Nike acquires NFT studio RTFKT as the crypto moment escalates | WARC | The Feed
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Nike acquires NFT studio RTFKT as the crypto moment escalates
The frenzy continues, and the two largest sports brands – Nike and Adidas – are once again competing for supremacy in the booming NFT world; one is buying brands while the other is finding partners. Nike, for its part, states that it’s looking to get into the “next generation [of] collectibles that merge culture and gaming”.
Why it matters
Both Nike with its acquisition of RTFKT (pronounced ‘artifact’) and Adidas’ partnership with Bored Ape Yacht Club speak to a fundamental aspect of the NFT/digital asset world: collectors will go first.
The sneaker market is a useful way to think about NFTs. A pair of Air Jordans or Yeezy Boosts has a certain value when new, but it’s the scarcity that sends the second-hand market stratospheric. The crypto side gives Nike (through RTFKT) the ability to sell both digital and physical items ‘minted’ onto a blockchain, meaning there’s now potential to cash in on some of that resale revenue.
Either way you look at it, the acquisition is future-facing with the potential to get Nike into the crypto-backed metaverse – an embodied, virtual world that some people think will be the next phase of the internet.
Just over a year old, the RTFKT brand is a studio responsible for some major hits. While some of the initial excitement appears to be cooling (some of its NFTs are now selling for less than their original list price).
However, it appears to be the studio’s magnetism and collaborative vision that indicated to Nike the real source of the startup’s (as yet undisclosed) value. However, at its most recent funding round, cheerleaders and venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz valued the firm at £33m.
A recent collaboration with the artist Takashi Murakami, CloneX, saw the startup’s NFT avatars account for $65 million of transactions (in this new world, it’s not as simple as sales), TechCrunch reports.
However, as the announcement suggests by placing RTFKT’s logo alongside its other major brands, Nike has serious plans in this space. Note also the brand’s entry into Roblox last month.
“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” – John Donahoe, president and CEO of Nike.
The advertising world is interested in these spaces, partly out of its neophilia and partly because it thinks Nike is very good at the whole brand thing. But a big question mark remains over the utility of these new ideas for non-collectible brands. Elsewhere, on the media side: how do you let people know about them? After all, NFTs won’t buy themselves.
Sourced from Nike, TechCrunch, The Verge
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