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Is Disney Getting Into Crypto?

Author: Jeffrey Craig Date: November 1, 2022

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In July 2022, Disney made a huge announcement where it invited Polygon, a layer two blockchain to its annual Accelerator program, which is a business development program designed to accelerate the growth of innovative companies from around the world.

This announcement made the headlines because it’s the first time Disney has invited a blockchain to this program, hence potentially signaling that Disney is looking to implement Polygon’s blockchain technology into its future digital asset services and products.

Disney Crypto Polygon Accelerator Program

The main takeaway of this move is that it signifies Disney and Polygon will likely form an official partnership together to launch blockchain-based assets such as NFTs and integrate cryptocurrencies into Disney’s payment systems.

In addition, taken in combination with the other companies selected and Disney’s general business ambitions, there’s also a huge metaverse ambition at play here. Therefore, this Disney Polygon announcement can be seen as a blockchain infrastructure, NFTs, cryptocurrency scalability, and metaverse endeavor that will likely come to fruition in 2023, 2024, and beyond.

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What’s The Disney Accelerator Program About?

Disney’s 2022 Accelerator class and program is focused on building the future of immersive experiences and specializes in technologies such as augmented reality (AR), non-fungible tokens (NFTs), and artificial intelligence (AI) characters. The companies selected for the 2022 Disney Accelerator program are:

  • Flickplay: Flickplay is a Web3 social app that enables users to discover NFTs tied to real-world locations that they can experience and share via AR.
  • Inworld: Inworld allows users to create interactive, AI-driven characters for immersive experiences.
  • Lockerverse: Lockerverse is a Web3 platform that empowers creators and brands to tell culture-defining stories and deliver unique access and experiences.
  • Obsess: Obsess is an experiential e-commerce platform that enables brands to create immersive 3D virtual stores on their websites and on metaverse platforms.
  • Polygon: Polygon is a scalable blockchain network that allows developers and enterprises to build Web3 experiences.
  • Red 6: Red 6 is an AR company that has created a patented headset and interface that works outdoors in dynamic, high-performance environments.

From the companies selected to this program, there’s a theme of Web3, AR, AI, creative storytelling, 3D virtual stores, e-commerce, and blockchain. These technologies fit well into the narrative and brand that Disney embodies – such as creativity, fun experiences at the Disney park, and the world’s most famous movies/entertainment spectacles.

These companies will likely form partnerships with Disney to make the Disney park more fun, more high-tech, and innovative through the use of new technologies like AR, AI, and 3D experiences at scale. Really no other company on earth has the already built real-world locatinos to even place these technologies, but to also integrate them. Therefore, we’ll likely see Disney’s in-person experiences take a whole leap forward in integrating real-world entertainment with virtual overlaid experiences using AR, VR, and metaverse environments.

The first example of a result of thsi partnership is that Disney Music Group and Obsess have already launched a Disney Music Emporium virtual exerpeicen, which is an immersive online store that allows fans to discover, listen to, and purchase Disney music/songs. This is merely the beginning and one small area of Disney’s entertainment arsenal.

Disney Music Emporium

Next up will be movies, creating NFTs from Disney’s most popular/loved characters, and lastly, integrating these technologies with the Disneylands around the world.

Will Polygon And Disney Be A Good Match?

Polygon is currently the 11th largest cryptocurrency/blockchain project by market cap with a valuatino of $7.8 billion dollars. So judging by its popularity, it’s certainly a wise choice for Disney to choose to partner with, especially when considering its technology and placement in the cryptocurrency and blockchain ecosystem.

In particular, Polygon is a platform design to support infrastructure development and help Ethereum scale. Its core component is a modular, flexible framework (Polygon SDK) that allows developers to build and connect layer two infrastructures. Therefore, it’s a layer two that’s designed to help scale, which means more transactions and activity can take place on the network.

So if Disney and Polygon work together on NFTs for example, there will be fast transaction times, low gas fees, and near unlimited scalability. This will allow Disney to grow its NFT ambitions and to use Polygon to finalize transactions that for example take place in 3D environments, metaverse marketplaces, and AR game purchases.

This partnership will also pave the way for Disney to make further inroads into crypto by allowing customers to use cryptocurrencies such as MATIC, ETH, USDT, or USDC for merchandise purchases. This will allow the Disney Store to increase its revenues tremendously.

What Does This Mean For Disney’s Crypto Ambitions?

Disney CEO Bob Chapek has said multiple times that Disney sees the metaverse as a perfect place for the company to pursue their strategic pillars of storytelling excellence, innovation, and audience focus. So on the one hand, Disney is going to view all of its investments (Polygon included) as its pivot to the metaverse.

However, underneath the metaverse are the blockchain, cryptocurrency, and NFT sub-segments. And this is where it gets interested and where it’s more related to Polygon.

Disney working with Polygon will provide the blockchain infrastructure for Disney to build out its NFT and cryptocurrency marketplaces and applications. For example, Disney will likely release NFTs on Polygon and use Polygon as the infrastructure to handle NFT and crypto transactiions for all its in-person stores and virtual stores.

In fact, because Disney is such a large brand and economy, it may even use Polygon’s blockchain technology to manage its loyalty and membership programs, which may encourage Disney to launch their own token called DIS or WALT. Investors and Disney fans can then collect and hold these tokens as they would for sports club fan tokens – and use them to buy annual memberships, receive discounts, and be invited to special experiences.

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