Why Leaders At Fox, Universal, And More Hollywood Companies Are ... - Business Insider

Why Leaders At Fox, Universal, And More Hollywood Companies Are … – Business Insider

  • Amid the FTX scandal and declining NFT sales, Web3 chatter has grown quieter in Hollywood. 
  • But proponents of NFTs and Web3 storytelling are betting on the tech’s entertainment potential. 
  • Execs at Fox and startup StoryCo said they’re trying to attract consumers by using less crypto jargon.

Just a year ago, Matt Damon was hawking the merits of crypto on a Super Bowl ad, and legacy entertainment companies including Warner Bros. and ViacomCBS (now Paramount) were rolling out collectible NFTs to commemorate everything from “The Matrix” to “SpongeBob Squarepants.” 

Even Disney CEO Bob Iger had skin in the game with an investment in NFT maker Genies, one of the business moves he made after stepping down from Disney and before stepping back up in November. Hollywood’s evangelists of Web3 — the decentralized, blockchain-based future of the web that includes crypto and NFTs — were out in full force. 

Now, in the wake of the spectacular implosion of FTX, slumping valuations of bitcoin and other alt currencies, and declining NFT sales, that chatter is several clicks quieter.

Believers in Web3 — who say the underlying blockchain technology remains sound and is a potent force for disruption — may now face more of an uphill battle in convincing both consumers and entertainment industry execs that the tech is worth investing in, as they try to dissociate the stink of crypto criminals from their own endeavors. 

“People are going to need to understand the nuance of what actually happened [to FTX] in order to understand that this isn’t a bad-blockchain thing,” said Justin Alanis, the founder of StoryCo, a blockchain-based storytelling platform. “It’s a bad, scammy crypto thing,” he continued, amid “the lack of regulation and the lack of oversight that happens in a free environment like we have in crypto right now.” 

FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried has been indicted. Alanis said the industry is now going to “keep an eye on what kind of regulation comes into place, and what kind of scrutiny comes into place.” 

Alanis and his brother J.P. — the latter once worked in TV development at Lionsgate — remain focused on building out their company StoryCo, described as a platform “where communities can come together to create, contribute to, and ultimately become co-owners of the next generation of story franchises.” (Executives from major Hollywood talent agencies WME and UTA talent are among their investors.) 

For Melody Hildebrandt, Fox Corp’s chief information security officer and the president of the company’s Blockchain Creative Labs, it’s important to make the space more accessible to laypeople and shift away from Web3 jargon.

“It has been a pretty wild year,” sai