Nike wants to do more than just be one of the best-selling sports brands in the world. The company wants to be on the forefront of digital transformation by creating its own Nike Metaverse.
Just this October, the sports giant filed a trademark application to prepare for the Nike metaverse that would sell virtual sneakers and brand apparel. Now the company has acquired RTFKT (pronounced artifact), a virtual sneakers and NFT collectibles startup to accelerate its growth as a metaverse company.
Nike’s move towards virtual goods and metaverse doesn’t come as a surprise, especially since its rival adidas recently partnered with Coinbase and The sandbox, hinting its own metaverse presence. This only means that the big companies are foreseeing the future where, as per Bill Gates, meetings would be held inside the metaverse.
Facebook has already unveiled its metaverse plans that introduce a mixed reality lifestyle for everyone. When so much will move to the metaverse, it will open doors for new opportunities for brands to market their products. This will essentially open up new revenue streams. Could you have ever imagined that one day people would buy virtual sneakers and dresses? In the metaverse, brands and other businesses would be able to find ways to promote new forms of products and services, creating a new niche of virtual goods. And to fulfill the demand of that niche, brands will have to rely on startups like RTFKT.
According to Nike’s CEO and president, John Donahoe, “We are 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.”
He further mentioned in a blog post that, “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.”
On Twitter, RTFKT announced: “We will continue to evolve its brand, innovations, products and community with Nike resources and talents.”
RTFKT has had a series of successful NFT auctions, including its partnership with Ferocious to launch three NFT sneakers that sold for $3.1 million in under seven minutes. Recently, the startup introduced its avatar-like (most ambitious) project, CloneX in collaboration with Japanese artist Takashi Murakami.
A startup like RTFKT could use the resources and guidance of an experienced brand like Nike to evolve, while Nike could use the young talent to fuel its digital transformation.
Founded in 2020 by Steven Vasilev, Benoit Pagotto, and Chris Le, RTFKT specializes in creating cutting edge and innovative virtual goods and experiences that seek to make a meaningful difference for both creators and art collectors.
According to Benoit Pagotto, one of the startup’s co-founders, “This is a unique opportunity to build the RTFKT brand and we are excited to benefit from the Nike”s foundational strength and expertise to build the communities we love.” He further added, “Nike is the only brand in the world that shares the deep passion we all have for innovation, creativity and community, and we are excited to grow our brand which was fully formed in the metaverse.”
Are you ready for Nike virtual sneakers? What was the first virtual good that you bought? Share with us in the comment section below.