There may not be a harder NFT ecosystem to keep up with than RTFTK's Clone X ecosystem, particularly given RTFKT's grand visions, frequent updates, and cryptic messages.
That combination has been a foundation for success, while simultaneously a cause of stress for devoted holders. But for those who are just exploring the ecosystem for the first time, it can be a bit overwhelming.
That's where this guide comes in. Use this breakdown of the RTFKT, its history, three core NFT pillars, and roadmap to get a handle on everything going on in this ecosystem which has done more than $1 billion in revenue across the last two years, placing it squarely in the uppermost echelon of NFT teams and brands.
Table of Contents:
- What Is RTFKT?
- RTFKT NFT History
- RTFKT's NFT Ecosystem
- RTFKT Roadmap
Let's dig in.
What Is RTKFT?
RTFKT is the company and team behind the hit PFP project, Clone X. But what is RTFKT?
The description on the website sums it up well, "We are a creator led organisation. RTFKT uses the latest in game engines, NFT, blockchain authentication and augmented reality, combined with manufacturing expertise to create one of a kind sneakers and digital artifacts."
The "creators" leading RTFKT include Benoit Pagotto (@Benit0), Chris Le (@clegfx), and Steven Vasilev (@Zaptio). Each is a co-founder of RTFKT, with Steven acting as CEO and Chris as Creative Director.
Additionally, each now has a role at Nike since the major acquisition in December of 2021.
Thanks to the success of early projects, the RTFKT team also made a connection with Takashi Murakami, the legendary Japanese contemporary artist. Murakami would go on to play an instrumental role in Clone X and the most sought-after trait with his namesake (more on that below).
From a product standpoint, RTFKT got its start by focusing on metaverse fashion, specifically by collaborating with top artists to make physical and digital shoes. Since that time, the company has branched out into a variety of NFTs, including avatars (PFPs) and metaverse NFTs, though digital wearables remain a core focus.
Let's take a look at how that NFT history has evolved.
RTFKT NFT History
The first NFT project that put RTFKT on the map was a collab with artist FEWOCiOUS. The pair teamed up with Nifty Gateway for an NFT sneaker drop in March 2021, selling $7 million worth of shoes in just seven minutes.
From there, the team launched a second physical and digital shoe NFT project, this time partnering with Jeff Staples. The name of this drop was the Meta-Pigeon, and these pigeon-inspired shoe NFTs would later serve as the foundation for one of the largest NFT ecosystems in the world.
Let's recap how it all went down.
- Holders of the Meta-Pigeon NFTs were airdropped 3 CloneX Mintvials each in late November 2021.
- Those Mintvials could then be burned to create the Clone X NFTs starting in mid-December 2021.
- Each Clone X holder then got airdropped the Cyber Pod NFT, followed soon after by another airdrop of the Loot Pod.
- RTFKT was then acquired by Nike in Feb 2022, and together RTFKT x Nike airdropped the first ever Nike NFT, the MNLTH, to all Clone X owners.
- MNLTH owners then had the option to open their MNLTHs, revealing three NFTs: RTFKT x Nike Genesis Dunk Cryptokicks, Skin Vial EVO X, and MNLTH 2.
- And most recently, all Clone X holders will mint eggs in November of 2022, which will be the first Clone X expansion set.
That's a whole lot of pigeon droppings.
In all seriousness, holders of those Meta-Pigeons likely had no idea what they were in store for. The minimum value of those NFTs, if held until today, is ~36 ETH (3 Clone X at 8.4 ETH, 3 CryptoKicks at 0.6 ETH, 3 Skin Vials at 0.2 ETH, 3 MNLTH 2 at 1.8 ETH, 3 LOOT Pods at 0.3 ETH, and 3 Space Pods at 0.74 ETH). And it was significantly higher during the bull run.
Taking a step back and looking at this ecosystem, it seems clear that RFTKT and Nike are building out this metaverse fashion brand vision by focusing on three core pillars:
- Avatars (Clone X)
- Digital Wearables (MNLTH)
- Metaverse (Pods)
We'll explore these three buckets in more detail below.
RTFKT's NFT Ecosystem
The expansion of the RTFKT NFT ecosystem is difficult to keep track of, but we'll look at each collection in detail below.
The lore behind Clone X starts with the three extraterrestrial founders from the planet Orbitar in the Draco constellation. Their goal is to accelerate human evolution by transferring human consciousness into the metaverse, housed within clones. With humans no longer bound to their organic forms, their clones can travel the galaxy to expand civilization.
The defining trait of the Clone X avatars is their "DNA type." The eight different options are listed below (with the rarity percentage of the overall 19,400* supply):
- Human (50%)
- Robot (30%)
- Angel (8.7%)
- Demon (8.7%)
- Reptile (1.25%)
- Undead (0.6%)
- Murakami (0.5%)
- Alien (0.15%)
*Note: At the time of writing, ~600 CloneX mintvials remain and thus have not yet been minted
Additional traits that differentiate the avatars include accessories, items on their back, their clothing, eye color, eyewear, facial features, hair, helmet types, jewelry, mouth, and a special category called "type" - which can only be found on about 33 percent of Clone X NFTs. (
The DNA types have already proved relevant via RTFKT's first forging event "Forging SZN 1," where Clone X holders could pay to mint digital wearables such as socks, T-shirts, and Nike Air Force 1s that were tied to their clone's DNA.
After Forging SZN 1, RTFKT "unlocked" Clone X NFTs for holders on July 4, 2022, allowing holders to download all the matching 3D files associated with their Clone. In addition to the files, RTFKT has provided full commercial rights to their respective Clone X NFTs, with the lone exception being those with the Murikami traits. The 3D files allow collectors to become creators with their avatars, which are usable in video games, content, merchandise, and more.
Project Animus & Eggs
On Oct. 7, the RTFKT team posted a video trailer that teased a Clone X character walking with two other characters new to the ecosystem, one of which resembled Kodas from The Otherside.
That teaser was for Project Animus, expected to launch in early 2023.
As a first step, Project Animus will launch an "Egg Drop" to all Clone X holders in November 2022. No details about the purpose of the eggs have been provided, but some theories are circulating.
For example, current speculation is that those eggs will then "hatch" and reveal new characters as Project Animus launches next year. Some are calling this a "Pokemon-like" expansion, as the eggs draw a comparison to the Pokemon GO mechanics. This speculation has more legs due to Chris Le (RTFKT co-founder) having "Pokemon Trainer" from 1999-2021 in his LinkedIn bio.
Speculation aside, there will certainly be surprises in classic RTFKT fashion. One major surprise that Clone X holders previously benefitted from was the MNLTH airdrop, another major component of the RTFKT ecosystem.
Digital Wearables and MNLTH
The MNLTH ecosystem seems to be where RTFKT and Nike are focusing on the creation of digital wearables.
Back in Feb. 2022, each Clone X holder was airdropped a mysterious box NFT called "MNLTH," which had a tagline that read:
After a series of quests executed by the community (via clues given on Twitter and in the RTFKT discord), the MNLTH boxes finally started opening in late April 2022. All holders had the option of navigating to a special RTFKT website to open their boxes, which generated three new NFTs:
- RTFKT x Nike Dunk Genesis CryptoKicks
- A skin vial to pair with the CryptoKicks (RTFKT Skin Vial: Evo X)
- A new MNLTH
The CryptoKicks are first-generation, Nike-branded digital shoes designed for the metaverse. They are minted as "blank" with just the grey colors and teal swoosh.
The holder then has the option to pair the shoe with the Skin Vial NFT, changing the shoe's appearance. CryptoKicks hold a 0.6 ETH floor at the time of writing, with an all-time high sale at 45 ETH (for a Murakami-skin shoe). Most shoe sales occur without the Skin Vials being applied, as they can be removed and interchanged.
As a nod back to Clone X, there are eight types of Skin Vials that align with the Clone X DNA types. The rarities of the skin vials also line up with the rarity of those DNA types for Clone X (with the Human type as the most common and Alien as the rarest). From a market perspective, the Alien vials hold the highest all-time sale at 150 ETH, while the Murakami Skin Vials hold ten of the top 12 sales, ranging from 45 ETH to 72 ETH.
By including MNLTH 2 in the MNLTH 1 box, RTFKT signaled the long-term focus on building MNLTH and the digital wearables.
MNLTH 2 has the same box structure but with different featured colors, this time with a white and gold focus. At the time of writing, there are just 13,500 MNLTH 2 NFTs, meaning that ~6,500 have yet to be revealed. The RTFKT team has been hinting that quests for MNLTH 2 will begin in Q4 2022, but they have not started yet.
After the reveal of MNLTH, the team made their first major augmented reality (AR) play with the AR Hoodie launch in July 2022. Holders of the CryptoKicks were eligible to pay to mint these digital hoodie wearables and were able to forge them into physicals as well. The hoodies have a QR code on the back, enabled by NFC chips, that generate mechanical angel wings upon a scan. This is just the team's latest step in "merging physical and digital worlds" and represented a major step forward for their metaverse fashion brand - and likely a glimpse into what's to come in the future.
With such a focus on digital wearables, holders will need somewhere to show them off and flex. This is where the final pillar of the RTFKT ecosystem comes in - the metaverse.
Metaverse - RTFKT Pods
The team's first formal step into the metaverse NFT space was via the airdrop of Space Pods to Clone X holders back on Dec. 25, 2021. The Space Pods are a collaboration with Oncyber Labs, known for its virtual NFT galleries. Each RTFKT Pod appears to be a small, virtual apartment fitted with a living room, kitchen, sleeping area, workstation, closet, and bathroom.
"Space Pods...are the start of your home on the Metaverse. Use it to display your favorite artworks or collectibles, and share it with your friends," reads the NFT description on OpenSea. It goes on to mention that the Space Pod is the beginning of the "Clone multiverse civilization," an indication that is clearly in line with the lore of Clone X and the vision of human civilization living in space, in their pods.
Realizing the closet space in the Space Pod was quite small, the team expanded by airdropping Loot Pods back in Feb. 2022, as "the first expansion of your Space Pod home." The Loot Pod resembles a marble, loft gallery, and includes the logos of Nike, Jumpman, Converse, and RTFKT. The Loot Pods can be merged with the Space Pods as long as holders own both, and the merge is executed via OnCyber's website.
In typical RTFKT fashion, the team released a cryptic tweet on Sept. 13 with what appears to be Space and Loot Pods stacked upon each other. Market participants have speculated that holding four of those NFTs will unlock the next part of this metaverse ecosystem, potentially via a burn mechanism - though this speculation is unconfirmed.
What we do know is that the metaverse is a major part of the RTFKT roadmap. Let's explore that roadmap in more detail.
What's Next? The RTFKT Roadmap
On June 29, RTFKT released its updated 2022 roadmap. Of course, this is no normal roadmap, as each milestone is represented by two emojis, leaving the community and holder base guessing at what's to come, while never quite knowing (a tactic that's very important for success in this NFT market).
🛣🗺 2022— RTFKT (@RTFKT) June 29, 2022
🌐👨🏻⚖️🔓 : 4th of July #clonesunlocked
The first few milestones appear to be completed already in 2022, including:
- the AR hoodie forging (emoji pair 1)
- RTFKT x Byredo perfume collab (emoji pair 2)
- the Clone/DNA forging event (emoji pair 3)
But the community suspects they have a hunch of what the other emoji pairs may represent:
- MNLTH 2 Questing, expected to start soon (emoji pair 4)
- Reveal of MNLTH 2 (emoji pair 5)
- Burning of Space/Loot Pods (emoji pair 6)
- Project Animus Egg Drop (emoji pair 7)
Beyond these next few milestones, it is hard to project out what these cryptic emojis mean....which is all a part of the fun.
"Clonetober" has been off to a fast start, with its announcements and quests, and more is being teased for the rest of this month. As a part of these quests, RTFKT has released a partnership with luxury luggage company RIMOWA for a "one-of-a-kind collab drop," which was the reward for participating in the side quests running in October. These quests are orchestrated from teaser videos from the RTFKT Twitter feed.
Likely the biggest open question from the community right now though is....wen token? There has been much speculation about a potential RTFKT token ($DRIP has been the naming convention of choice), especially given the success of $APE. However, the RTFKT team has remained silent on this topic
The recent SEC probe into $APE as potential security is likely not helping the cause in the short term, though the outcome of that investigation may set $DRIP up for a potential launch.
While it is unclear exactly how this roadmap will play out over the coming months and years, a few things are clear:
- The avatars, digital wearables, and metaverse will continue to be a primary focus for RTFKT
- RTFKT has the full backing of Nike and access to its marketing machine
- There will be more surprises and current holders of each of the NFTs will continue to be rewarded