In a bid to expand into the metaverse, Nike just announced the acquisition of RTFKT Studios, a digital art studio focusing on non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and collectibles with a sneaker theme using the Ethereum blockchain.
As part of the acquisition, Nike President and CEO John Donahoe said, "We are acquiring a very talented and authentic team of creators." The company plans to build the RTFKT brand, serve and grow the community, and extend Nike's digital footprint.
Through this acquisition, Nike firmly establishes itself in blockchain-based branding as well as the metaverse, a hybrid version of the internet that will blend virtual and augmented reality with traditional computing.
Nike has been looking to the future of digital in recent months. The company filed four requests with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in late October to secure protection for its trademarks for downloadable virtual goods.
Through its partnership with video-game platform Roblox, it introduced its Nikeland world in November, where users can play games and outfit their characters with digital Nike items. Nike intends to create an immersive 3D world.
Roblox and other virtual worlds are increasingly attracting attention and investment from fashion and apparel brands, as they enable brands to connect with younger users and raise awareness for their products.
The metaverse will not be dominated by Nike alone. Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT was purchased by Adidas earlier this month for 46 ETH, or just over $156,000 at the time. To enter the metaverse, Adidas is collaborating with Bored Ape creators Yuga Labs and others.