Top Toys Brands Betting on Web3 and Digital Collectibles

Top Toys Brands Betting on Web3 and Digital Collectibles
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From Barbie to Hot Wheels, and from Lego to Toys R Us, these toy companies make a move into the metaverse

Can you imagine owning your childhood toys as NFTs? Now you can. More and more toy companies continue to join Web3 initiatives despite the NFT hype being long gone. But what’s in it for them, what projects are there, and how can you collect them? See some of the world’s most famous toy brands betting on blockchain in the article below.


Toys brands experimenting with Web3

The Web3 industry has introduced blockchain technology to the world of digital collectibles. This created new ways for people to support their favorite brands and causes. NFTs as collectibles registered on a blockchain ensure ownership and asset value.

Toys may be people’s first-ever conscient experience with the act of collecting. Whether you piled up cards, dolls, racing cars, or action figures, these experiences accompanied people growing up with real-world collectibles. In 2020, action figures generated over $1.66 billion in sales in the US. Now these toy brands are taking their businesses to Web3.

1. Hot Wheels

Mattel, a renowned toy company, broke new ground in late 2021 when it partnered with WAX blockchain to introduce its iconic Hot Wheels Garage brand into NFTs. The project aimed at minting 40 unique Hot Wheels models as NFTs, initially marketed at a base price of $15. However, in 2022, the brand shifted gears and chose Flow, the platform behind the wildly successful NBA Top Shot, as their new blockchain base.

Hot Wheels NFT Garage

While Hot Wheels have always been popular among children, Mattel has smartly targeted the thriving collector’s market with this NFT initiative, considering that vintage Hot Wheels models can fetch thousands of dollars at auctions. Adding a unique ‘phygital’ twist, the project opened the possibility for collectors to own both digital tokens and the physical cars they represent, crafting an innovative link between the tangible and virtual worlds. The latest collection, Hot Wheels NFT Series 5, dropped in April 2023.

2. Barbie 

A globally beloved brand, Barbie, too, has made a stylish entry into the world of Web3 under the aegis of Mattel, this time in collaboration with the esteemed French fashion house, Balmain. In January 2022, Barbie stepped into the digital art sphere all dolled up in Balmain’s chic designs, as the two brands teamed up to unveil a ready-to-wear collection, an accessories line, and a series of Barbie x Balmain NFTs.

Boss Beauties x Barbie NFTs

In May 2023, Barbie re-emerged on the NFT landscape, joining forces with the female-focused NFT collection Boss Beauties to launch a crossover NFT collection on Flow. The ‘Boss Beauties x Barbie’ collection, priced at $25 for a pack of four collectibles, was a tribute to Barbie’s iconic 250-career history, and aimed to lower the entry barrier to Web3 for Barbie fans. It offered varying rarity NFTs, promising undisclosed perks such as physical goods and access to ‘Career Conversations’. Early access purchasers were treated to an exclusive virtual collectible, released coinciding with the premiere of the recently released Barbie movie.

3. Power Rangers

In October 2021, Hasbro made its initial foray into the NFT space with the Power Rangers collection. Launched exclusively through Hasbro Pulse on the WAX blockchain, this limited-edition collection encapsulated the iconic Power Rangers franchise. Unique among NFT offerings, fans could procure these blockchain-based assets, redeemable for a special edition, darker-styled Dino Megazord for $200.

Power Rangers Hasbro NFT Collection

Despite the initial buzz, Hasbro has not yet announced further Web3 undertakings. Currently, the Power Rangers NFT collection can still be found on the Atomic Hub marketplace.

4. Toys R Us

In November 2021, WHP Global, the parent company of Toys R Us, collaborated with authenticated NFT platform Ethernity to release the toy brand’s first NFT collection. This collection spotlighted the brand’s mascot, Geoffrey the Giraffe, in the form of limited-edition digital collectibles, available for purchase on the NFT marketplace OpenSea.

Toys R Us Solana NFT

Fast-forwarding to December 2022, Toys R Us introduced a 10,000-item NFT collection on the Solana blockchain, listed on the Magic Eden marketplace. This generative art project, powered by Anybodies, involved digital collectibles based on Geoffrey the Giraffe™, with each offering an integrated physical and digital experience.

5. Funko Pop

Funko, a well-known manufacturer of pop culture collectibles, introduced its Digital Pop! series as NFTs in July 2021. These digital collectibles on WAX incorporate Funko’s distinctive style and draw inspiration from their popular vinyl figures. The company, which has licensing deals with an array of pop culture entities, including trendy gaming properties, TV shows, films, anime, music, and sports, showcases these properties in their Digital Pop! Series.

Funko Pop Digital Collectibles NFTs

The Funko Digital Pop! NFTs echo the real-world Funko Pops, featuring beloved cartoons and toy-themed collections such as My Little Pony, Scooby Doo, and Transformers. One interesting aspect of these digital collectibles is their link to physical products. Collectors of the Funko Digital Pop! NFTs also have the opportunity to redeem corresponding physical collectibles, creating a bridge between digital and physical collecting experiences.

6. L.O.L. Surprise

Leading the pack of innovative toy brands leveraging the power of Web3, MGA Entertainment, the billion-dollar company behind L.O.L. Surprise! dolls, has certainly caught the industry’s attention. In December 2021, they pulled off the “largest retail NFT launch in history”, setting a new precedent in the marriage of physical toys and digital assets.

LOL Surprise NFT cards

As a trailblazer in the toy industry, MGA Entertainment launched an NFT collection that pairs with in-store purchases of its L.O.L. Surprise! brand trading cards. Boasting 400 different trading cards featuring new and existing L.O.L. Surprise! characters, accessories, and surprises, the collection provides fans with a tangible entry into the game, and with a digital counterpart just a scan away.

7. Lego

Lego announced its intent to delve into web3 experiences in April 2022, teaming up with Epic Games for the development of a metaverse experience. The notable inclusion of blockchain games in Epic Games’ repertoire in 2023 set a precedent for potential widespread adoption in the web3 gaming scene.

Initially, Lego indicated that NFTs wouldn’t feature in this product, focusing on ensuring a child-friendly environment. However, in an interview, James Gregson, Lego’s Creative Director, did not entirely rule out NFTs, particularly for adult collectors, while emphasizing inclusivity over exclusivity in access to metaverse experiences. Striking a balance between its physical toys’ appeal and the new digital metaverse is a critical goal for Lego, aiming to bridge, rather than entirely shift, from the physical to the digital realm.

8. Monopoly

Another toy brand to venture into NFTs is Monopoly. The classic board game partnered with World of Women to launch the Monopoly WoW Galaxy edition in October 2023.

World of Women Monopoly WoW Galaxy Edition

Available for the general public, the 600 limited-edition board games cost $249 and granted all WoW holders with a Patio profile free shipping. Besides being a significant step for Web3 to partner with the household name Monopoly, it took other collections into its narrative – including Bored Apes, Cool Cats, CloneX, Vee Friends, and others.

What is in NFTs that’s attracting toy brands?

NFTs are enticing toy brands due to their potential for new revenue, collectibility, and engagement. As digital assets, they offer an additional income source and the collectibility aspect aligns with traditional toy-collecting habits. The uniqueness and interactivity of NFTs allow for deepened customer engagement, building brand loyalty.

Furthermore, their blockchain-based nature ensures authenticity, countering counterfeiting issues in the toy industry. Lastly, they enable a “phygital” experience, merging the physical and digital worlds, providing an immersive brand experience that resonates with today’s digital-native consumers.

What are toy NFTs worth in comparison to real-world collectibles?

The value of digital collectibles versus real-world ones is difficult to predict. Like anything, NFTs values can vary widely based on factors such as rarity, demand, and the specific community of collectors involved.

In some cases, toy NFTs have been known to fetch prices significantly higher than their physical counterparts due to their unique digital properties, such as immutable proof of ownership, verifiable authenticity, and easy transferability. Take a look at the example below comparing a real-world Hot Wheels car for auction on eBay and a Hot Wheels NFT on Atomic Hub:

Collectible toys vs NFT toys

Traditional toy collectibles still maintain substantial value due to their tangible nature and longstanding history in the collector’s market. But depending on the state of the NFT market, the value of a digital collectible may be superior to the physical collectible. Ultimately, the worth of each depends on the perceived value by the market. Make sure to do your own research before jumping on it.

Toy brands are stepping into the future, leveraging the unique benefits of NFTs to create fresh revenue streams, enhance customer engagement, and craft immersive ‘phygital’ experiences. For the latest updates and to see how these collections are performing, be sure to check out the top NFT Collections ranking on DappRadar.

NFT Ranking

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