Sportswear Giant Nike Purchases NFT Fashion and Collectibles Startup RTFKT

Nike is making a major move into the metaverse with the acquisition of a leading digital apparel player.

AccessTimeIconDec 13, 2021 at 9:43 p.m. UTC
Updated May 9, 2023 at 3:33 a.m. UTC
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Multinational footwear behemoth Nike just took a big step into the metaverse.

On Friday, NFT collectibles and fashion startup RTFKT announced on Twitter that the company had been acquired by Nike. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The acquisition appears to be a perfect fit. One of RTFKT’s flagship products is a hybrid NFT/physical shoe collectible inspired by the legendary CryptoPunks NFT collection, and the project attracted headlines in March when a digital footwear collaboration with prolific non-fungible token artist FEWOCiOUS sold $3.1 million in metaverse kicks.

Nike, meanwhile, was exploring blockchain technology as early as 2019, going so far as to patent tokenized shoes.

“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 President John Donahoe wrote in a blog post. “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.”

Metaverse fashion is also a rapidly expanding sector. A rival NFT streetwear project, Cryptokickers, signed a first-ever digital shoe deal with former National Basketball Association star Wilson Chandler in April.

Read more about how NFTs are reshaping sports, culture, media and entertainment in CoinDesk’s Culture Week series.

UPDATE (Dec. 13, 23:15 UTC): Adds link to related series at end.

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Andrew Thurman

Andrew Thurman was a tech reporter at CoinDesk with a focus on DeFi.


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