Here’s the ‘Metaverse-Ready Sneakers and Collectibles’ Creator Nike Acquired

Source: rtfktstudios / Instagram

The creator of virtual sneakers and collectibles RTFKT is the latest organization to be acquired by a large company on its way into the metaverse.

Sportswear giant Nike announced on Monday that it has acquired this blockchain-based virtual shoe company with plans to create NFTs and sneakers for the metaverse. The company did not disclose the terms of the deal.

According to John Donahue, president and CEO of Nike, the company is gaining a “very talented team of creators with an authentic and interconnected brand” with their plan to “invest in the RTFKT brand, serve and grow their innovative and creative community. and expand Nike’s digital presence and capabilities. ”

Founded in 2020 at the start of the COVID-19 era, RTFKT gained traction during the non-fungible token (NFT) mania that began earlier this year. The virtual shoe company creates sneaker designs, memes, collectible exclusives and other things to own and wear in virtual worlds.

In February, the company partnered with 18-year-old artist Fewocious to release three virtual sneaker designs for $ 3,000, $ 5,000 and $ 10,000. In total, 621 pairs were sold over the seven-minute period, which is equivalent to USD 3.1 million.

Later in March, RTFKT announced a partnership with electronic games company Atari to launch a limited series of fashionable Atari-themed NFTs that will be available for use in many blockchain-based multiplayer games including Decentraland, The Sandbox and the upcoming Atari Metaverse.

The startup also worked with CryptoPunks creator LarvaLabs to launch a series of 10,000 NFT sneakers, one for each Punk, that will only be available to the digital avatar owner.

More recently, RTFKT brought in artist Takashi Murakami to work on CLONE X, a series of 20,000 collectible avatars.

For Nike, the acquisition comes just a month after the company unveiled Nikeland, a virtual 3D space where fans can interact, create, share and compete. In the bespoke world, there is a digital showroom where users can customize their avatars with unique Nike virtual products.

The deal is being signed at a time when big tech companies as well as luxury brands are sinking deeper into the metaverse. Most recently, the investment and research arm of cryptocurrency exchange KuCoin announced the creation of a $ 100 million fund dedicated to the metaverse.

Prior to this, Facebook, now Meta, announced a $ 50 million commitment to the “responsible” development of the metaverse.

In addition, Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, announced in early November that the company is “creating a whole new platform level, which is the metaverse.”