Animoca Brands’ The Sandbox welcomes HSBC into its blockchain metaverse

Animoca Brands The Sandbox HSBC blockchain metaverse apecoin
HSBC is one of the world’s largest banks with around U$3 trillion in assets.

Blockchain gaming pioneer Animoca Brands has welcomed global financial services giant HSBC into its subsidiary The Sandbox’s decentralised virtual world.

HSBC is currently one of the world’s largest banks with assets topping US$3 trillion (A$4.1 trillion) whilst operating in 64 countries.

Animoca Brands said its subsidiary, The Sandbox, had struck a ground-breaking partnership with HSBC that will see the bank acquiring a plot virtual real estate acronymed ‘LAND’ in The Sandbox metaverse.

Importantly, the deal could set a precedent for top-tier financial services companies embracing the concept of Web3.0 in their operations online and how such institutions relate to their clients and wide audiences.

The development represents a timely confidence builder for crypto enthusiasts who have seen pushback from regulators in recent years concerning the proliferation of volatile crypto-related services for consumers.

The participation of a renowned global bank could indicate that the dawn of blockchain-powered non-fungible tokens (NFTs) being recognised by institutional market participants.

“The metaverse is how people will experience Web3, the next generation of the internet – using immersive technologies like augmented reality, virtual reality and extended reality,” HSBC Asia-Pacific chief marketing officer Suresh Balaji said.

“At HSBC, we see great potential to create new experiences through emerging platforms, opening up a world of opportunity for our current and future customers and for the communities we serve,” he added.

Blending finance with gaming

According to Animoca Brands, The Sandbox is a metaverse that delivers a “continuous shared digital space where worlds and brands collide”. Moreover, the metaverse utilises tradable NFTs to allow participants to create, play and monetise their creations. In other words, gamers are not the only participants.

Importantly for Animoca Brands, HSBC joins over 200 existing brands that have already taken residence in the metaverse.

The likes of Gucci, Warner Music Group, Ubisoft, Snoop Dogg, Adidas and Atari have all struck partnerships with Animoca Brands and have followed The Sandbox’s vision of empowering players to create their own experiences using both original and well-known characters.

“Through our partnership with The Sandbox, we are making our foray into the metaverse, allowing us to create innovative brand experiences for new and existing customers. We’re excited to be working with our sports partners, brand ambassadors, and Animoca Brands to co-create experiences that are educational, inclusive and accessible,” Mr Balaji said.

According to a recent report published by PricewaterhouseCoopers, the global metaverse market is forecast to grow from US$45 billion in 2019 to over US$1.5 trillion in 2030 – a growth rate of approximately 3,200%.

ApeCoin

As far as the advancement of NFTs are concerned, and as a sign of things to come, Animoca Brands announced this week that its proprietary Benji Bananas game will adopt ApeCoin as a “play-to-earn” token.

Issued by the ApeCoin DAO, ApeCoin is the ERC-20 governance and utility token made to empower a decentralised community building at the forefront of Web3.0.

Animoca Brands said ApeCoin will be “adopted” by the Bored Ape ecosystem as the primary token for new products and services.

First developed by Miami-based company Yuga Labs, Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) is an Ethereum-based NFT collection featuring algorithm-derived profile pictures of apes. The project first launched with a live pre-sale in April last year and has already amassed a collection of more than 10,000 NFTs.

Moreover, and possibly an early indication of future popularity, the collection has expanded to include spinoffs such as the Bored Ape Kennel Club (BAKC) and Mutant Ape Yacht Club (MAYC).

One of the distinguishing features behind ApeCoin is that Bored Ape NFT owners are automatically granted access to a private online club and intellectual property rights for the images they own.

Animoca Brands said it carried out the first phase of the transition with the sale of Benji membership passes, allowing players to collect special tokens in the Benji Bananas game.

With the first sale conducted on 17 March 2022, Animoca Brands confirmed that the game will transition to a play-to-earn model on Ethereum, starting with the introduction of “Benji passes” – a feature enabling game players to earn additional rewards when playing Benji Bananas, but remaining exchangeable with ApeCoin.

“We’re pleased to see large, trusted institutions such as HSBC join The Sandbox open metaverse and embrace the culture of Web3, connecting with users through entertainment, gaming and user-generated content,” The Sandbox co-founder and chief operating officer Sebastien Borget said.

“We believe this is the beginning of a broader adoption of Web3 and the metaverse by institutions driving brand experiences and engagement within this new ecosystem,” he added.

Benji Bananas is a free-to-play mobile game available from Apple’s App Store and Google Play with over 50 million downloads to date.

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