The toymaker will partner up with Web3 company OnChain Studios to develop an NFT platform called Cryptoys for the Flow blockchain.
NFTs are blockchain-based tokens that show ownership over digital or physical assets.
“We see incredible opportunity in the metaverse for our cherished brands and iconic IP,” Mattel President and COO Richard Dickson said in a statement.
Cryptoys—in their first iteration, at least—are described as “interactive” animal NFTs that can be accessorized with additional NFTs of hats, shoes, and glasses. Like Barbie or American Girl dolls, Cryptoys will be a customizable collectible—but on the blockchain. There will also be an “expansive and playable” metaverse, according to a press release describing the multi-year partnership.
Cryptoys will launch with original character drops this summer, and Mattel will release its NFTs soon after.
“At Cryptoys, we’re building an NFT-native digital toy company from the ground up,” the company’s website reads.
Cryptoys has Andreessen Horowitz, CoinFund, Dapper Labs, WndrCo, and others as investors.
OnChain Studios is the startup behind Cryptoys, which had teased today’s announcement on Twitter. It was founded in 2018 by Will Weinraub after he saw his daughter’s interest in blind bag and surprise unboxing trends in the physical toy industry.
This isn’t Mattel’s first foray into the world of NFTs. Back in January, the brand auctioned three exclusive NFTs for a Barbie collaboration with the luxury fashion brand Balmain.
In announcing the partnership with Cryptoys, Dickson claims Mattel is “the first toy company to launch NFTs.” After Mattel launched its first Hot Wheels NFTs in June 2021, pop culture toy maker Funko launched Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles NFTs on the Wax blockchain that August, and Hasbro launched Power Rangers NFTs on Wax last October. (Hasbro also began exploring Magic: The Gathering NFTs a year ago.)
The Cryptoys will join the likes of NBA Top Shot, Ballerz, and CoComelon on Dapper’s Flow blockchain. Flow was developed after Dapper’s CryptoKitties NFTs clogged the Ethereum mainnet back in 2017.
Based on its wholesome marketing and Mattel partnership, it’s safe to assume that Cryptoys will be for kids, unlike Gala Games’ sassy, AI-powered Fuzzles.
That said, it remains to be seen whether children will actually be interested in NFTs—or whether parents will be willing to buy them.
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