Nike has caught NFT fever. Instead of just buying a CryptoPunk and changing its avatar on Twitter like most companies, however, the athletic brand has acquired an entire project, sending a message to the mainstream that digital collectibles are here to stay.
Nike has acquired RTFKT, a project that sounds like “artifact” and mints digital sneakers for the metaverse. The deal gives Nike a foothold in the burgeoning NFT market as the sports industry continues to take a front-row seat in the digital collectibles niche. Nike joins a growing list of sports brands and leagues that don't want to be left behind in the metaverse, including the NBA, whose Top Shot project issues licensed digital collectibles of basketball moments.
RTFKT is an Ethereum-based project that specializes in digital fashion. It was created during the pandemic in early 2020 by three friends to create “one of a kind sneakers and digital artifacts,” the website states. Nike is placing a bet on what RTFKT describes as –
- Viral sneaker designs
- Collectible exclusives
RTFKT is now a part of the NIKE, Inc. family. 🌐👁🗨 pic.twitter.com/5egNk9d8wA
— RTFKT Studios (@RTFKTstudios) December 13, 2021
Nike has struck while the iron is hot, as RTFKT is already wildly popular among NFT fans. For example, the RTFKT team has collaborated on virtual sneakers with creator FEWOCiOUS, a sold-out set that generated $3 million in sales. In addition, RTFKT has received the backing of high-profile venture capitalist Andreessen Horowitz, which led an $8 million round that valued the project at $33.3 million.
Writing on the Wall
The digital writing was basically on the wall after the sneaker giant recently launched Nikeland in partnership with Roblox, allowing players of the video game to adorn their avatars with Nike gear — like sneakers, hats, backpacks, Just Do It t-shirts, etc. — and choose from a growing list of sports games. Nike followed on the heels of Mark Zuckerberg's Facebook, which recently changed its parent company's name to Meta to reflect its shift in focus to a hybrid virtual/physical world.
Nike joins a growing list of companies that are early movers in the NFT space. Earlier this year, Visa plunked down $150,000 for a CryptoPunk NFT, which it paid for in Ethereum. Movie chain AMC has been minting NFTs for shareholders and ticketholders alike. Most recently, AMC CEO Adam Aron has unveiled a “Matrix” NFT collectible set of 20, its third NFT collection. AMC's first digital collectible set was unique Spider-Man NFTs.
You ask, you get. It is time for @AMCTheatres third ever NFT !!!!! We have secured 20 Matrix NFTs, from Nifty‘s and @warnerbros. Will be given away on AMC social channels starting Monday 1PM EST. The Matrix Resurrections opens December 22. For tickets: https://t.co/9RClikAuj8 pic.twitter.com/kBd2Zla7ay
— Adam Aron (@CEOAdam) December 12, 2021
NFTs are unique digital content (think art, music, video, etc.) minted on a blockchain like Ethereum and traded on marketplaces like OpenSea, some of which are selling for millions of dollars. NFTs give creators and owners an opportunity to earn income, be part of a digital community and participate in the metaverse.
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Featured Image Credit: Nike