Nike’s Metaverse includes NFT shoes for a virtual world

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After spending part of 2021 sue shoe customizersNike spends its last months of the year claiming the emerging metaverse.

In October, the sporting goods giant filed trademarks with the US Patent Office to sell branded sneakers in a virtual world. Last month, the company spear an online gaming area Roblox called Nikeland where fans can create an avatar of themselves and play sports in a virtual space. In its latest foray, Nike noted On Monday, it acquired digital collectibles company RTFKT Studios, which will allow the retailer to sell virtual sneakers that people can use to outfit their online avatars.

“Brands have an incentive to be there because that’s where people are and they want to follow them,” Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter said of major retailers’ decision to start bolstering. their presence in the metaverse.

But what exactly is the metaverse? In general, it describes a network of augmented and virtual reality hubs accessible via smartphones or headsets. Users can also create a digital replacement to represent them in the virtual world, customizing their avatar for work and play using Nike-branded hats, sunglasses, and now even sneakers.

The market for transactions in the metaverse is expected to reach $6.1 billion this year and nearly $42 billion worldwide by 2026, according to research firm Strategy Analytics. At Nikeland, users can customize their appearance, display collectibles in a digital showroom, and play games.


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RTFKT Studios manufactures, among other things, non-fungible sneaker tokens. Non-fungible tokens are virtual objects that use blockchain technology and smart contracts to ensure that each element, or asset, is unique and immutable. NFT sneakers are not tangible items that customers can wear, for example, in a grocery store or hair salon in real life. Instead, the shoes will fit on the feet of an avatar walking around in a virtual world, such as Nikeland.

RTFKT, pronounced “artifact”, launched in 2020 and caused a stir in March when it sold out in seven minutes with a line of real sneakers paired with NFTs and made $3.1 million in the process. “Since we started, we have always admired Nike with the goal of creating the Nike born on the Metaverse,” said Benoit Pagotto, co-founder of RTFKT. tweeted after the announcement of the acquisition.

Nike did not disclose how much it paid for the studio. In one declarationNike CEO John Donahoe called the purchase a new step “to serve athletes and creators at the intersection of sport, creativity, games and culture.”

It’s unclear what specific plans Nike has for its new NFT arm, but Pachter speculated about one possibility: letting users who purchased a new pair of Nikes scan a QR code using their cellphones so that the shoes can be displayed on their avatar in Fortnite or other applications.

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