Hot on the heels of Adidas’s partnership with the NFT collection Bored Apes Yacht Club, Nike has announced its acquisition of NFT leverage and blockchain authentication company RTFKT Studios (pronounced artifact).
RTFKT is the company responsible for the CloneX avatar art series and the sneaker art series done by NFT artist ‘Fewocious.’
RTFKT was valued earlier in 2021 as being worth approximately $33 Million. This acquisition is Nike’s first foray into the cryptocurrency and NFT sphere, having previously made their first steps into the Metaverse and world of virtual creation and transaction through an integration with the game Roblox, through a Nike-themed world within the game known as ‘Nikeland’ released earlier in the year.
The American international sports brand has announced its excitement about the acquisition means and what the next steps are for them as a company as they move into the NFT space, with a spokesperson saying that they are looking forward to serving gamers as well as athletes through the meeting of sport, culture, creativity, and gaming, and that in gaining RTFKT they are also gaining a talented creative team with an authentic company and vision.
Of course, the acquisition doesn’t hurt the growth of Nike’s digital footprint either, or the stake and sway that it has on an increasingly online virtual world. This is further emphasized by Nike’s November announcement that many of its well-known trademarks such as the ‘Just Do It’ slogan and the Air Jordan ‘Jumpman’ will become available as downloadable virtual goods which can be leveraged.
RTFKT Studios, which also has a focus on augmented reality, has collaborated with other crypto creators to create NFT designs and physical products in the past, but say that they are especially excited about getting to work with and as part of Nike as this will mean that they can expand their brand further and borrow from the expertise and innovation that Nike is known for.
They refer to the brand as being one that was completely created within the metaverse, which presumably is one of the reasons that Nike sees the acquisition as so beneficial to them.
All of these business dealings are broadcasting loud and clear Nike’s future intentions on where their focus lies, at the front of innovation and technological development in the realm of virtual gaming and online exchange as much as it is in the real physical world with athletes and sportswear. And with RTFKT’s recent NFT releases making waves in the crypto community, their acquisition seems as if it holds promise for an even more profitable future ahead.
Whether you see Nike’s move as a bold step forward towards the future or merely a big-name brand throwing money at something they don’t understand without any true attempt to do so, whatever happens next in the meeting of these two forces in as the collaboration aspect of the acquisition truly begins one thing is very much for certain: It will keep us all on our toes.
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