Nike is branching out from shoes, apparel and other gear into the red-hot crypto collectibles market with the acquisition of NFT studio RTFKT (read as ‘artifact’) for an undisclosed sum.
The sports and casual wear brand is diversifying from its core clothing business after being smitten by the metaverse with a timely deal that comes as RTFKT basks in popular acclaim for its CloneX partnership with artist Takashi Murakami – which industry tracker CryptoSlam believes has generated an impressive $65m in transactions.
This success came after a funding round in May that valued the company at $33.3m.
Founded in 2020 by Benoit Pagotto, Chris Le and Steven Vasilev, RTFKT is best known for its collaborations with crypto creators to design products and experiences from wearable shoes to graphics for use by other NFT creators.
Flushed with success from a hectic month, RTFKT’s Pagotto said: “This is a unique opportunity to build the RTFKT brand and we are excited to benefit from Nike’s foundational strength and expertise to build the communities we love.”
John Donahoe, president and chief executive officer of Nike, added: “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. 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.”