Nike, the well-known global sportswear giant, is making a foray into the metaverse through its acquisition of RTKFT (pronounced ‘artifact’). RTKFT is a startup and an NFT-based studio that specializes in the design of virtual sneakers and sports collectibles. RTKFT was founded in 2020.
Nike, while announcing the deal, did not disclose the value of the deal. Nike said that with the acquisition, it was adding a team of extremely skilled and talented creators and also gaining a genuinely big brand in the space. Nike plans to further invest in the brand and use its token to grow Nike’s capabilities and digital footprint.
RTFKT has made impressive progress since its founding just over a year ago in January 2020. Recently, together with Takashi Murakami, who is a Japanese pop artist, it created CloneX. CloneX is a collection of 3D avatars that are intended for use in virtual/augmented reality scenarios. Murakami has earlier worked with Louis Vuitton. He has also done the artwork for the cover of Kanye West’s album ‘Graduation’.
Clone X was recently put on display in Britain. Department store for luxury goods, Harvey Nichols, displayed CloneX at its stores in London and Hong Kong.
Nike has been exploring the metaverse. It recently launched Nikeland. Nikeland is a free-to-use 3-D space within the gaming platform ‘Robox’. Nike also has a patent that entitles it to be able to issue tokens for ownership of shoes on the ETH network.
Nike’s competitor Adidas, in response, has partnered with other big NFT players in the space. All of this has prompted other fashion/consumer brands such as Ralph Lauren and Disney to follow Nike and Adidas. These firms are also now making a foray into the digital world.