Nike follows Adidas into the metaverse by purchasing virtual sneaker company RTFKT

A Nike store
Both Nike and Adidas are opening the way for fans to own virtual branded goods. Photo credit: Getty Images

Sportswear giant Nike is expanding its metaverse presence after purchasing virtual sneaker and NFT collectible company RTFKT for an undisclosed sum.

RTFKT, pronounced 'artifact', was founded in 2020 and was described by Nike as a "a leading brand that leverages cutting edge innovation to deliver next generation collectibles that merge culture and gaming".

That reputation comes from partnerships with the likes of artist Takashi Murakami. The CloneX avatar collaboration with the Japanese pop artist has created more than NZ$123 million in sales, according to cryptocurrency transaction trackers.

"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, president and CEO of Nike, said.

"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."

Earlier this month Adidas also announced it was heading into the metaverse after purchasing a Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT.

The German sportswear manufacturer posted on Twitter that it's working with Yuga Labs, creator of the bored apes, as well as NFT collector GMoney and Punks Comic, a digital comic based on the popular CryptoPunks NFT collection.

The company has changed its avatar to its bored ape, but now wearing Adidas branded clothing instead of being topless in the original drawing.

According to crypto marketplace OpenSea, the NFT was purchased around three months ago for 46 ether, which is around NZ$255,000 at today's exchange rate.

Copies of the new Punks Comic, featuring Adidas and others on the "ultimate treasure hunt" are only available to purchase as NFTs and are currently selling for around $1930.

Earlier this week one Bored Ape Yacht Club owner revealed he'd accidentally cost himself $400,000 by putting in a decimal point in the wrong place.

Instead of selling for 75 ether, owner Maxnaut sold it for 0.75 ether after it was snapped up by an automated program before he could change his mistake.