With cryptocurrencies going mainstream, a new version has recently hit the market: non-fungible tokens, or NFTs. CNN describes them as one-of-a-kind digital artworks and collectibles that people can buy, trade, or re-sell. They have become highly valuable, raking in thousands of dollars. An NFT of popular icon Nyan Cat sold for $600,000 while LeBron James’ slam dunk went for $200,000.
With the growing popularity of NFTs, it was only a matter of time before major corporations joined in the trend, with Nike being one of the first sportswear and lifestyle brands to do so.
The company started its venture into NFTs by acquiring RTFKT (pronounced ‘artifact’). This company, founded in 2020, is a known creator of digital art ranging from collectibles to memes. Acquiring the well-established company serves as Nike’s entry into the “metaverse.”
This term, coined by sci-fi writer Neal Stephenson in 1992, alludes to the movement towards becoming a more virtual and digital-based society. NFTs fit into this new world because the owners of these tokens can use them in any way they choose. This is because they own the rights to the digital image.
Aside from Nike, companies like Meta (formerly known as Facebook) have created numerous investments towards the shift to the metaverse. With acquiring RTFKT, the sneaker giant will be able to create, design, and distribute branded tokens to its loyal consumer base.
The L.A. Virtual Studio
Aside from buying RTFKT, the company has also announced that it will be expanding its digital design department. The Nike Virtual Studio will be headquartered in Los Angeles and New York City. In a leaked email from the company, those working in these locations will “build a focused team dedicated to building Nike, Inc.’s virtual products and experiences.”
New York and California are known to be two of the biggest creative hubs in the country. Aside from L.A., other cities like Palm Springs have caused a stir in the design community with the location and its inhabitants leaning into creating interesting artistic choices. Because of this Nike has decided to post their virtual studios within these two states.
What’s in store for the future?
With the sneaker and sportswear giant venturing and investing into the metaverse, they will most likely start releasing their own NFTs within the near future. Fintelics explains why this is an advantageous move for both the company and its customers.
Nike enthusiasts will be able to have unique designs and artwork that they can call their own and use in many different ways. This can range from utilizing them as skins in games to creating content with these icons. Because Nike still has copyright over the images, they will still be able to profit in some ways based on the use of the token.
Aside from this, NFTs are created to last forever. This means owners can buy, keep, trade, and sell them safely and securely without the fear of losing them or getting hacked. NFTs use the same blockchain technology as crypto coins, making them secure. This will ensure that any tokens Nike distributes will remain within the digital landscape forever.
As the footwear company invests in creating NFTs, it’s obvious that the consumer market is shifting. There is now a bigger emphasis on virtual goods than ever before. Nike acquiring a design company and setting up their studio means that they are getting ready to adapt to this coming shift in consumer priorities, and are building themselves up to be future-proof.