Nike buys NFT collectables startup RTFKT

Nike announced on Monday that it is pushing further into the metaverse with the acquisition of RTFKT (pronounced "artefact"). 

RTFKT is a collectables studio known for making NFTs that merge culture and gaming. 

The brand was first launched in January 2020 by Benoit Pagotto, Chris Le and Steven Vasilev. Nike said in a press release that the team "leverages the latest in game engines, NFTs, blockchain authentication and augmented reality to create one of a kind virtual products and experiences".  

Nike did not disclose the terms of the deal. In May, RTKFT had raised $8 million at a $33.3 million valuation.

“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,” said John Donahoe, President and CEO of Nike.

“We’re acquiring 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 community and extend Nike’s digital footprint and capabilities.”  

RTFKT already has a strong track record in the digital realm, having recently launched a lauded partnership with artist Takashi Murakami called CloneX. The project has already seen more than $75 million in transaction volume, according to CryptoSlam.

“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 which was fully formed in the metaverse," said Pagotto.