Buying NFTs to “flex” on people in the metaverse is like collecting sneakers, according to a comparison I’ve heard a lot over the last year, and now Nike is trying to prepare for the literal manifestation of that potential. RTFT Studios is a “leading brand that harnesses cutting edge innovation to offer next-generation collectibles that mix culture and gaming,” according to the clothing giant.
Nike bought a virtual shoe company that makes sneakers and NFTs for the metaverse
“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,” says John Donahoe, President, and CEO of NIKE, Inc. “We’re acquiring a very talented team of creators with an authentic and connected brand. We plan to invest in the RTFKT brand, serve and grow their innovative and creative community and extend Nike’s digital footprint and capabilities.”
In February, RTFKT claimed that collaboration with young artist FEWOCiOUS to sell real and virtual sneakers sold 600 pairs/NFTs in under six minutes, grossing $3.1 million. On March 1st, Grimes sold $6 million in digital artwork, around the same time that most of us were learning about NFTs for the first time. It’s unclear whether any of these digital products are now worth as much; on OpenSea and Nifty Gateway, several of them are currently listed for or have recently sold for less than their original value.
But forget about the past – and that time it photoshopped a pair of its sneakers onto Elon Musk – because RTFKT has just released its Clone X NFT collaboration with Takashi Murakami, which features many metaverse-ready digital avatars with various collectible attributes.
The company’s website prompts visitors to link their Metamask wallets, which is one of the ways NFT owners can verify their purchases, with the idea that you’ll play games or enter other types of virtual reality spaces in the future where your items will materialize after those spaces have read the blockchain to determine which items you own the rights to.
Nike creators Benoit Pagotto, Chris Le, and Steven Vasilev used “the latest in-game engines, NFTs, blockchain authentication, and augmented reality to create one-of-a-kind virtual products and experiences.”
Nike placed RTFKT’s lightning bolt-style emblem beside its renowned swoosh, Jumpman, and Converse marks while announcing the deal – without revealing how much it spent. Those brands have a long history, thanks to high-profile athlete sponsorships, unique designs, and a grassroots culture that persists in the real world. RTFKT, on the other hand, was created in January of 2020. “Human consciousness evolution has progressed quicker than expected,” it claims. We’ve come to speed up our digital future right now.”
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