With cofounders Benoit Pagotto and Chris Le, Steven Vasilev launched RTFKT (pronounced artifact) in 2020 to create digital clothing and sneakers for the metaverse. Vasilev previously crafted real-life custom kicks for celebs. “I saw how sneakers were becoming status symbols for Gen Z kids, how physical marketplaces worked, and I thought it could be more frictionless with digital assets.” In May 2021, RTFKT raised $8 million from Andreessen Horowitz and others and was acquired by Nike that December for an undisclosed price. This past April, as the NFT craze peaked, Nike worked with RTFKT to launch its first collection for the metaverse, releasing 20,000 digital sneakers dubbed Nike Dunk Genesis CRYPTOKICKS. Some special editions fetched upward of $130,000 each.
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