Thursday, October 28, 2021. A day that could remain forever in history as the beginning of the future of the Internet. In any case, this day will forever remain a special date in the history of Facebook, since it was on this day that Mark Zuckerberg announced with great pomp that his company Facebook was changing its name to Meta.
Facebook is now looking towards a future mixing virtual reality and augmented reality to offer much more than what the traditional social network offers today.
This major change of direction was to be marked by a change of name for Mark Zuckerberg. The American company is now fully focused on the metaverse, so it was logical for Zuckerberg to call his company Meta. The bad tongues will say that Zuckerberg also wanted to get away from the name Facebook which is associated with a lot of scandals. That's something that makes sense, but it's not the point of this article.
SAND token increases by +320% following Mark Zuckerberg's announcement
In the wake of this announcement by Mark Zuckerberg, the cryptocurrency SAND saw its price soar, as it increased by +320% in 6 days:
Other cryptocurrency projects closely or remotely related to the metaverse that Mark Zuckerberg fantasizes so much about have experienced more or less identical progress over the period.
If SAND has logically corrected since then to see its price around $2.56, its market cap is now $2.2 billion. The cryptocurrency is now firmly entrenched in the top 100 most capitalized cryptocurrencies as it is in 70th place.
Many investors may therefore have wondered why The Sandbox cryptocurrency has been so successful in such a short period. In this article, I'll tell you more about the startup behind The Sandbox.
The Sandbox is a metaverse platform that just raised $93 million in a new round of funding
The startup behind the cryptocurrency The Sandbox simply has the same name. It is located in Hong Kong and has just raised $93 million from investors in a round led by SoftBank. The story of this startup launched in 2012, as a mobile game, by Arthur Madrid and Sebastien Borget, has all the makings of a success story.
Over time, The Sandbox has evolved into a platform that allows users to create a virtual world. In concrete terms, each 3D content created (whether it is a character or an object) is associated with an NFT which can then be resold in all transparency on a marketplace.
It is interesting to note that SoftBank continues to bet on this new world since the investment in The Sandbox comes after the one previously made in Sorare.
Here is the comment from Aaron Wrong, an investor at SoftBank:
“We believe The Sandbox is building an open metaverse, unlocking new economic opportunities, by allowing people to build and monetize their creations, avatars, buildings, and collectibles.”
Over $144 million in cumulative transactions since 2019 on The Sandbox
The Sandbox's fundraising comes just over a year after its last round of funding, as the company has seen rapid growth in monthly active users and has accumulated $144 million in transaction volume (including $70 million in real estate) since 2019.
To date, there are already several hundred creators around the world as Sebastien Borget, one of the two co-founders, explains:
“Some creators get all their income from The Sandbox. There are even video game studios that have a team dedicated to our platform.”
The Sandbox continues to refuse to give its valuation, but the fact that its cryptocurrency SAND has surpassed $2 billion in market cap will continue to whet investors' appetites.
Unlike Facebook, The Sandbox promotes a vision of an open metaverse
SAND is used to make purchases on The Sandbox platform, but also to participate in its governance by voting on decisions. Each user has his own currency, his own digital assets. What The Sandbox proposes is different from the metaverses of Roblox or Facebook, which own the content and use it as they wish.
The fundraising should allow The Sandbox to diversify beyond gaming to develop virtual worlds around fashion, architecture, and virtual concerts. The Sandbox has just announced partnerships with celebrities, including the rapper Snoop Dogg, who will create a digital replica of his mansion in the metaverse of The Sandbox.
The platform offers to buy digital plots of land, like a store in a mall, to create or showcase content. For Sebastien Borget, “The Sandbox is comparable to an economic player because there are a whole bunch of companies that are present”.
Several big names in the cryptocurrency sector such as Binance, Socios, CoinMarketCap, or the Winklevoss brothers have also become owners. Partnerships have also been formed with The Walking Dead, Smurfs, Atari, and CryptoKitties.
You might wonder what the point is for brands to buy these lands?
Sebastien Borget answers this question perfectly:
“Brands buy lands to access larger audiences. The biggest users are in the US, South Korea, Japan, and China.”
In total, The Sandbox currently claims over 12,000 virtual landowners, including 165 brands.
I confess to not knowing what the future holds regarding the metaverse. I don't know if Mark Zuckerberg's enthusiasm is justified and if the metaverse will become the future of the Internet. What is certain is that the biggest companies in the world believe in it and don't want to miss their chances. From Microsoft to Google to other companies, everyone is announcing that they are working on the metaverse now.
With the digitalization of the world, it seems conceivable that we will reach a point in time in the future where digital life will be even more valuable than physical life. This will not be a change that will happen overnight, but it is something that could be observed in the next 20 to 30 years.
In my opinion, it will be essential that open metaverse solutions like those of The Sandbox can weigh in to not let a player like Facebook impose its closed and proprietary vision as it can do now in the social network world.
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