The future is pretty much digital. Although that is something most people have not come to terms with yet, that hasn’t stopped certain projects from paving the way in the background while that reality slowly unfolds. One such project is the renowned RTFKT Labs (pronounced “artifact”), which have recently taken the NFT fashion industry by storm due to its collaboration with Nike.
RTFKT is a London-based startup founded by Benoit Pagotto, Chris Le, and Steven Vasilev, and together, they have amassed one of the fastest-growing NFT communities in the world with 283.7K followers on Twitter and 155k on Discord. If you were a sneakerhead growing up, collecting Jordans, Yeezys, and expensive sneakers, this project is taking that to a whole different level and will likely be how your kids one day will flex their expensive kicks. Regardless of whether or not you care about digital sneakers, if you are going to be part of the metaverse one day, then this is not a project you will want to miss out on, and here’s why.
The Road to Success
The RTFKT concept began officially in April 2019, when the founders made their first post on the Instagram page, however, the project didn’t officially launch until January of 2020. The team had a massive advantage in that they were well connected in the tech and online gaming space, which explains how they were able to secure a digital sneaker collaboration with Apex Legends, a free-to-play battle royale shooter game developed by Respawn Entertainment and published by Electronic Arts.
Then came the Cybersneaker drop, which is when things really started to take off.
This sneaker drop even managed to garner attention from the likes of Elon Musk and Kanye West, who were featured on the RTFKT Instagram page.
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RTFKT was smart to target the next-gen gaming and fashion demographic in 2020 and 2021 because these were the years where everyone was at home in lockdowns due to the current pandemic. It was during this time that people began to turn to video games as a way to pass time and so these sneaker collaborations appealed to this niche particularly well. Furthermore, it was during this time that people started to spend more time online in the digital realm than in real life because the real world was so restricted and mundane for many.
Coupled with the attention of major influencers in the industry, it was clear that RTFKT was destined for success, here are a few of their notable collections to be aware of.
RTFKT x CryptoPunks Sneaker Drop
Everyone in the NFT space knows about the CryptoPunks by now. This is exactly why RTFKT built an entire sneaker collaboration with LarvaLabs, the creators of CryptoPunks. The collaboration happened in May 2021 and stunned the NFT community and sent the price of CryptoPunks to the moon. To get your hands on a sneaker you needed to own at least one CryptoPunk, and each Punk owner got access to:
- 1/1 Punk Sneaker NFT
- 1 Complementary Physical sneaker forging
- 1/1 VXL Portrait
- Metaverse Wearable voxel files
That means you got the NFT of the sneaker, a physical sneaker, and a sneaker for your character in the Metaverse. That is what we call value.
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RTFKT x Jeff Staple
Jeff Staple became renowned in the fashion industry for his collaboration with Nike in the early 2000s, where he helped design the iconic Staple x Nike SB Dunk “Pigeon” sneaker, which is currently valued at nearly $66,000. He sort of fizzled out after that point and was not heard from until nearly two decades later when RTFKT approached him for a collaboration, that would put his name on a pair of digital sneakers this time. The collection of NFTs did remarkably well, and although the floor price is sitting at 5 ETH ($15,308) right now, at one point they were selling for over 20 ETH ($61,234).
physical sneaker, and a sneaker for your character in the Metaverse. That is what we call value.
RTFKT x FEWOCiOUS
RTFKT then proceeded to launch their sneaker drop with 18 year old Victor Langlois who is a digital artist from Las Vegas. The drop released on Nifty Gateway included three physical sneakers that people could receive by owning the NFT. That meant that not only did owners receive a pair of sneakers that were going to rise in value, but they also had an NFT that they could sell down the line. This demonstrates the amazing utility and value of getting your hands on an RTFKT NFT drop. As of today, the floor price for this collaboration sits at 5.7 ETH ($14,950), a steal compared to last summer when they were selling on average at around 16 ETH ($41,966) per sneaker.
RTFKT’s CloneX drop in late November 2021, designed by the renowned Japanese contemporary artist Takashi Murakami, is arguably the most valuable RTFKT NFT drop ever as some credit it as being akin to holding a Bored Ape or CryptoPunk. Owning one is a dream for most people in the NFT realm. It is a set of 20,000 profile picture (PFP) NFTs of Clone Avatars that you can use in the Metaverse. The presale price was set at 0.05 ETH ($132), and owning any of its prior NFTs would qualify you to get one at this price. However, if you missed the presale, the dutch auction price began at 3 ETH($8000), and was later set to a flat 2 ETH ($5,298) mint price. As of today, the floor price sits at about 13 ETH ($34,441).
The success of RTFKT and its visionary approach to NFTs set its brand apart from the vast majority of other NFT projects on the market. They did so well that a little-known sneaker company known as Nike Inc. decided to acquire them in December 2021. This news shook the NFT community as it was Nike’s first big move in the Metaverse and together, they are likely to dominate the digital sneaker marketplace one day when it becomes mainstream. Recently, RTFKT announced its first NFT airdrop under Nike known as MNLTH (pronounced “monolith”), which were sent to the addresses of Clone X holders. This sent the floor price of Clone X NFTs to as high as 30 ETH ($80,000) this month, which undergirds the insane times we are living in but also the beauty of RTFKT’s community.
It is clear that RTFKT is doing something right in this crazy space as everything they touch seems to turn into gold and a lot of profit for its investors. It is important to remember that the NFT space is still in its infancy and is a guaranteed bubble on the brink of an inevitable burst that may see 99% of projects fail. However, if we were to bet on one project to survive that nuclear fallout, we would place our bet on RTFKT, and after reading this article, hopefully, you can see why.
Blog Credits: Medium