A new platform from Nike Virtual Studios aims to onboard the Web3 curious among Nike consumers, with a roadmap that borrows from Rtfkt’s playbook.
Nike has become a leader in fashion NFTs, largely through its purchase of digital design studio Rtfkt last year. Now, the sports giant is developing a standalone Web3 strategy designed to appeal to traditional brand fans rather than the crypto-literate early adopters.
Today, Nike is announcing Dot Swoosh, a new Web3 platform and ecosystem that lives at the domain Swoosh.nike. The project sits under Nike Virtual Studios, which is led by VP Ron Faris, the former head of Nike’s Snkrs app. Dot Swoosh will be the home of Nike’s virtual creations, Faris says, and it launches this Friday. (People can register starting today, and access begins through an access code.) A first digital collection will drop in January.
The platform will be a place for people to buy, show off and trade phygital and virtual products; unlock access to events and products; and co-create products, says Faris, whose role is to lead Nike’s blockchain, Web3 and metaverse strategies. “When you think of a virtual product like a virtual shoe, it’s not just a shoe; it’s the product and the experience, service or utility baked in.” For example, a virtual shoe might enable holders to preorder a physical counterpart, enable token-gated chats with shoe designers or unlock wearability in a favourite game. “We don't see that virtual product as the end of the purchase journey; it is the beginning of the journey,” Faris says.
Rtfkt’s team and strategy heavily informed Nike Virtual Studios, Faris says, but the Dot Swoosh project is Nike-only. “They pioneered experiences in Web3 and wrote the blueprint for new ways to build digital experiences that connect the community in ways like never before. As Nike looks to see how sport is evolving, it's clear to us that we see new ways to reimagine community, co-creation and loyalty.”
Thanks to NFT sales from Rtfkt, and with it the Web3-native company’s pre-acquisition NFT collections, Nike has already made at least $185.3 million in revenue on Web3 products, and is leading compared to competitors Adidas, which has earned $11 million, and Puma, an estimated $1.3 million. Rtfkt’s CloneX NFT avatar collection accounted for about half of Nike’s total revenue, demonstrating the importance of the acquisition to Nike’s Web3 strategy thus far. Now, with Dot Swoosh, Nike wants to broaden the net of who its Web3 strategy is for, going beyond Rtfkt’s endemic customer base and tapping into its own, who may be less experienced in the world of Web3. The goal is to educate and onboard the Nike community, rather than the Web3 natives, to “level the playing field”, Faris says.
To achieve this, Nike Virtual Studios will host events in six cities — Atlanta, Los Angeles, Charlotte, Tallahassee, Louisville and New York — in the coming months, to distribute access codes, with a focus specifically on inclusion. These cities are not obvious tech capitals, but rather places that might not always get early access to new innovations, Faris says.
The Dot Swoosh project has been underway for some time. In May, Nike reportedly bought ENS domain “dotswoosh. eth” for 19.72 ETH (approximately $38,000 at the time). It also teased the Dot Swoosh microsite through an animation of the Nike swoosh.
A key component will be co-creation, including the ability for people to weigh in on design elements and sell their own co-created products, including earning royalties on virtual goods. Those who win community challenges will be given the chance to co-create and earn a royalty for every virtual product they helped co-create. Through Rtfkt, Nike also raked in $1.29 billion in secondary royalties — so Nike giving co-creators royalties on virtual goods is no small commitment.（ BY MAGHAN MCDOWELL）