It’s been 40 years since the classic sci-fi adventure movie Tron hit cinema screens around the world. Produced by Donald Kushner and released by Walt Disney Productions, his highly original futuristic concept made history by revolutionizing the use of computer animation in films while introducing audiences to one of the earliest interpretations of digital metaverse.
Reflecting on the film’s success, Donald Kushner sat down with Cointelegraph reporter Sean Moore to discuss the film’s success, his new featured project, Cryptosaurs, and his thoughts on the future of the metaverse.
Cointelegraph: How do current metaverse applications compare to what you might envision during the creation of the original Tron movie?
Donald Kushner: That’s exactly what we envisioned — that the PC would outsmart the mainframe. Games and intellectual property will become engines of wealth in the global community of creators, and we will see a battle between centralized and decentralized control of intellectual property, and between the proprietary economy and the creative economy.
But Kushner has kept himself up to date on navigating the next wave of the digital revolution. “My colleague Mike Boniver and I invested in cryptocurrency in 2018 as a learning experience. This was his idea. Mike is a quantum storyteller who started out as a publicist on Tron and wrote The Art of Tron.”
As Kushner said, Bonnifer believes that movies and streaming content can be financed through cryptography and “pre-collectible NFTs.” So in 2021, Kushner and Bonnifer, along with veteran John Shell, came together to form Gumbotron – the Web3 studio dedicated to storytelling on the Metaverse.
Cryptosaurs’ latest NFT project, co-developed with Forj and Animoca Brands, features digital NFT figures of collectible dinosaurs, starting with the drop of an egg in the fall of 2022. Each egg is a mysterious box containing a line of code. The Gene Randomization System sets out a series of “freeze or hatch” events in early 2023, in which egg carriers will be endowed with a specific type of cryptosaur with different uses in the Metaverse. The production team’s goal is for Cryptosaur holders to eventually display their NFTs in play-to-earn games, fine art, feature films, and virtual reality exhibits, such as Metaverse avatars and in other forms of media.
The idea for Cryptosaurs came from the childhood experiences of co-founder John Scheele, who also worked on Tron as a visual effects artist. Scheele’s father was director of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History for 40 years, and family vacations consisted of dinosaur fossils. Thus, co-founder Mike Boniver noted, “If we can get John to remember the admiration he had as a child in dinosaur fossils, we would have a story.”
Connecting everything to the imagined cyber world through Tron, Kushner says the film’s influential legacy can still be seen in many areas of gaming and entertainment:
“It is no coincidence that Hal Finney [the first recipient of Bitcoin and one of the purported creators of the same digital asset] worked on Tron’s Atari. Yat Siu, founder of Animoca and a big fan of Tron, also worked at Atari when he was 13 years old. There. People like William Gibson, who created the cyberpunk genre in science fiction. He was also influenced by Tron.”