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Disney and the Mickey Mouse blockchain

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According to a patent published on April 27, 2017 e approved by the Patent Office of the United States on May 22, 2018, Disney has long been working on a blockchain-based content delivery system.

The patent was signed by Artin Nazarian, executive director for Walt Disney Studios’ Digital Distribution and Integration Strategy, also responsible for, among others, the acquisition of 21st Century Fox.

The patent, very detailed in all its parts (but to be understood more as a study than as a real implementation proposal), describes the structure of a system, based on several blockchains, which would allow keep track, in an immutable way, of all the transactions related to the films products. The patent does not mention Disney products such as TV series and other special content, but only films released in theaters and then (or simultaneously) on-demand as home video.

How Disney’s blockchain works
At the heart of the system would be what it was called Content Distribution Server, maintained centrally (or decentralized with the help of computers around the world), which creates a blockchain for each film produced. All films are accessible exclusively from the Distribution Server and stored cryptographically in a distributed database, also in a centralized or decentralized way (distributing the film content over several blocks). Hence, each blockchain holds the record of all transactions associated with that film, which can be of four types: there are the Purchase receipts, the Installations (i.e. the content download or configuration, in the case of a movie in the cinema), lo Screening (the authenticity check) and the Reproduction of the content.

The transactions are grouped into Projections, that is time windows in which it is possible to use the content: in this way it is possible to limit the period of use, as happens today for rental films. In the patent, a Projection is a block of the blockchain, within which there may also be transactions of previous blocks that satisfy the requirements of the block in progress. Verification of authenticity occurs at the time of Screening, and takes place by checking the public key of the device on which playback is about to take place, verifying that it is actually present in a purchase transaction. In this way, in a nutshell, the vision would be bound only to the devices actually associated with the account or to those indicated in the purchase transaction.

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Da blockchain a Dragonchain
The structure of the system manifests a clear will on Disney’s part to find anti-piracy solutions for its contents, but the patent in question only considers films destined for theaters. From 2018 (year of patent approval) to today, Disney has successfully debuted the Disney Plus streaming service, which has exceeded 100 million subscribers, and created a VIP Pass to allow people to purchase theatrical (or theatrical) films directly on the platform, starting last December with Mulan.

The company began exploring the world of blockchain in 2014, with the development of the Disney Private Blockchain Platform, now known as Dragonchain: in a public sale in 2017, the platform’s token, which is called Drgn, was unveiled to the public after raising $ 13 million. It is not clear whether Dragonchain and the patent are related activities, although they have a common goal, namely the formation of a permanent registry to fight piracy.


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