Nike announced the acquisition of RTFKT Studios in mid-December, describing the company as “a leading brand that harnesses cutting edge innovation to offer next-generation collectibles that mix culture and gaming.”
The terms of the agreement were not disclosed by the sporting goods behemoth. However, considering RTFKT’s track record in the NFT market, practically everyone feels that this acquisition is part of Nike’s strategic push into the Metaverse.
Benoit Pagotto, co-founder of RTFKT, commented on the acquisition, saying that both companies share values such as innovation, creativity, and community. Pagotto went on to say that the transaction would allow RTFKT to extend its Metaverse operations.
“Nike is the only company on the planet that shares our profound enthusiasm for innovation, creativity, and community, and we’re delighted to expand our brand that was completely established in the metaverse.”
Nike has a long history with NFTs.
Benoit Pagotto, Chris Le, and Steven Vasilev, friends, created RTKFT in January 2020. Their shared goal was to produce next-generation Metaverse designs.
“RTFKT creates one-of-a-kind sneakers and digital artifacts by combining the latest in game engines, NFT, blockchain authentication, and augmented reality with manufacturing skills.”
The company also bridges the gap between the physical and digital worlds through a process known as “forging.” This entails converting specific NFTs into physical goods that the NFT owner can redeem and own in the real world.
Nike made headlines in 2019 with the “Crypotkicks” patent. The patent describes a method that connects safe digital assets to physical products. This appears to be used to track ownership and verify authenticity.
The Metaverse connection was less clear two years ago. However, by using this program, purchasing a pair of Cryptokicks in the actual world entails owning them in the virtual world as well, thus linking the two worlds.
“When a consumer purchases a genuine pair of shoes, a digital version of a show may be generated, linked to the consumer, and assigned a cryptographic token, where the digital shoe and cryptographic token comprise a ‘CryptoKick.”
What does Nike have in mind for the Metaverse?
Given the Metaverse’s widespread attention, the term is quickly becoming a buzzword to denote a futuristic virtual environment.
To be sure, the technology isn’t as advanced as it is in films like Ready Player One. However, futurists believe that technology is converging to get to that point, with 2022 expected to be a watershed moment.
Nike executives believe that in the future, Metaverse users may play games or visit virtual areas where their NFT things will materialize if ownership rights (tied to a wallet) are verified.
As a result, just as bragging rights on the latest Nike releases exist in the real world, they will also exist in the Metaverse.