- In an interview with the New York Times, ex-Disney Chairman Bob Iger talked NFTs and the metaverse.
- He said NFTs are going to explode, as people collect them like baseball trading cards.
- He also hinted at Disney’s push into the virtual world dubbed the metaverse.
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Bob Iger, the former chief executive officer and chairman of Disney, said digital collectibles known as NFTs are going to explode, and hinted at the media conglomerate wading into the so-called metaverse.
Iger, who has stepped down from his leadership roles, told The New York Times in an episode of its “Sway” podcast that he views NFTs — digital pieces of art tied to blockchain technology — like the baseball cards he collected as a kid, just made for a more digital world.
“They can be digital, and they have meaning to people,” he said in the January 27 episode. “And as long as that meaning can be essentially substantiated in a blockchain, I think you’re going to see an explosion of things being created, traded, collected in NFTs.”
For Disney, which owns iconic franchises like Star Wars, Pixar, and the Marvel universe, the NFT possibilities are “extraordinary,” he said. Already, Disney has begun to push into the space in a partnership with digital collectibles company Veve to sell Marvel NFTs.
But a major problem for the market for non-fungible tokens, which hit a whopping $41 billion in sales last year, is piracy, he said. On the massive NFT trading platform known as OpenSea, he was “amazed” at all the poached Disney-themed collectibles on there.
Artists have complained about their work being stolen and sold as NFTs on online marketplaces like OpenSea. One said her work had been stolen thousands of times. In response, OpenSea said it takes theft seriously and is building out its security tools.
Iger also predicted there won’t be just one metaverse — a virtual world where people can interact as digital avatars of themselves — but many, and that people’s avatars will “go all over the place.”
“It’s likely to be developed into something real as an experience,” he said.
He hinted at Disney getting into the space, but said the media conglomerate will have to consider how to moderate and monitor user behavior, which will be a “huge challenge.” One person recently reported she was sexually and verbally harassed in Meta’s virtual world.
“There’s been enough said and criticized about toxic behavior in internet 2.0 — Twitter, Facebook, you name it,” he said. “Imagine what can happen when you have a much more compelling and immersive and— I’ll call it collective of people or avatars of people in that environment, and what kind of toxic behavior could happen.”
He added, “I think something Disney is going to have to consider as it talks about creating a metaverse for themselves is moderating and monitoring behavior.”