Nike Acquires RTFKT Studios, Leaders in Digital Sneaker Design
Nike just made a massive commitment to its place in the future of digital fashion and collectibles. On Monday, Nike announced that it acquired RTFKT Studios, a leader in virtual sneaker and NFT collectible creation, for an undisclosed amount.
In 2021 as NFTs have gone mainstream, RTFKT (pronounced “artifact”) has established itself as a leader in designing virtual sneakers and collectibles, merging the fashion and gaming worlds.
With the Nike acquisition, it’s clear the RTFKT brand is one we’ll be seeing in the Metaverse for years to come.
What is RTFKT?
RTFKT Studios was founded in early 2020 by a few friends with its main focus being on augmented reality fashion built on blockchain technologies. Up until recently, they were most known for creating digital sneakers to be worn in the metaverse.
“We are trying to pioneer how people are thinking of buying sneakers and items in the future as collectibles,” RTFKT co-founder Benoit Pagotto said to CNBA. “There is a huge interest — it’s a whole movement.”
In May, RTFKT raised $8 million in seed funding, led by Andreessen Horowitz (a16z), and including funding from Dapper Labs CEO Roham Gharegozlou, Genies founder Akash Nigam, Galaxy Digital, Ledger, and NFT artist Fewocious. At the time, the round valued RTFKT at $33.3 million.
RTFKT’s Clone X Drop
In November, RTFKT released a 20,000 edition profile picture NFT project called Clone X, in collaboration with renowned artist Takashi Murakami. The public sale sold out at 2 ETH after they paused the sale and ditched the dutch auction format, raising over 20,000 ETH with the sale.
This signaled a major step in a different direction from RTFKT’s previous sneaker releases.
Buyers purchased mint vials that they could either keep sealed or reveal on December 12. Right after reveal, some CloneX avatars went for huge sales of 200 ETH and 150 ETH with plenty of other 75+ ETH sales.
The drop did thousands of ETH in sales on the secondary market on the first day even with the huge quantity count making it a massive success. Little did we know an even bigger surprise would be in store only a day after the Clone X reveal.
Nike Acquires RTFKT Studios
A day after the Clone X reveal, Nike announced they had acquired RTFKT. The move symbolized that NFTs are for real, and the biggest brands in the world want in.
RTFKT joins Jordan and Converse and brands under the Nike umbrella.
John Donahoe, President and CEO of NIKE, Inc, said, “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 getting in the NFT mix is huge for more widespread adoption of NFTs and blockchain as a whole.
Obviously, Nike is not the first mainstream brand to adopt NFTs, but Nike carries more weight than others who have come so far. And surely there will be many more brands that follow this move.
Is it only a matter of time until Cool Cats are acquired by Disney? Or could we see something like a Gucci partnership with Art Blocks? I would bet yes — this is likely only the beginning of major institutions entering Web3 through established Web3 brands.