Nike commits to the metaverse with virtual footwear acquisition

Digital collectibles creators RTFKT valued at $33.3m earlier this year.

Nike: from left to right, brand's 'swoosh', Air Jordan and Converse logos alongside RTFKT’s lightning bolt logo
Nike: from left to right, brand's 'swoosh', Air Jordan and Converse logos alongside RTFKT’s lightning bolt logo

Nike has announced the acquisition of NFT creators RTFKT (pronounced "artefact") for an undisclosed sum.

The start-up delivers next-generation collectible trainers that merge culture and gaming and was valued at $33.3m (£25m) after a funding round in May.

John Donahoe, president and chief executive of Nike, 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.

"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."

Founded in 2020 by Benoit Pagotto, Chris Le and Steven Vasilev, RTFKT aims to redefine the boundaries of physical and digital value to serve its broad community of creators. Its team builds on the latest in-game engines, NFTs, blockchain authentication and augmented reality to create one of a kind virtual products and experiences.

"This is a unique opportunity to build the RTFKT brand and we are excited to benefit from Nike's foundational strength and expertise to build the communities we love," Pagotto said.

He added: "Nike is the only brand in the world that shares the deep passion we all have for innovation, creativity and community, and we're excited to grow our brand which was fully formed in the metaverse."

Nike Inc owns the Nike+, Air Jordan and Air Max brands as well as subsidiaries, such as Converse.

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