Nike’s Metaverse Expansion & RTFKT NFT Acquisition

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Nike acquired one of the leading NFT studios, RTFKT studios, in preparation for digital products and the Metaverse. 

Nike began experimenting with NFTs as early as 2019, when it received a patent for blockchain-compatible sneakers called “CryptoKicks.”  This patent was designed to give buyers a digital version of a physical purchase that is then stored in a cryptocurrency wallet called an “electronic locker.” By acquiring RTFKT (pronounced “artifact”), Nike appears to be one step closer to reaching its Metaverse vision.

The acquisition announcement comes at an opportune time for the studio; RTFKT is currently behind one of the most talked-about NFT project drops of the month — a sweeping avatar partnership with artist Takashi Murakami called CloneX. Since its initial drop less than three weeks ago, the project has already seen nearly $65 million in transaction volume according to crypto tracker Crypto Slam.

Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. The startup raised an $8 million seed round back in May led by Andreessen Horowitz that valued the company at $33.3 million.

“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,” RTFKT co-founder Benoit Pagotto said in a statement.

Earlier this month, Adidas announced a partnership with NFT project Bored Apes Yacht Club.

In addition to building out its own NFT drops, RTFKT had collaborated with other crypto creators to design items like physical shoes that utilized imagery in other NFT projects, including CryptoPunks and Bored Apes.

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