An NFT is a unique digital token encrypted with an artist’s signature that verifies its ownership and authenticity.

RTFKT’s colorful kicks were sold as NFTs, unique digital assets that gives buyers ownership of an item using blockchain technology.

What’s a metaverse ecosystem without a pair of fancy kicks? Shoemaker Nike agrees. One of the world’s most well-known shoemakers, Nike just bought a virtual shoe company that specializes in shoe NFTs for the metaverse.

Nike announced the acquisition of RTFKT Studios on Monday. “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,” John Donahoe, Nike’s CEO and President announced in a presser.

Nike, Inc. did not disclose the purchase amount, but RTFKT’s reputation as a sought-after brand that fetches premium prices, with some virtual sneakers selling for up to $10,000 a pair, suggests the deal could be lucrative.

This is not the brand’s first foray into the virtual world. In May 2019, the Jordan brand partnered with Fortnite, where characters wore Nike-branded sneakers. Nike has also had several collaborations with the online gaming platform Roblox.

The company is still waiting on a patent filed in April 2019 for “Cryptokicks,” which Nike plans to use as a nonfungible token.

As Nike prepares for the virtual world, its physical world has most recently been impacted by supply chain issues. In its most recent earnings report, on Sept. 23, the company lowered its fiscal 2022 outlook to account for longer transit times, labor shortages and prolonged production shutdowns in Vietnam.

Nike shares are up 18% year to date, putting its market value at more than $265 billion.

Nike’s acquisition of RTFKT Studios comes at an interesting time when the company is creating a buzz owing to one the most-talked about NFT projects of the month – CloneX. CloneX is a crypto-art project that is an outcome of the collaboration between RTFKT and Japanese artist Takashi Murakami. The project includes a series of 20,000 digitally-generated 3D avatars with randomised features such as eyes, clothes and mouth among others. The project was launched in November and since then it has already garnered over $77 million in transaction volume as per CryptoSlam.

In addition to that, the company also collaborated with 18-year-old artist Fewocious for its metaverse ready virtual sneakers. The partnership led to the company selling over $3 million worth of digital sneakers in less than seven minutes.

It is worth noting that Nike is not the only company that is trying to leverage Blockchain and consequently NFTs. Adidas recently announced a collaboration with cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase. The development followed the company buying a piece of virtual land in a blockchain-based world called The Sandbox.

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by Styliana Charalambous Head of Market Research
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