Nike’s RTFKT acquisition could mean more swoosh apparel for the metaverse

Nike is undergoing a digital transformation. We aren’t talking about adopting hybrid cloud models or enabling remote, but rather the metaverse.

It is a term that has only recently been thrusted into the zeitgeist, but has existed in one form or another for a few years now and Nike wants to get in on the action, which is why it acquired RTFKT.

For those unfamiliar with the company, RTFKT (pronounced artefact for anyone wondering) was founded in 2020 as a startup specialising in designing sneakers and collectibles for the metaverse. Now Nike was acquired the company as it looks to create its own content for the digital world.

“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,” explained John Donahoe, president and CEO of Nike in a press 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,” he added.

While it remains to be seen just how fruitful a venture the metaverse will be in the coming years, the interest right now is nothing short of fever pitched.

As Engadget points out, earlier this year RTFKT with 18-year-old artist Fewocious to create three NFT sneakers for $3 000, $5 000 and $10 000 respectively. Within seven minutes of going on sale, 600 digital pairs were sold, racking up a tidy total of $3.1 million.

Given the fervour surrounding real-world sneakers at the moment, there could indeed be scope for even more exclusive digital ones from Nike and RTFKT down the line.

“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,” adds Benoit Pagotto, one of RTFKT’s co-founders.

“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,” he concluded.

Elaborate grift or the next wave of apparel? Only time will tell, but it’s clear that Nike wants to be a part of the conversation when it comes to the metaverse.




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