Nike's Promising Web3 App is Unveiled
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This week, Nike unveiled .SWOOSH, a comprehensive platform built for users to buy and sell NFTs. This comes over a year after the famous sportswear company acquired RTFKT, a web3 company, for a large amount of money (reported to be north of $1 billion).
Let's face it — Nike is everywhere. It's one of the most recognizable brands globally and has millions of loyal fans worldwide. During the last few years, Nike has invested heavily in digital strategy, with over 50% of its commerce expected to come from internet purchases by 2025.
One of Nike's most significant investments in digital strategy is in emerging technologies. They're one of the earliest adopters of NFT tech and have partnerships with NFT companies like RTFKT and online children's games like Roblox, and have been releasing shoes digitally through the SNKRS platform for many years.
Nike's Web3 Success
Let's discuss Nike's acquisition of RTFKT a little more, as that's a leading reason why they're currently in pole position in the big-company-adopts-NFTs race.
RTFKT (pronounced like "artifact") was founded in 2020 and was known for creating virtual sneakers that people could collect and trade. Originally, RTFKT had a niche following, but in the hands of a company like Nike, it has directly inserted itself into mainstream sneaker culture.
“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... 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.”
In the year since the acquisition, the company has launched a few individual projects with Nike including a set of ~13,000 NFTs that allowed users to customizable classic Nike sneakers. In total, Nike's partnership with RTFKT has led to more than $185 million in revenue.
What Should We Expect?
So what's different between .SWOOSH and RTFKT? Nike puts it this way.
RTFKT is a web3 native luxury brand and community. They are leaders in this space and we learn from them. Dot SWOOSH is the home for Nike’s virtual creations, a platform for the web3 curious that prioritizes education and inclusion. They're two different projects, using the same technology—sometimes we will look to collaborate together when it’s right for our members.
The two entities will co-exist, but it sounds like nearly all of Nike's digital goods will live on the Dot Swoosh platform.
Users will be able to buy, trade, and sell Nike products on the site. The site will also act as an incubator — creators will be able to link up and create the next great Nike product on the platform (with authorization from Nike of course).
Nike plans on releasing Dot Swoosh to the public in phases. Phase one will be collection(s) of digital collectibles. Following this will be the launch of the marketplace where anyone can buy and sell those collectibles. After that, they'll set up an incubator for creators worldwide to create collectibles of their own. Finally, they'll launch fully-fledged seminars that teach anyone that cares to learn about web3. 👇
As you read this, you may be asking "why now?"
The crypto market has crashed. NFT sales have plummeted. The macro environment isn't great. Et cetera.
The Mint's honest opinion? This is the perfect time to launch something like this. Crypto and NFTs are in the spotlight, and Nike has a chance to set the bar straight. They get to start from ground zero, and they already have a massive head start.
Other companies will be hesitant to invest time and money into this space while Nike will have a complete web3 infrastructure and a fanbase that trusts them. Even if you're against this move, you've got to applaud Nike's tenacity and forward-thinking.
How This Changes the Game
The need for virtual goods is coming.
Virtual reality, E-sports, and more tech-focused endeavors will continue to gain popularity in the next few years. Whether you're playing your favorite video game, hanging out with your friends in the metaverse, working from home, or else, you'll want to be equipped with the same gear and swag that you hold dear to your heart in the physical world.
Nike's early endeavors into the space have already caused brands like Adidas, Puma, and more to try to play catch up, and it's almost guaranteed that this move will catalyze even more brands to undertake similar projects.
Some big changes are coming, and The Mint is all for it.
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