Nike Buys Digital Fashion, NFT Startup RTFKT

Nike Buys Digital Fashion, NFT Startup RTFKT

Nike has acquired RTFKT, a nonfungible token (NFT) collectible and fashion startup, according to a press release, which could represent a larger expansion of the footwear company into the metaverse.

RTFKT boasts among its products a hybrid NFT and physical shoe collectible, which was inspired by the CryptoPunks NFT collection, CoinDesk reported. That product saw some headlines in March when a digital footwear collaboration with FEWOCiOUS, an NFT artist, sold $3.1 million in metaverse shoes.

“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,” Nike President John Donahoe said in the release. “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.”

This all comes as Nike looks more into blockchain technology, an initiative it started around 2019, when it patented tokenized shoes, according to CoinDesk.

Nike has made strides in the virtual world before. Last month, it rolled out a Roblox-tied 3D experience called Nikeland, which the company said allows fans to “connect, create, share experiences and compete.” The goal is “to turn sport and play into a lifestyle.”

Read more: Nike Creates Virtual World Within Roblox

The buildings and fields in Nikeland are based on the real Nike headquarters and have detailed arenas for gamers for various modes of play like tag or dodgeball.

Nike plans this month to bring Roblox and Nikeland alive inside its “House of Innovation” in New York City via Snapchat.

In addition, Nikeland visitors can use accelerometers on their smartphones to move offline movement to online play. And they can dress their digital selves in Air Force Ones and various other types of gear.