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Nike buys a virtual sneaker maker

As the company dives further into the metaverse. 
Image: Bloomberg

Nike is acquiring a virtual collectibles company as it dives further into the metaverse.

The sportswear giant agreed to buy RTFKT, a business founded in 2020 that creates digital products like sneakers and uses blockchain technology to ensure authenticity, according to a statement on Monday. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“This acquisition is another step that accelerates Nike’s digital transformation,” Chief Executive Officer John Donahoe said in the statement. “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.”

Nike has been plotting its digital future in recent months. It filed seven requests with the US Patent and Trademark Office in late October to protect its marks in “downloadable virtual goods” and related services. In November, it debuted its Nikeland world in the metaverse by partnering with video-game platform Roblox, where users can play games and outfit their characters in digital Nike items.

Virtual worlds such as Roblox are increasingly attracting attention and investment from fashion and apparel brands, since the platforms give companies the opportunity to connect with younger users and create awareness for their products.

© 2021 Bloomberg

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