When Disney (DIS 0.33%) announced that Polygon (MATIC 1.92%) was going to be part of its Disney Accelerator program, it seemed like a strange mix. Disney is an old-world media company, and Polygon is one of the largest cryptocurrencies, by market cap, today.
The match may seem strange, but upon further review, it reveals a lot about how both companies see the future.
Disney is very interested in advanced technology, Web3, and the metaverse
The goal for Disney is simple: It wants to make connections with, and investments in, young companies that are building the future of technology. The metaverse, augmented reality, and virtual reality have been a focus for some time.
Previous partners in Disney Accelerator include Epic Games, The Void (VR experience business), Littlstar (360 videos), and more.
Disney has a long history of using advanced technology in movies and rides, and the Accelerator program is a great way to stay on the cutting edge and maybe get some upside in an investment round as well. Polygon seems to fit that mold.
Polygon is very interested in being taken seriously
Polygon may be a well-known cryptocurrency, but as a blockchain, it's not getting a lot of traction. It's what's known as a Layer 2 blockchain, operating on top of Ethereum's Layer 1. The idea is to scale Ethereum and lower costs, but the trade-off is that transactions are extremely slow, and developers haven't moved to the blockchain very quickly.
There are about 225,000 active wallets on Polygon compared to 800,000 on Solana (SOL 2.68%), another chain that's built for scale. A vast majority of transactions on Polygon are transfers of stablecoins because it's a cheaper way to move funds around than operating on Ethereum's Layer 1 network. There aren't major metaverse or NFT investments on Polygon, and the market seems to be shifting to Solana.
So, how does a blockchain like Polygon get traction with metaverses and other creative projects? Why not join Disney's Accelerator? The program gives Polygon the ear of Disney executives and potentially creatives in the industry, so it's worth being involved.
Who is helped by Disney's crypto exploration?
It's easy to blow off Disney's Accelerator program and Polygon's involvement as a low-impact project. But I keep going back to Disney's early usage of virtual reality and animation tools, with the ultimate goal of making rides and movies better. To Disney, technology has been a means to an end, not the end itself.
Will we see Disney begin to test how it can use crypto in theme parks or a metaverse that we know it's building? Disney could sell tickets or entry to rides as non-fungible tokens at theme parks on the Polygon network. It could also sell digital assets to people in the metaverse with NFTs as well.
As a Disney investor and a believer in the disruption of the blockchain, I am encouraged that Disney is exploring crypto. We don't know where it will lead, but sometimes exploring something is a valuable exercise.
But I also wouldn't be surprised to see some experiments in crypto before too long. Disney wants to lead in the metaverse and media creativity, and this could be a low-risk way to get there before the competition.