In The Race To The Metaverse, Nike Buys Virtual Shoe Manufacturer

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Metaverse: The American company Nike, considered the most valuable clothing brand in the world, announced on Monday (13) the purchase of RTFKT, a company formed by three friends at the beginning of the covid-19 pandemic “to create sneakers and artifacts digital ones”. For the sport’s biggest name sponsor, however, it’s about acquiring a leading brand with the goal of “providing next-generation collectibles that blend culture and games.”

In addition to manufacturing digital sneakers, RTFKT, which defines itself as “born in the metaverse”, uses “the very latest” in game engines, non-fungible tokens (NFTs), blockchain authentication and augmented reality. The company’s products are sold in ethereum, a cryptocurrency based on the principle of decentralization (independence from official financial systems).

What does Nike want with the purchase of RTFKT?

Nike’s big objective, in acquiring the virtual sneaker company, was to enter the metaverse once and for all, in a leap to connect its coveted physical sneakers to its digital versions. By the way, one of the main products of RTFKT — the collection of NFTs CryptoPunks —, created in partnership with the artist FEWOCiOUS, sold at an auction earlier this year more than 600 pairs of sneakers, for around US$ 3.1 million.

In a press release, Nike Inc. CEO John Donahoe said the acquisition of the creative team “is another step that accelerates Nike’s digital transformation and allows us to serve athletes and creators at the intersection of sport, creativity, games and culture.” In fact, the American manufacturer had been studying blockchain technology since 2019, when it patented some tokenized sneakers. The value of the purchase of RTFKT was not disclosed.