Walt Disney still hasn’t invested in crypto despite buzz surrounding fledgling industry.
Media and entertainment conglomerate Walt Disney ( (DIS) – Get The Walt Disney Company Report) has long remained impervious to the buzzwords metaverse, NFT and crypto.
When most companies were jumping into this 2021 crypto-crazed galaxy of new tech with closed eyes, the group kept their distance, preferring to watch from afar the wave that seemed to overwhelm businesses of all sizes.
The company is however a natural destination for these technologies which promise an immersive alternative world in which we interact through avatars and with hardware such as virtual reality headsets. Disney has amusement parks, a film studio, television channels (ABC, ESPN…) a streaming platform (Disney+), iconic characters like Mickey Mouse.
And last but not least, Disney is a brand known around the world. So, no need to introduce it to new audiences, which makes it the perfect partner for the crypto sphere that wants to democratize financial and internet services. The crypto industry indeed wants to be permissionless and borderless. The industry wants to address everyone and give everyone the opportunity, wherever they are, whatever their background, to participate in this new world.
Disney Backs Metaverse-Focused Companies
It is at a time when the young industry is going through an unprecedented crisis of confidence that Disney decides to take the plunge. Unlike other companies, the media giant will enter it in an organized fashion, via the business development program dubbed Disney Accelerator launched in 2014.
For the 2022 edition of this program, Disney has chosen six companies that are all involved in technologies providing immersive experiences or the metaverse.
“This year’s Disney Accelerator class 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 company announced in a press release.
Selected companies include Flickplay, which is a Web3 social app that enables users to discover non-fungible tokens (NFTs) tied to real-world locations that they can experience and share via AR.
Web3 is a new iteration of the World Wide Web based on blockchain technology, which would replace current internet web2. It will give users the control of their data.
Disney has also chosen Inworld, a platform which allows users to create interactive, Artificial intelligence-driven characters for immersive experiences; Lockerverse which is a Web3 platform that gives creators and brands tools to tell culture-defining stories; Obsess which helps brands create immersive 3D virtual stores on their websites and on metaverse platforms; Red 6, a firm which makes a headset that can be used to provide AR experiences outdoor.
Disney Boosts MATIC Cryptocurrency
Finally, Disney chose Polygon, a platform that is building a sustainable Web3 infrastructure on the top smart contract platform Ethereum. Most NFTs and decentralized finance applications (financial services without intermediaries) are created on Ethereum.
Polygon has been on the rise for a few months. The platform has partnerships with Coca-Cola ( (KO) – Get Coca-Cola Company (The) Report), which released a pride series NFT collection on the network. Social media Reddit, another partner, recently said it was launching an NFT marketplace on the Polygon platform.
Like most blockchain platforms, Polygon has its native token, MATIC. Disney’s announcement sent MATIC prices skyrocketing. The cryptocurrency is up 28% since this announcement. The investors’ calculation is that Disney’s support will expose Polygon and MATIC to a large number of users, which is likely to accelerate their adoption by the general public.
“The implications for Polygon are significant, given that it was the only blockchain provider chosen,” Walter Teng, digital-asset strategy associate at Fundstrat, wrote in a note. He added that still Disney “hasn’t invested or built an in-house crypto solution, the accelerator marks its foray into the digital-asset space.”
Polygon was co-founded by software developer Sandeep Nailwal whose mentor is billionaire Mark Cuban. Cuban is also an investor in Polygon.
“With our newest class of companies, we look forward to furthering our commitment to innovation and continuing to bring magical experiences to Disney audiences and guests for the next 100 years,” said Bonnie Rosen, General Manager of the Disney Accelerator program.
Each participant company receives a dedicated executive mentor.
Disney’s development program has in the past included Epic Games, the maker of the very famous and popular video game Fortnite.