Nike gears up for metaverse with RTFKT acquisition - RTFKT in action 1

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The kinds of virtual items and experiences that RTFKT creates are a key focus for Nike

Quick read

➨ Nike has boosted its capabilities for creating virtual apparel and footwear with the acquisition of RTFKT
➨ The acquisition brings the skills, expertise and reputation of RTFKT in-house at a multinational fashion brand that is looking to carve out a share of the potential market in virtual items and experiences
➨ RTFKT creates footwear designs, memes and collectible exclusives, using game engines, NFTs, blockchain authentication and AR

The story

Nike has boosted its capabilities for creating virtual apparel and footwear with the acquisition of RTFKT.

The acquisition, the terms of which were not disclosed, brings the skills, expertise and reputation of RTFKT, a creator of digital collectables, in-house at a multinational fashion brand that is looking to carve out a share of the potential market in virtual items and experiences as we move toward a 3D internet or ‘metaverse’.

John Donahoe, president and chief executive officer of Nike, says of the acquisition: “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.”

“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.”

Benoit Pagotto, Chris Le and Steven Vasilev founded RTFKT in 2020. The studio creates footwear designs, memes and collectible exclusives, using game engines, non-fungible tokens (NFTs), blockchain authentication and augmented reality.

According to its website, the studio started out by providing designs and concepts to game companies and fashion brands, before opening its services to the public in 2020.

One of its most successful projects came in February, when RTFKT released a series of rainbow-colored virtual sneakers as NFTs with the artist Fewocious. The studio reportedly sold 621 pairs through cryptocurrency purchases, bringing in a total of $3.1 million.

Commenting on the acquisition, Pagotto says: “This is a unique opportunity to build the RTFKT brand and we are excited to benefit from Nike’s foundational strength and expertise to build the communities we love.”

“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.”

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Images: Nike and RTKFT

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