Nike, the American multinational footwear and sports apparel company has announced the acquisition of a startup called RTFKT Studios, a firm that leverages non-fungible token (NFT) assets, blockchain authentication, and augmented reality. Nike says the acquisition will allow the company “to deliver next-generation collectibles that merge culture and gaming.”
Nike Steps Into the Metaverse by Acquiring RTFKT Studios
On December 13, Nike announced the company has purchased the digital collectibles firm RTFKT Studios. The news follows Nike’s initial steps toward the metaverse during the first week of November, and the company’s recent integration with the virtual game Roblox. The footwear firm published a blog post about “Nikeland,” a Nike-themed virtual world located in the Roblox metaverse. Following Nike’s moves into the realm of the metaverse industry and blockchain world, the company’s competitor Adidas has been racing toward NFTs and the metaverse as well.
RTFKT Studios was formed by three friends at the beginning of the Covid-19 era in January 2020, according to the website. The web portal also notes that RTFKT (pronounced artifact) is focused on non-fungible token (NFT) technology, blockchain authentication, and augmented reality (AR). In February, RTFKT and an NFT artist dubbed “Fewocious,” sold approximately 600 pairs of physical and virtual sneaker NFTs for $3.1 million at the time of settlement. RTFKT is also behind the Clonex NFT avatars project.
Clonex NFT avatars are NFTs that allow people to leverage them in both the physical world and the metaverse realm. Clonex NFTs were designed by the Japanese artist Takashi Murakami and according to reports, the avatar NFTs sold out quickly but with the sales suffering from “attacks and controversy.”
Nike President Says Acquisition Will ‘Extend Nike’s Digital Footprint and Capabilities’
John Donahoe, the president and CEO of Nike spoke about the RTFKT acquisition and the company’s steps toward the metaverse.
“This acquisition is another step that accelerates Nike’s digital transformation and allows us to serve athletes and creators at the intersection of sport, creativity, gaming and culture,” Donahoe said in a statement. “We’re acquiring a very talented team of creators with an authentic and connected brand. Our plan is to invest in the RTFKT brand, serve and grow their innovative and creative community and extend Nike’s digital footprint and capabilities.”
RTFKT is now a part of the NIKE, Inc. family. 🌐👁🗨 pic.twitter.com/5egNk9d8wA
— RTFKT Studios (@RTFKTstudios) December 13, 2021
In early November, Nike made sure a number of well-known trademarks like the “Just Do It” tagline, its SNKRS logo, and the Air Jordan “Jumpman,” were ready to be leveraged as “downloadable virtual goods.”
“Nike is the only brand in the world that shares the deep passion we all have for innovation, creativity, and community, and we’re excited to grow our brand which was fully formed in the metaverse,” Benoit Pagotto, one of RTFKT’s co-founders said during the acquisition announcement. Nike’s RTFKT Studios purchase press release concludes that the terms of the sale “will not be disclosed” to the public.
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