NFTs meet IP 👀
Nike acquires its way into the metaverse, tracking down J.P. Morgan's fabled watch
Cultured is a newsletter by Otis that gets readers up to speed on the most interesting things going on at the intersection of finance, art, collectibles, NFTs, and more.
🗞 STORIES OF THE DAY
Nike has acquired RTFKT, an NFT studio that creates “next generation collectibles that merge culture and gaming.” In other words, sneakers for the metaverse.
RTFKT raised $8 million from A16Z earlier this year. It’s currently working on the much-hyped CloneX project, a virtual avatar project it started with artist Takashi Murakami.
Sneaker companies have been making big moves into the metaverse. Adidas recently teamed up with Bored Apes Yacht Club to create a metaverse character and is working with Sandbox on an undisclosed project.
Our Take: Nike may be bringing its aggressive approach toward intellectual property (IP) into the metaverse, and it will be interesting to see the ramifications.
Nike is an IP fiend known for going after any perceived attempt to undermine its trademarks. Earlier this year, Nike filed patents for digital versions of its iconic swoosh, as well as a host of other trademarks. The terms for RTFKT’s CloneX project also prohibit fractionalization and commercialization. Some have argued that this approach goes against the democratic principles at the core of blockchain tech.
In the early 1900s, J.P. Morgan (the man) commissioned an intricate pocket watch from an English watchmaking firm. After his death, it bounced around between collectors. Then, in the 1970s, it vanished.
J.P. Morgan’s watch was transferred between a host of wealthy people, including an Australian archduke and the Sultan of Oman. Now, finally, the watch that was presumed missing has been traced to an anonymous owner.
Our Take: While it lacks a satisfying conclusion, the story is a lucky look into how rare collectibles make their way between the world’s wealthiest collectors.
We’ve said it before: provenance is key in collecting. But usually auction houses only give you vague hints at who actually owned the collectible (“private American collection”). This story offers a detailed history of who bought the watch, illuminating the globe-trotting life of a rare object.
✨ AROUND THE INTERNET
More watches: A rare Patek Philippe sold for nearly $10 million at Sotheby’s New York earlier this week, a personal best for the auction house.
A charity auction broke records for the most expensive instruments sold at auction. Paul McCartney’s Yamaha bass guitar sold for a record $496,100, while Eddie Vedder’s concert-smashed Telecaster brought in $266,200 — a new record for a smashed six-string.
Coinbase is bringing NFTs onto its dashboard. Starting this week, users can see NFTs attached to their cryptowallets in their browsers.
LV has released Virgil Abloh’s final collection, fittingly designed around his “boyhood ideology.”
A Bored Ape NFT was sold for $3,000 after the seller accidentally put in the wrong number (he meant to type $300,000). Whoops.
We’re officially in the first wave of digital nostalgia and our leader is a pixelated Pokémon.