Wordle, the 5-letter word game that is sweeping the nation, has an unexpected tie to the footwear industry.
Josh Wardle, the founder of the viral word game, currently works as a software engineer at MSCHF, a production studio that created the controversial Satan Shoes with Lil Nas X.
In an email, MSCHF CEO Gabe Whaley confirmed to FN that Wardle has been working at the art collective and product company since late last year. This is also evident via a December update Wardle’s LinkedIn profile, which shows that the engineer also previously held roles at Pinterest and Reddit.
The New York Times acquired Wordle from the engineer late last month in a deal “in the low seven figures,” The New York Times reported, adding that millions of people play the game every day, which involves guessing the universal five-letter word in six attempts.
Based in Brooklyn, New York, MSCHF is known for creating viral, irreverent products that stir conversation — and often controversy — online. In March, Nike filed a trademark infringement and dilution complaint against MSCHF for releasing Satan Shoes on connection with Lil Nas X. The shoes were essentially the classic Air Max 97s reimagined with black uppers and red detailing. Only 666 pairs of the shoe, which also contained drops of human blood and sold for $1,018, were meant to be released.
In a statement, Nike said it does not have a relationship with Lil Nas X or MSCHF. In April, Nike and MSCHF reached a settlement, which included a voluntary recall of the shoes that sold. This recall also included removing the company’s previously launched “Jesus Shoes,” which were also based on a Nike Air Max 97 and included actual holy water in them from the River Jordan.
At the moment, it is unclear what projects Wardle is working on for MSCHF. Whaley did not confirm any details about his role and FN has reached out Wardle for a comment.