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Nike Buys Metaverse-ready RTFKT – WWD

The next digital shoe has dropped to Nike Inc.

The athletic shoe giant has acquired RTFKT – a company founded in January 2020 by Benoit Pagotto, Chris Le and Steven Vasilev, who have described their startup as “born on the blockchain ‘ and is best known for ‘Metaverse-was sneakers and collectibles. ”

In a post on their website in May, the trio said they grew up playing Minecraft, watching Star Wars, and collecting Pokemon cards before going on to design chic, interactive shops with e-sports and logo making for hip hop artists.

Combining “our passion for eccentricity and expertise”, they launched RTFKT to “build the future of fashion and collectibles” and made a huge splash.

RTFKT’s collaboration with 18-year-old artist Someocious sold over $3 million worth of digital sneakers in less than seven minutes.

Not enough to really subvert Nike, which grossed $44.5 billion last year, but RTFKT has done enough to capture the sportswear giant’s attention.

John Donahoe, president and CEO of Nike Inc. This acquisition is another step in accelerating Nike’s digital transformation and allows us to serve athletes and creators where sport, creativity, games and culture. We’re getting 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 communities, and expand Nike’s digital footprint and capabilities. ”

Nike says RTFKT “leverages the latest game engine, NFT, blockchain validation, and augmented reality to create one of a kind virtual products and experiences.”

The sneaker company has been upping its digital game lately, such as launching the Nike LeBron 19 shoe styles in Fortnite.

Now, it’s ready for more.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Pagotto said: “This is a unique opportunity to build on the RTFKT brand and we are delighted to benefit from Nike’s platform strength and expertise to build on it. Build the community we love. 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 that has been shaped complete in reverse. ”

Fashion’s recent history shows it largely ignoring, downplaying or just paying for lip service to many of the tech trends that promise to be the next big thing, missing out on early opportunities in e-commerce. online or on social media, etc.

But the industry seems to want to fix that and is ready to hit the metaverse, taking the budding sales of digital styles seriously and buying in significant ways even as the larger landscape evolves. develop.

And with the new contract, Nike brings in some local talent.

“RTFKT was born on the blockchain to ensure authenticity, ownership and access to new experiences,” said the founders. “We believe blockchain technology has the potential to empower creators to lead, collaborate and create without limits. NFT is a medium of transformation that will develop a new paradigm between creativity and commerce.

“We believe that when communities organize and claim influence, they can change the world and unseat old defenders,” they said.

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https://wwd.com/business-news/financial/nike-metaverse-blockchain-rtfkt-buy-fewocious-sneaker-1235017456/ Nike Buys Metaverse-ready RTFKT – WWD

Linh

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