On Monday, Nike Inc announced that it had purchased RTFKT, a virtual sneaker company, for an undisclosed amount. The sportswear giant is quickly expanding its footprint in the fast-rising metaverse.
The metaverse race is hitting up among several major brands. Last month, Nike became one of the first global brands to jump on the virtual world bandwagon following Facebook’s rebranding to Meta Platforms Inc. And earlier this month Adidas joined Nike in its wear-to-earn metaverse model.
RTFKT was founded in 2020 by Benoit Pagotto, Chris Le, and Steven Vasilev. The innovative design studio leverages blockchain authentication, game engines, NFTs, and augmented reality to create virtual products and experiences.
Back in March a collaboration between RTFKT and an 18-year-old Seattle artist to release NFT sneakers raked in over $3 million in less than ten minutes.
Commenting on the acquisition, Nike’s chief executive officer John Donahoe said:
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.
Meanwhile, Benoit Pagotto, one of RTFKT’s co-founders, explained:
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.