[News] Creators of Disney’s blockchain build commercial platform on Dragonchain with ICO
-Dragonchain is a blockchain protocol originally built by
-It’s designed to be more private than other popular
blockchains like the bitcoin and ethereum protocols.
-Now some of the developers behind the technology want to
build a commercial business to make it easy for less
technologically savvy businesses to get involved.
From animatronics to digital animation, the Walt Disney Company
has long been a pioneer in emerging technology. And
blockchain technology is no exception.
In 2014, Disney’s tech-focused Seattle office started building
what’s now known as Dragonchain, a blockchain protocol designed
to allow for more data privacy than is possible on other
enterprise-oriented blockchains like Ethereum. The idea was
to develop a secure asset management system to be used
However, Disney dropped the project in 2016 and decided to make
it open source. Soon after, a group of former Disney
employees founded the Dragonchain Foundation, a non-profit which
manages upkeep of the protocol.
Now, they’re looking to build a commercial business — called
Dragonchain Inc. — on top of the platform to help other
companies quickly and easily start using blockchain.
But first they need to raise money to do so.
Gap in the market
It’s commonly believed in blockchain circles that the technology
could some day make up an entirely new infrastructural layer of
the internet, replacing traditional contracts and payment systems
used in industries like law and real estate, because the
design of the technology makes it difficult to commit fraud.
This promise has drawn in research and development
funds from industry powerhouses including IBM and
Cisco, which have joined various unifying organizations such as
Hyperledger and the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance to better
understand how this new technology can be leveraged
But many large corporations, such as Disney, have been
hesitant to put their own data on public blockchains because
the design would leave much of their proprietary and
sensitive data open to prying eyes. The hope for Dragonchain is
that other companies feel the same way.
Joe Roets, now CEO of Dragonchain Inc., was one of the engineers
behind the original project at Disney.
“Disney was very forward thinking
and wanted to know how people use different tech,” Roets said.
“We started building things. It took two years to build
out the platform, give or take.”
Roets described Dragonchain Inc’s platform as a “turn key”
product, which makes it easier for companies to build what they
want on top of the Dragonchain blockchain protocol, without
investing in expensive and hard-to-find technological
Roets said that while it is possible to build security and
encryption on top of a public blockchain, it’s a costly and
time-consuming project. With Dragonchain, the encryption and
obfuscation is built in.
“We realized some of the real world problems are
that companies have access to traditional engineers, but
they don’t necessarily have a crypto background,” Roets said .
“If you go even further into blockchain, you need an economist
or a game theory expert.”
More private than ethereum
Like the technology behind the cryptocurrencies bitcoin and
ethereum, Dragonchain is a digital ledger that uses complex
algorithms to document transactions in a way that
cannot be easily modified. Every blockchain contains a complete
history of everything that has happened on it, which makes it
harder for fraud to occur in financial transactions. Unlike the
public bitcoin and ethereum protocols, however, Dragonchain is a
hybrid. This means some information is private, and some is
“The main difference would be
that with ethereum or any public blockchains, your data is out
there,” Roets said. “You can do certain things to obfuscate your
data. You could encrypt it. But it won’t matter in 10 years or 20
While Disney originally built the
project as a private blockchain, this method doesn’t have the
same authenticity benefits as a public or hybrid
protocol. Having some of the data public
is vital to making the technology effective in protecting
fraud. That’s because the ability to spread data across
a decentralized network is a key component of authenticating
the validity of transactions. The blockchain usually requires
consensus from multiple companies and computers in order to make
a change to the blockchain’s history. Theoretically, this
makes it difficult for solo actors to delete receipts
for their own benefit.
Initial coin offering
Whether or not Dragonchain Inc. is able to move forward with its
commercial ambitions depends a lot on how things go over the next
From October 2 to November 2, Dragonchain Inc. will hold
an initial coin offering (ICO), also known as a token sale,
to raise money for the company. Around 238 million
tokens, which the team calls “dragons,” will be available
for sale to the public.
“Disney has no involvement in Dragonchain’s initial
coin offering,” a Disney spokesperson said.
ICOs are an increasing common fundraising technique in the
blockchain world. Companies like Dragonchain Inc. offer up a
select number of tokens that can be purchased with
cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and ethereum. The tokens can be
exchanged for goods and services within the blockchain platform.
On its website, Dragonchain describes dragons as “tokenized
micro-license for interaction with Dragonchain commercial
While tokens are not currencies, they can be traded on token
exchanges for higher or lower cash value than they were purchased
for. Not every investor necessarily wants to use services within
Dragonchain. Some may see it as an investment that could generate
gains in the longterm.
Those that do want to use the service will have access to three
different commercial products. The first is a developer-friendly
platform for building new projects on top of Dragonchain.
There’s also a marketplace that has a library
of pre-built smart contracts and features to make the
building process faster. The company will also fund an incubator
for teams that want to develop projects on top of the
Several companies are already working on Dragonchain to develop
new tools and businesses.
Look Lateral is an Italian fine art site which is using
Dragonchain to create proof of authenticity for the art that it
sells on its platform. Some pieces of art on the site cost over
$100,000, so the blockchain will function as a way of paying for
art, as well as a record of ownership. In the art world, this is
referred to as “provenance.”
Another company called LifeID is working to build a secure
identity platform on the blockchain. This would allow users
to verify that they are who they say they are in digital and
physical spaces, without relying on state-issued IDs, or
corporately-owned social media, like Facebook profiles.
Dragonchain Inc’s ICO begins October 2.
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