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“We Made a Huge Mistake”: Nike’s RTFKT Responds to Backlash

Nike’s RTFKT has taken to Twitter spaces to address the backlash against the MNLTH Cryptokicks drop, but is it too little too late?

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Nike‘s RTFKT has held a Twitter Spaces in response to the backlash following their controversial Cryptokicks drop earlier this week.

Holders of the RTFKT MNLTH 2 NFTs were given access to purchase pairs of the limited edition sneaker for 0.38 ETH – a discount compared to non-NFT holders who can purchase unsold pairs for 0.5 ETH. The sneakers are limited to 19,000 pairs from 12 to 16 December. Non-NFT holders needed to register for a draw from 7 to 9 December to be eligible to buy the leftover shoes.

Controversy came when RTFKT announced the sneaker would only ship to the US, which sank the value of the MNLTH NFT floor price over 75%.

Read more: Nike’s RTFKT Gets Rekt for US-Only NFT Discounted Sneaker Reveal

RTFKT reacted to the backlash relatively quickly, holding an open Twitter Spaces with its co-founders on Thursday to discuss updates about the Cryptokicks iRL drop, saying it would address the community’s concerns.

However, even Benoit Pagotto, co-founder of RTFKT and senior director of brand and partnerships at Nike, did not attend the session. “I wont be in the twitter space as it’ll be at 4am for me, being in Japan for personal time and important meetings. I’m very aware that we lost some trust and that we made a big mistake for MNLTH holders and for the legacy of the MNLTH itself,” he explained.

During the session, co-founder Steven Vasilev AKA Zaptio took accountability for the scandal. “I think we made a huge mistake,” he said. “And we take full ownership of that.”

The team also pledged to focus their efforts into turning MNLTH X (a rebrand of MNLTH 3) into an even better experience. “We’re still 100% putting our full focus into lore,” said co-founder Chris Le.

With regards to only shipping to the US, the RTFKT team said they were trying to ship the shoes internationally and apologized for not announcing the US-only restriction earlier.

The Twitter Spaces was relatively well-received, with some commending the brand for taking the feedback onboard and addressing the criticism. “I think this setback was needed for them to take a step back and realize they were doing too much at the expense of their other NFTs, thus consequently their holders,” said one Twitter user.

“When you’re innovating as much as RTFKT is, you’re bound to make mistakes. The team has taken accountability for this & promised to rectify these mistakes. I have full support for RTFKT & hope they will use this as an opportunity to improve,” said another.

However, some were less impressed. “No actual solutions were offered and the founders chose shameless profiteering over trying to make things right (or even moderately trying to improve things). This could have included future lace utility or a less insulting discount coupon. #BoycottRTFKT #Rug,” wrote one begruntled Twitter user.

“They did not address anything. They said they made a “mistake”. It wasn’t a mistake, they knew very well what they were doing,” said another.

One ex-fan went as far as to say the Twitter spaces made things worse. “I lost a ton of respect for @Zaptio today… literally laughing at people who have lost thousands of $$ because of a decision they made on mnlth2. Listen to 46:29 of the spaces@RTFKT has today.”

At the time of writing, the RTFKT-MNLTH floor price is down 22.1% following last night’s Twitter Spaces.

Image credit: CoinGecko

Whilst it’s certainly commendable for a brand to attempt taking responsibility for a blunder, it’s a steep hill to recover on.

If 2022 has taught us anything about the crypto industry, it’s that trust is crucial. Building trust is much easier than re-building trust, no matter how big the brand is. RTFKT will likely recover from this so-called misstep but the brand unnecessarily fuelled the FUD for the rest of the space.