‘We wanted to create a project that was a love letter from Star Wars fans to Star Wars fans’ – Will Weinraub
By Nancy Dahlberg
Star Wars fans, listen up: You will soon have a new way to collect your favorite iconic characters and be transported to a galaxy far, far away.
As part of a new partnership with Disney, later this month Cryptoys, the digital toy platform created by Miami startup OnChain Studios, will begin releasing Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia and Darth Vader as collectible digital action figures for fans of all ages. It’s a key development in OnChain’s mission to reimagine the future of play.
Want to own Jedi Knight Luke from Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, Princess Leia from A New Hope or Darth Vader from Revenge of the Sith, for instance? May the Force be with you as you unbox your character. Each character will be available in five chibi-inspired designs across the Common, Rare, Legendary, Grail and Ultra Grail rarity levels, giving fans the chance to pull from a range of skins across the history of Star Wars.
In all, 15 digital action figures will be available to collect, OnChain is announcing today, aka “Star Wars Day”. Priced at $39.99 each, fans can buy them with a credit or debit card when the drop opens on May 24.
“This is a big one,” says Will Weinraub, co-founder and CEO of OnChain Studios, in an interview with Refresh Miami. “Our team is such huge Star Wars fans – it’s my favorite franchise of all time. And we wanted to create a project that was a love letter from Star Wars fans to Star Wars fans. We went all out with the art, the animation, the aesthetics, the whole unboxing experience. We think this is some of our best work to date.”
He says the unboxing experience will be unique in the digital toy space. The company describes it this way: As fans unbox their Star Wars inspired Holocrons, they are transported into an immersive metaverse experience filled with surprises. Then they shift into lightspeed mode to unveil the path to the light side or the dark side of the Force, where fans will learn which bister-packed digital toys they are adding to their collections. As they unwrap their blister packs, their characters will come to life, becoming 3D toys with big personalities.
“This franchise is so near and dear to our hearts that we wanted to make sure we did it justice and took it to the next level, and I think we did that,” says Weinraub. “I’m so grateful to be on this ride and excited to delight customers and fans of all ages.”
Will there be more Star Wars characters dropped? What about Han Solo, Chewbacca, R2-D2 or Yoda? Or will it be Rey or Grogu,, “the baby Yoda”? We’ll have to wait and see.
This is the third release for the Miami-based startup. Last June, Cryptoys announced a partnership with Mattel and has since dropped Masters of the Universe NFTs in several waves on the Flow blockchain. More recently, Cryptoys released their own line of digital toys to play in the Cryptoyverse: the Zoo-F-O Escape, with Juno the panda, Alphie the corgi, and Comet, the cat.
The idea for Cryptoys was inspired by Weinraub’s daughter and he began working on digital toys as a side project to show her what it was like to build software and to expose her to entrepreneurship. With three kids, he had a front-row seat to the toy industry, and got immersed in the possibilities that digital collectible toys could bring. The Weinraub kids are happy to help with the market testing and deliver user feedback, too.
Weinraub co-founded the company with CTO Emilio Cueto, CXO Alfonso Martinez, CCO Freddy Oropeza and COO Jhonathan Torres; Martinez and Cueto were also co-founders in Weinraub’s first startup. Together, Weinraub says, “our goal is to build the world’s premier digital toy company and to spread joy and happiness and connection throughout our customers’ lives.”
OnChain Studios is now a team of 61, up from about 40 at the time of their $23 million Series A fund raise led by a16z last June. In total, OnChain has raised more than $30 million, and with a number of projects in the works, “we are scaling actively in game development and interactive experiences,” Weinraub says.
What’s ahead? The team is working on a new mobile application and a number of fun interactive experiences so you can play with your toys in different ways, including an AR experience that will be embedded inside the mobile app. OnChain is also working on some big initiatives around AI, Weinraub says. Stay tuned. There’s more coming to the Cryptoyverse soon.
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Got news? Email Nancy Dahlberg at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @ndahlberg.
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