Ready to take its next step into the metaverse, Nike announced today it has acquired RTFKT Studios, a digital art studio focusing on sneaker-themed non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and collectibles using the Ethereum blockchain.
“We’re acquiring a very talented team of creators with an authentic and connected brand,” Nike President and CEO John Donahoe said in a press release. “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.”
This acquisition moves Nike more firmly into blockchain-based branding and the metaverse, a version of the internet that will blend virtual and augmented reality with traditional computing.
In November, the company behind “Just Do It” launched NIKELAND, collaborating with Roblox for an immersive 3D world. That same month, Nike submitted four filing requests to trademark virtual goods with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
But Nike won’t be the only shoe and apparel company in the metaverse. Earlier this month, Adidas announced it had purchased a Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT for 46 ETH, or just over $156,000 at the time. Adidas is collaborating with Bored Ape creators Yuga Labs and others to enter the metaverse.
“When we first started, we had fun designing sneakers inspired by video games and making dope content and always trying to innovate,” wrote RTFKT co-founder Chris Le, who goes by ClegFX on Twitter. “Nike has always been our inspiration. This is the start of a new chapter in the RTFKT story.”