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Nike-Owned RTFKT Announces Start of World Merging

Users can now easily link physical items and NFTs

Credit: RTFKT

Virtual sneaker maker RTFKT has announced the release of its latest venture: RTFKT World Merging (WM).

Geared towards combining digital and physical worlds, World Merging allows users to link physical items and NFTs using their smartphone.

Starter Gun Fires on World Merging

As explained in a tweet thread from the official RTFKT account, “With a WM enabled RTFKT physical item, such as RTFKT Space Drip x Nike Air Force 1 or the RTFKT x Nike AR Hoodie, you can initiate the linking process by scanning the WM Chip embedded in your ARTEFACT.”

The thread also teased future updates including upgradable WM chips, dynamic access for linked artefacts, authentication, and IRL quest and unlocks.

NFT tags appear in different places on RTFKT merchandise: on sneakers, for example, the tag lives on the sole, while on apparel it is located on the size label.

All users have to do to process tag info and link the item is press their smartphone camera on the NFC tag or move the camera over the NFC tag side-to-side, with the lens touching the tag; a banner will then appear to initiate the linking process.

A detailed FAQ on the process can be found here.

The release of World Merging may usher in an exciting era of digital twins. Multiple users responded to the RTFKT thread to note that they had already successfully linked physical items, with one happy camper announcing “The shoe game has changed” after linking their Nike Space Drip Air Force 1s.

After someone queried what would happen to the equivalent NFT if a person sold the physical item, RTFKT’s Chief Technology Officer Samuel Cardillo explained that there is “an entire unlink system with approval and transfer baked in. It’s already ready on the smart contract but we need more time implementing the UX and the offchain listeners.”

He added: “When you sell the NFT, it trigger a waiting time on the link where the link owner need to approve or disapprove the transaction. If nothing is done in time, the item is automatically unlinked. RTFKT also has the ability to link/unlink stuff on the fly.”

That answer, of course, refers to linking/unlinking a non-fungible token. As Cardillo pointed out, “there is no way to track the physical sales. Up to the NFT owner to unlink it or the physical owner to request a link removal. If I give my AR hoodie to my sister, there is no way to track it.”

It’s been exactly a year since sportswear giant Nike acquired RTFKT in a deal rumored to be worth over $1 billion. It looks like that partnership is about to start bearing serious fruit.