Just a year after launching, blockchain start-up RTFKT was acquired by Nike to help bring the company into the virtual sneaker metaverse.
Nike has purchased a company that makes virtual sneakers as it attempts to secure a foothold in the metaverse.
RTFKT was only founded last year — and it's now been snapped up for an undisclosed sum.
The start-up has been praised for "leveraging the latest in-game engines, NFTs, blockchain authentication and augmented reality to create one-of-a-kind virtual products and experiences."
Nike's CEO John Donahoe expressed hope that the acquisition will extend the brand's digital footprint and capabilities, adding:
"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."
A Crypto Success Story
Rare releases of sneakers have created a buzz and excitement in the physical world for decades — and the arrival of NFTs has brought this passion to the virtual world, too.
And according to RTFKT, there's plenty of demand, too. The company recently entered into a collaboration with an 18-year-old artist to launch a collection of digital sneakers — and sales exceeded $3 million in under seven minutes.
Writing an impassioned blog post in May, the team said:
"RTFKT is born on the blockchain to ensure authenticity, ownership and grant access to new experiences. We believe that blockchain technology has the potential to empower creators to lead, collaborate and create with no limits. NFTs are a transformative medium that is going to develop a new paradigm between creativity and commerce."
Back in May, RTFKT had raised $8 million through a fundraising round led by Andreessen Horowitz. It said the funds would be used to "push the NFT ecosystem forward and help shape the future of fashion and commerce in the metaverse" — and embark on a hiring spree for the world's finest digital artists.