Nike, Inc. has made a running start into the metaverse.
On Dec. 13, the sporting goods behemoth announced that it has acquired RTFKT, an NFT studio that blurs the lines between the digital and physical through virtual sneakers and collectibles like one of a kind sneakers. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Following the announcement, secondary sales of RTFKT’s CloneX NFTs shot through the roof as investors piled in. The floor price of the collection is currently around 6 ETH, up from 3 ETH before the news was made public.
An OpenSea user who goes by the handle “Criminal” made out like a bandit, minting and selling a rare ‘split’ CloneX avatar #4939 for 200 ETH ($760K) in a matter of hours.
Rumours about Nike’s metaverse play have been running wild ever since the company filed multiple patent requests in October for “downloadable virtual goods” bearing its trademark Swoosh and Jordan logos.
It hasn’t all been smooth sailing for RTFKT (pronounced Artifact).
The CloneX drop two weeks ago started off as a Dutch auction but was paused midway after alleged attacks on the project’s website. All remaining CloneX avatars were made available at a fixed price of 2 ETH, irking some buyers who participated in the original auction at higher prices.
This past weekend, the project was once again in Crypto Twitter’s crosshairs after users discovered that their expensive NFTs came with limited commercial rights.
And while most celebrated the partnership, some users remain skeptical.
At the current floor price of 6 ETH, the cheapest “Nike” NFT is pricier than the most highly sought-after physical sneakers the company has ever made.
John Donahoe, Nike’s President and CEO, placed the deal firmly in the context of the company’s broader digital strategy. “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,” he said in a statement.