Not content with just selling us real sneakers, Nike is embracing virtual sneakers we can all wear in the metaverse.

Nike has announced it’s acquiring RTFKT Studios, whose founders describe the company as creating “Metaverse-ready sneakers and collectibles.” It utilizes blockchain technology to allow for easy authentication and ownership, while also embracing NFTs. From Nike’s point of view, RTFKT “leverages the latest in game engines, NFTs, blockchain authentication and augmented reality to create one of a kind virtual products and experiences.”

It can be hard to understand how the blockchain and NFTs work, and figuring out what value Nike sees in RTFKT is best achieved by looking at previous projects. Back in March, RTFKT collaborated with 18-year-old Seattle artist Fewocious. Together they produced three pairs of digital sneakers and listed them for $3,000, $5,000, and $10,000.

In just seven minutes tokens for 608 pairs were sold raising $3.08 million. Anyone owning a token was then able to redeem a physical pair the following month. Nike clearly saw the potential for such a sale being repeated many times for its own sneakers and with a whole host of sports stars and celebrities attached. In other words, RTFKT could generate Nike tens of millions in extra revenue from virtual products.

Although the terms of the deal have not been disclosed, the RTFKT brand isn’t going away. John Donahoe, President and CEO of Nike said, “We’re acquiring a very talented team of creators with an authentic and connected brand. 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.”