After partnering with online game Roblox last month, Nike’s pivot to the metaverse continues today as the company announces the acquisition of NFT collectibles brand RTFKT.
Known for its virtual (and in some cases, physical) sneakers, RTFKT (pronounced artifact) was founded in 2020 by Benoit Pagotto, Chris Le and Steven Vasilev. RTFKT’s projects thus far have included collaborations with Jeff Staple, the Los Angeles Dodgers, and Takashi Murakami.
“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,” John Donahoe, president and CEO of Nike, Inc. said in a statement. “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.”
In the same press release, Nike explicitly states that terms of the deal won’t be disclosed.
“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 says “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.”
Many of RTFKT’s designs, including physical sneakers created for its Space Drip Artists series, resemble noteworthy Nike designs such as the Air Force 1 and Air Jordan 1. In today’s official Instagram announcement, the brand’s digital designs are showcased alongside the actual Nikes, perhaps offering a glimpse at what’s to come.