Nike buys RTFKT, an NFTs studio specializing in sneakers
Nike has just taken one more step into the metaverse. In a press release published on Monday, December 13, 2021, the American giant announced the acquisition of the RTFKT start-up (to pronounce “artefact”). Founded in 2020, this studio specializes in creating virtual sneakers in the form of non-fungible tokens (NFTs). By buying RTFKT, Nike is looking to design sneakers and clothing that will be tailored for the metaverse.
“This acquisition is a new step that accelerates Nike’s digital transformation and allows us to serve athletes and creators at the intersection of sport, creativity, video games and culture. We acquire a team of very talented designers with an authentic and connected brand. Our plan is to invest in the RTFKT brand, to serve and grow their innovative and creative community and to expand Nike’s digital footprint and capabilities ”, explains John Donahoe, the current CEO of Nike.
Developed by three partners, the start-up made a name for itself by creating sneakers and virtual goodies. To develop its original creations, the firm is based on technologies such as blockchain, artificial intelligence and virtual and augmented reality. To imagine the designs of its works, the firm calls on a large community of designers and creators.
“This is a unique opportunity to build the RTFKT brand and we are thrilled to benefit from Nike’s fundamental strength and expertise to build the communities we love.”, says Benoit Pagotto, co-founder of RTFKT.
RTFKT is now a part of the NIKE, Inc. family. 🌐👁🗨 pic.twitter.com/5egNk9d8wA
– RTFKT Studios (@RTFKTstudios) December 13, 2021
“When we started, we had fun designing sneakers inspired by video games”, explains Chris Le, co-founder of RTFKT, on his Twitter account.
Last February, RTFKT notably established a partnership with the street artist Fewocious to design unique sneakers in the form of NFTs. The 608 digital pairs elapsed within minutes for the sum of $ 3.1 million. The buyers also received a physical pair as a gift.
“For many years RTFKT was an indefinite collective, working exclusively behind the scenes, providing designs and concepts to game companies and a few select fashion brands. In 2020, they formed an entity to extend their services ”, can we read on RTFKT website.
More recently, RTFKT has also partnered with Takashi Murakami, a Japanese artist considered one of the most valued visual artists in the world. The Japanese artist has imagined 20,000 3D avatars for sale in the form of NFTs. The sale generated $ 80 million. The start-up earns a commission ranging from 2.5% to 10% on the sale of each digital work.
Thanks to these latest successes, RTFKT announces that it has generated more than $ 100 million in revenue in 2021. A few months earlier, the start-up was valued at only 33 million after a fundraiser led by Andressen Horowitz, a major American venture capital fund. In its press release, Nike refrains from revealing the amount of the transaction.
👉 Read also: Nike partners with Plutus, a startup offering cashback in cryptocurrencies
Nike follows in Adidas’ footsteps and launches into the metaverse
Note that this is not Nike’s first foray into virtual worlds. In November, the sports equipment manufacturer opened Nikeland, a virtual space dedicated to the brand, in collaboration with Roblox, a free-to-play video game with over 200 million monthly active users. The buildings of this world are inspired by the Nike headquarters. In this virtual world, Internet users can participate in mini-games.
By confirming his interest in the metaverse, Nike follows in the footsteps of Adidas. A few days ago, the rival clothing brand launched into the digital worlds by partnering with Bored Ape Yacht Club, Gmoney NFT and PUNKS Comic. With its partners, Adidas wants to create a game centered on the metaverse. A little earlier, the German brand had already approached cryptocurrency giants like Coinbase and The Sandbox.
👉 Also read – Ubisoft launches into the world of blockchain and NFTs with Quartz
Receive a recap of crypto news every Sunday 👌 And that’s it.