The former leader of one of the most well-known companies has joined the board of directors of a metaverse company.
What Happened: Former Walt Disney Co DIS CEO Bob Iger is joining the board of directors of Genies Inc, a company he also invested in.
“I was particularly interested in companies that were using technology for disruptive purposes and, where possible, the intersection between technology and creativity,” Iger told The Wall Street Journal.
Genies has partnerships with Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group Corp WMG and has onboarded musicians including Justin Bieber, Rihanna and Cardi B to the platform.
Iger was said to be attracted to Genies because of the ability for users to create and sell their own virtual goods.
“Imagine, you know, letting someone buy a Mickey Mouse avatar and customizing it in a way that not only would we never allow it before, but it was kind of hard to do in the physical world.”
About Genies: Operating with a motto of creating “the fantasy version of you,” Genies offers customizable avatars for its users. In January, the company expanded its mission to “empower humans to create their own digital identity ecosystems.”
Genies offers tools that allow its users to create avatars, digital clothes and operates an NFT marketplace where users can sell their creations.
Genies is one of several companies using the Flow FLOW/USD blockchain owned by Dapper Labs, the company best-known for NBA Top Shot and NFL All Day sports non-fungible tokens.
“Flow blockchain is the foundation that powers the Genies universe at scale, guaranteeing the authenticity, provenance, and scarcity of each wearable NFT,” Flow’s website says.
The addition of Iger to Genies follows the company’s recent launch of “The Genies Warehouse,” which allows the creation of new masks, shoes, backpacks and other digital accessories for Genies characters.
"The Genies Warehouse is the biggest release on Flow since NBA Top Shot and we’re looking forward to a similar success,” Dapper Labs CEO Roham Gharegozlou said at the time.
Investors in Genies include Bond Capital, Dapper Labs and Coinbase Ventures, the investment arm of Coinbase Global Inc COIN.
Several celebrities including Camila Cabello, Paris Hilton and Priyanka Chopra are also investors in Genies.
Why It’s Important: Iger joining Genies could help the company land deals with media companies and existing intellectual property.
Iger was vocal in Disney’s acquisitions of Pixar, Marvel Entertainment and Lucasfilm during his time as the CEO of Disney.
Disney has increased its hiring related to the NFT and metaverse industry. A recent job posting called for a business development manager for the Parks, Experiences and Products business segment with NFTs playing into the job description.
Other job postings for Hulu, Disney Music and ESPN also listed NFTs and metaverse in the descriptions.
The addition of Iger joining Genies comes after he spoke about the huge opportunity Disney could have for NFTs and the metaverse.
“When you think about all the copyright and trademarks, characters Disney has, and the NFT possibility, they’re extraordinary,” Iger said.
Disney partnered with digital collectibles platform Veve to launch NFTs of Star Wars, Marvel and Pixar characters. Outside of that deal, Disney has been relatively quiet in the NFT space.
Rumors over the weekend hinted that Disney could be making a large acquisition in the NFT space. The rumors come on the heels of Yuga Labs acquiring the rights to CryptoPunks and Meebits from Larva Labs.
One rumor pointed to Disney acquiring Dapper Labs, which could create synergies with its ESPN sports property and the sports NFTs.
Rumors will likely continue linking Disney and Dapper Labs given Iger’s connection to both companies through his role at Genies.
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