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March 8, 2023

Brand Spotlight: How Nike creates the best digital communities

The Nike brand has been shaping the future of sports and sneakers since its inception. From humble beginnings selling shoes at track meets to diving into the Metaverse, Nike has built an empire spanning both the physical and digital worlds.

What is Nike doing with dotSWOOSH? 

The latest addition to Nike’s dynasty is dotSWOOSH, a web3-enabled platform that creates an inclusive digital community for athletes, creators, collectors, and consumers to design and own the future of sport. The platform will offer virtual creations, such as virtual shoes or jerseys, which community members can collect and wear in digital games and immersive experiences. Community members can even unlock access to physical products or events.

The platform is a community in the truest of senses, where members collect and help shape Nike's virtual creations. The first digital collection, created by the community, will be launched this year. Members have also just completed their first community challenge to co-create virtual products with Nike and earn a royalty on the product they help co-create. Nike aims to democratize the web3 experience and expand the definition of sport.

What benefits do Nike dotSWOOSH fans receive? 

The Nike dotSWOOSH program offers members several benefits. Firstly, members can help shape the platform's first digital collection and future collections across sports and culture. Secondly, Nike will launch a marketplace where members can buy and sell virtual creations, emphasizing safety and control over digital products. In addition, members can co-create virtual products and earn royalties. The dotSWOOSH platform will also include a learning center with tutorials on building 3D virtual creations and navigating the new digital world.

The overarching theme of Nike’s dotSWOOSH platform is its community. In providing its members with an online platform to congregate and share ideas, amongst Nike’s other initiatives like the SNKRS app, dotSWOOSH stands as one of the most influential sports fan communities on the web.

Image via Nike

What is Nike’s approach to Web3?

In their dedicated project blog, Nike states, "dotSWOOSH aims to be the safest and most trusted platform for virtual creations celebrating sport and sport culture.” While the creator community is still its main priority, Nike wants to do digital collectibles correctly and demonstrated its keenness by purchasing RTFKT Studios for the dotSWOOSH project.

Given Nike’s history with innovation, the focus on “community first” isn’t far off for the brand. 

They were among the first to hop on trends like the global running movement when “jogging for fitness” took off in 1975, patenting their famous footwear technology and releasing the Jogger’s Manual, an “accidental” form of content marketing. They have historically adopted new communication platforms to meet their audiences wherever they are.

With Nike + iPods sports kit, Nike entered the tech industry in 2006. As technology progressed, the brand introduced a running app for iPhones in 2010, which resulted in a community of six million users, setting it well ahead of its competitors. Investing in their community from the start has yielded millions of followers and unprecedented amounts of user-generated content, from the Nike+ Training App and accompanying community hubs to Nike By You custom footwear programs.

Bowerman and Knight were never selling shoes; they were selling “jogging” and all its benefits. Similarly, Nike didn’t create dotSWOOSH as an NFT platform; they’re selling a community and its collaborative ideas.

The dotSWOOSH Studio is actively providing briefs to the community and rewarding creators for virtual sneaker designs with a $5,000 cash prize and a chance to collaborate with Nike designers on a one-of-one virtual sneaker. 


With innovation and community at its forefront, Nike’s dotSWOOSH aims to create an inclusive community of athletes, creators, collectors, and consumers who can design and own the future of sport. The platform uses blockchain technology to offer a safe, trusted space for members to learn about and collect interactive digital objects, such as virtual shoes or jerseys that they can wear in digital games and immersive experiences.

Key takeaways from an exploration of the dotSWOOSH platform include:

  1. Community – Digital communities can be leveraged by brands to engage with fans and create unique brand experiences.
  2. Content – dotSWOOSH members will have the chance to co-create virtual products with Nike, giving them a sense of ownership.
  3. Digital goods – Members can collect and wear virtual shoes and jerseys in digital games and immersive experiences on the platform.
  4. Accessibility – dotSWOOSH prioritizes local communities Nike supports across its diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives and offers learning sessions to help members navigate the new digital world.

For brands looking to create a unique membership and experiential loyalty program, RareCircles helps turn community engagement into revenue. Get started building a rock-solid fanbase like Nike, whether you are a creator of digital art or a company interested in leveraging digital assets to build a community. Get early access here.