Walt Disney Company (DIS) became the latest organization to jump onto the blockchain bandwagon after it released an open source version of its hybrid public/private blockchain platform Dragonchain yesterday. In March this year, the Calif., -based company had advertised a Seattle-based blockchain intern position to research and develop software mechanisms to protect privacy in distributed ledge applications.
Given blockchain’s utility in the finance industry, moves by Wall Street behemoths, such as JPMorgan Chase (JPM) and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS), into the technology are understandable. Disney has been ahead of the curve as far as integration of technology into its theme parks is concerned. For example, the Disney MagicBand enables a frictionless experience for visitors to the Orlando theme park by connecting you to a vast network of sensors within the park. The company has reportedly invested $1 billion into the technology. (See also: Walt Disney: How Entertainment Became An Empire).
But Disney’s foray into blockchain is surprising, especially when you consider that the company is mostly involved in the entertainment industry. The company’s description of the new platform, which is steeped in vague descriptions, doesn’t help matters. According to Disney, Dragonchain is a “fast-paced emerging technology foundation for businesses with which to integrate and apply toward identified business problems and use cases.”
However, users at the news website for Ycombinator, Silicon Valley’s top incubator for startups, have taken a crack at identifying Disney’s motives for getting into blockchain. One user opines that it could be used as points systems for games within its theme park. Another user said that it could be used to introduce Disney dollars within the park. Presumably, such a system would work by setting up an alternate currency system (similar to tokens) within the park. .
Or, Disney’s decision to get into blockchain might be enterprise-related. In its description of Dragonchain, the entertainment company states that “businesses can develop and track assets more efficiently, deploy the use of cryptographic smart contracts within business workflows to increase efficiency across enterprise systems, and accelerate innovation.” The blockchain system is decentralized and brings down the costs of exchange and transfer of money. Dragonchain is a “currency agnostic blockchain” with multicurrency support. This could help simplify Disney’s operations as it expands abroad. (See also: What The Shanghai Disneyland Means For Disney's Shares).