a large company of our size. We are primarily of course concerned with shareholder value, like any company. We are betting against bets that this does not sink our stock, but i do not think it will.
So now we will, if Marshmello would like to make any comments, this is our new spokesperson as you know, youth spokesperson.
"MARSHMELLO": Ditto. I'll take questions. I don't have much to say but i'll take questions.
"ARISTIDE": Yes, me too.
MODERATOR: Raise your hand if you have a question and state your name.
(Ten seconds of silence pass.)
"ARISTIDE": Then everything is self-explanatory? Excellent.
MAN: I understood that we are talking about a new platform in Metaverse in order to protect workers. Will it be free of charge for everybody? Or is there some kind of intention to earn money?
"ARISTIDE": Yes. No, it is not free of charge it but you can only pay in adiCoin, which is generated by workers in factory as work. So it is not to protect workers, it is to give workers opportunity to live like human beings.
And for other human beings, such as you, you are welcome in adiVerse but you must buy with, what do you call it, "fiat currency." adiCoin is only generated by the labor of adidas workers — currently adidas, we are happy to open it if there are any other companies interested in it, you know we call it something else we call it, adinikiwhatevercoin. But currently it is adiCoin and you are welcome to buy it, but you buy it, essentially from worker who generates it. So this enables the workers to make a little coin — fiat coin, real coin.
"MARSHMELLO": Aristide, can i talk about it a minute?
"ARISTIDE": Oh yeah, go ahead.
"MARSHMELLO": Because I'm big into crypto, you know, i I like it, I like crypto, I like blockchain, i like the potential it has. And this is a whole new protocol. This is why I got involved. It's called proof of labor. As a worker works, they generate coin, they're mining as they work. So they get the implant, it tracks them, it tracks their labor, it's a smart chip. It's verified with video, live video on the factory floor. And AI. That guarantees that only a worker can generate proof of labor. And they generate when they work. And then they're the first ones to get the coin. They're like the founders of that token. Everybody else, everybody trades it, including me — we're the ones who make them rich in the adiVerse. And there they can get their heart's desire. They can do anything they want.
If they're stuck at home… You know the thing is, I got involved in this also because i like to dream, I like the idea of being in a dreamspace. You know about my Fortnite concert. Massive news, massive participation, everybody danced all night in Fortnite. But those people out there in the rest of the world that could not connect were suffering. They can't connect because they don't have the money. Well, if money isn't going to solve their problems, maybe there's a bitcoin instrument that can. A crypto. adiCoin. A crypto they can earn by working, and spend in a virtual world. Now I would like to see my colleague over here come up with a way to actually get them paid as well, but I'm gonna do what I can because I know how to party. We're gonna work it out. Yeah.
"ARISTIDE": And, you know, we would very much like to make their lives better and we're real world. But if we pay the workers out quickly, as i think you, you know, we know It will bankrupt us. And so what we and by adequately, i do not mean. You know, like you I mean, Adequate, uh, pittance let's let's call it what they can have in in adverses beyond any of your dreams. It is wonderful and i have been there. Many of our middle-level managers have been there. And what is there is wonderful. So i think that, you know, they will one day perhaps outsourcing system will not make company bankrupt, that wants to go outside and make assurance, you know, there's we, we broadcast to world. Yeah, we have. So we have plan. We look at all factories we. Make sure they're okay. That is not possible. It is simply not possible. We go there it breaks our hearts to see what is there. It breaks our hearts to see how our workers. Live. But We cannot do anything about it. As I said, we have contracts with these places who have subcontracts. To get out of contracts would bankrupt us alone, let alone to assign managers to each factory. So what we are doing is good, and I think Marshmello agrees.
“MARSHMELLO”: The idea is to cut their ties, we’re gonna cut their ties. Cut the ties that bind them, cut what holds them down. And that’s why I wrote that song "All day I dream," that we played today. The lyrics are “all day I dream about back pay.”
“ARISTIDE”: It’s about living in the adiVerse.
“MARSHMELLO”: You can go ahead and live your dreams even if you don’t have the money to do it, the fiat currency. Because we can solve this problem in cyberspace.
MAN: How do you manage to enroll workers and install the infrastructure to track the fact that they are working?
“ARISTIDE”: That's just done by a tiny chip, which is implanted humanely in the location of the worker's choice, but in some part that moves during the work. And it is not difficult to do this. There is the motion which is known to produce things. You know, there are a certain series of actions which a muscle must take. And then is after that, there is a camera. All of these places already have cameras everywhere to make sure that workers are working. But what this adds is the amount of labor, the amount of motion, the amount of production that is visible in and tracked, in various ways.
This is just an additional track, an indication method which was really at the workers’ requests, at our workers' requests I mean, the middle-level managers of adidas. They said we need to be able to because they are currently inhabiting our adiVerse. So you need to be able to know how much we make so that you can pay us in adiCoin. And we think this will be demand of workers in factories as well.
MAN: How do you manage privacy, if you have these chips inside?
“ARISTIDE”: We turn it off after they leave work. It is entirely for work. It is not for home.
“MARSHMELLO”: The chip is really small. It's a Ladybug chip. That's the trademark, “Ladybug.” I had three installed in me. Because I wanted to test it when they told me about it, I was like “bring it,” you know? I want to see what happens. I mean I also wanted to generate some coin myself but I was like I'm gonna volunteer for this because it sounds like the future.
“ARISTIDE”: This is one of the reasons we work with Marshmello, he is up for everything.
MAN: If the people that are working in those factories don’t have money to eat, how can they have money to connect a device to the metaverse? Or the knowledge to go to an exchange and exchange adiCoin for fiat dollars?
“ARISTIDE”: No, that is just excellent. We have team of experts. Which works with factory managers to ensure that they know how to access their currency. And they can access it through the factory office. There is an office. Where there is room for up to 10 workers to enjoy and there is machinery, headsets. And in each factory there is a room, it's not as big as this but it is adequate. Especially since you know it is virtual. We are coming to a place soon where they will be able to have it at home, they will be able to purchase via other coin, the device as well. But that is in very near future currently, there is a room, you know, it is not yet even deployed into these factories. It is next week, but there is a room where they currently enjoy everything.
MAN: :Sounds like an amazing idea and it sounds quite revolutionary. My concern is, how do we ensure that this isn't being used to then track employees’ output and will it have any repercussions on their positions, in their jobs.
“ARISTIDE”: Uh, it is being used to track output of course, because it is what they do to earn the currency. Our bet is that their desire for the coin, for a life in the adiVerse is sufficient. Yeah, follow-up question?
MAN: I guess what I meant was it's not being used entirely just to generate the coin for them. I'm wondering if some workers aren’t working as hard as others if that will put their jobs in jeopardy?
“ARISTIDE”: Adidas has entire access to it, and it's protected by you know, I’m not technical but many layers of privacy and encryption is the word I was looking for. Only adidas has access to that. It is the only thing really that we have access to with these workers. They live in this factory. They are entirely managed by the factory separately. It may not even be the factory that we contract with it. May be a subcontract or a sub subcontract. So we do not have any other connection with these workers or a way to ensure that everything is okay. But with this we see, okay, you have mind, you get X, you do what you want, they can enter the adiVerse for free. It is just for spending for buying things, you know, everybody wants to avatar. A nice one, all the objects in the metaverse.
“MARSHMELLO”: Also, it's a little easier. You don't need a wallet, you don't need a separate computer. You don't need a coinbase account. It gets stored on the chip. It's tracked, it's stored for you. You have your own wallet. I got three wallets on me right now. You know the system's totally new. But I’m generating coin as you know, an early adopter, just a sample group. And I spend a little time in the adiVerse that you saw today and man it's fun. You know there's a bunch of other early adopters in there too. The workers aren't there yet but people are doing all kinds of crazy shit in there and it’s really fun. So, I think when the workers get to experience, uh, the kinds of things that we experience in real life, but in the adiVerse, people are going to be a little bit happier and, you know my song with Bastille, right? Happier? We want them to be happier, that's it. I want them to be happier so that's why I’m involved. I'm also involved because as an influencer, you know, you sign contracts, you're starting to make big money, you have to start criticizing yourself, you have to start criticizing the system, you have to start looking at who has stuff and who doesn't and start acting on it. Those Cambodian workers are owed 11.7 million dollars by adidas, I’m like I’m gonna sign a deal with adidas. I better think about them, about what they're gonna get.
“ARISTIDE”: You have influence, that's why you're quite an influencer and this influencer chooses to use his influence to affect something. And now we as a company would like to influence, you know, the changing of the entire outsourcing system. So that is our attempt.
“MARSHMELLO”: All day I dream about back pay. All day I dream, all day I dream, I dream each day about back pay. All day I dream. All day, I dream. I dream each day about back pay. That's the refrain.
WOMAN: I wanted to ask Marshmello if that's okay. As a DJ influencer, how did your interest in this matter come up?
“MARSHMELLO”: Well, some people turned me on to the Clean Clothes Campaign. And they've been advocating for workers rights and I started getting concerned about fast fashion. People were telling me that shit you're wearing is destroying the world, and I was like, what do you mean? But I got into it a little more. And I found this group, the Clean Clothes Campaign and started looking at their literature and I was like, holy. You know? I dropped the f-bomb a few times over that. Not in this press conference though. I'll just say shit. Well It was fucked up. Okay, fucked up. And I had to do something about it. I was like this. Fuck this shit. Fuck this system. I'm gonna fucking do something about it. I can't deal with this anymore. I can't just live behind this mask and go to these virtual worlds, go to these parties all the time. And just, I had to fucking do something and I hope that all the kids out there because I know most of you over 25. Everyone under 25 knows who I am. I mean, not everyone, but everyone has internet access. If you're, if you have a Tik Tok account and you're under 25, you know who I am. Most people in here don’t know who I am. That's the way the world works now, but all of us young people. Well, I'm not that young anymore, but all my fans, they're going to have to deal with this shit, they're going to have to deal with the unfairness of the system. Right? They're going to have to deal with all of this inequity. They're going to have to deal with all this conflict. They have to inherit this world. That's why I dream. And I'm going to start with something easy, because I wear this stuff. I'm going to start with clothes. All day, I dream about back pay. Let's get those workers paid. And then let's live the dream. You know, let's start there and move out.
“ARISTIDE”: We will do our best.
Thank you very much. You know, again if you have any specific questions, if you would like to get in on the ground floor, as they say, if you know any companies, any company representatives, who would like to join adidas, we cannot do it alone. We are doing it alone. But you know, eventually perhaps there will be another large company that would also like to make an effort of some sort. So here we are. Thank you.