The Sandbox co-founder wants to defend metaverses against Big Tech

The Sandbox chief operating officer Sebastien Borget said his primary consideration right now is how to defend the metaverse against forays by Big Tech firms like Meta.

The metaverse is about pulling down the old guard of the internet through decentralized technologies like blockchain and cryptocurrencies. Not just competition, according to the CEO.

“Our goal is to create an open metaverse that can compete with what we term Web 2.0 metaverses,” Borget explained.

The Sandbox has quickly become one of the most talked-about start-ups in the industry.

Last month, the company closed a new round of US$93 million in funding spearheaded by Japanese giant SoftBank. Marking the SoftBank Vision Fund 2’s first investment in crypto assets.

The South China Morning Post also has a partnership with The Sandbox.

In 2018, Pixowl, the platform’s owner, was acquired by Animoca Brands, a Hong Kong-based gaming unicorn. Its conversion to a blockchain-based platform has elevated it to the forefront of the Web 3.0 movement. Which advocates for a future internet built on decentralized, public blockchains.

The Web 3.0, coined by Gavin Wood, co-founder of the Ethereum blockchain, aims to challenge Big Tech corporations by moving away from the Web 2.0 period, which gave rise to web platforms that collect and monetise user data kept on central servers. The trend began in Silicon Valley, but it has recently gained traction around the world.

The Sandbox

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The Sandbox is seeing a groundswell of support from crypto enthusiasts.

The price of sand has increased by more than 9,000% in the last year.The Sandbox lets users buy properties and items in its metaverse using cryptocurrency, maintained similarly by a blockchain and represented by NFTs. Unlike bitcoin tokens and other blockchain-based assets, NFTs are unique and cryptographically safe, allowing users to establish ownership.

According to Borget, this allows users of The Sandbox to actually own properties in a virtual environment.

The Sandbox allows users to sell off virtual parcels of land to own their own piece of the metaverse, and the practice has sparked widespread interest.

One virtual parcel in The Sandbox was sold for a record-breaking US$4.3 million last month. According to Borget, land transactions on the platform have totaled US$211 million since 2019. The Sandbox has 16,600 landowners and approximately 1 million registered accounts.

Digital land sales have attracted some high-profile investors

The sale of digital land has attracted a number of high-profile investors. According to a statement released by Adrian Cheng Chi-office kong’s this week, he directly invested in The Sandbox.

The hype around the metaverse and NFTs is also boosting sales of other virtual goods. A virtual mega yacht was sold for US$650,000 on The Sandbox in one of the more notable sales. Making it the most expensive video game item ever sold outside of virtual property parcels.

Borget describes these sales as “a symbol of empowered users in a Web 3.0 environment where users own and govern what happens.”

“It should evolve to what the users want,” Borget added, “which means we’ll be able to offer concerts, events, galleries, and museums in addition to amazing experiences.”
Borget expects to do even more in the following year, thanks to new investment from investors like SoftBank, than he did in 2021.

“Now we’re starting to put that money to work,” he remarked. “In terms of strategy, we’re looking to acquire new gaming firms in order to expand our workforce from 130 to 200 or more individuals by next year.”

Image credits: Shutterstock, CC images, Midjourney, Unsplash.

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