SoftBank Invests $ 93 Million in The Sandbox’s NFT Gaming Platform

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The sandbox raised $ 93 million in a SoftBank-led funding round to help grow its virtual world based on non-fungible tokens.

This is another sign of the popularity of NFTs at a time when the price of Bitcoin is skyrocketing and NFT games are seen as a stepping stone to the metaverse, another buzzword that signifies the universe of virtual worlds. which are all interconnected, as in novels such as Snow accident and Loan Player One.

The money comes from SoftBank Vision Fund 2, an estimated $ 30 billion fund from one of the world’s largest companies. Other investors in the round included Animoca Brands, True Global Ventures, Liberty City Ventures, Galaxy Interactive, Kingsway Capital, Blue Pool Capital, LG Technology Ventures, Alpaca VC, Graticule Asset Management Asia, Com2uS, executives of GoldenTree Asset Management, Nokota , Sun Hung Kai & Co, Sound Ventures, Red Beard Ventures, SCB 10X, Polygon Studios, Samsung Next, Double Down Partners, StakeFish, SterlingVC and HodlCo.

The sandbox is the first investment in crypto assets by SoftBank Vision Fund 2, although SoftBank has also invested $ 680 million in Sorare, a Paris-based fantasy NFT football game maker with 30 employees. Arthur Madrid, CEO of The Sandbox, said in an interview that the funding will help the company grow beyond gaming into economies such as fashion, architecture, virtual concerts and shows, galleries, art, museums, etc. Madrid and its co-founder Sébastien Borget have said they want to build the metaverse.

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The company will use the money to hire people, develop more creative tools for gamers, add multiplayer, increase the number of IPs and brands that are part of The Sandbox, expand user acquisition and build a better infrastructure.

NFT boom

Above: The Sandbox has sold virtual land for over $ 144 million.

Image Credit: The Sandbox

The NFTs had a good year. If you look at Google Trends, you’ll see that NFTs started to grow in February and skyrocketed after sales of NFTs like digital art and NBA Top Shot took off. Dapper Labs has now seen sales and resales of these NFTs exceed $ 780 million. In March, an NFT digital collage by artist Beeple sold at Christie’s for $ 69.3 million. It sounds so stupid. The popularity of NFTs has also revealed serious drawbacks in many scams where people steal works of art and sell them as their own NFTs.

In May, the NFT market collapsed on Ethereum. Kotaku wrote that the NFT bubble has burst. But then it rose again in August and September, plunged, but steadily increased. It has been as volatile as cryptocurrency trading for Bitcoin, but it has steadily increased. DappRadar, measuring the NFT market beyond Ethereum, reported that NFT sales reached $ 1.2 billion in the first quarter, $ 1.3 billion in the second quarter and $ 10.7 billion in the third quarter as games like Axie Infinity took off.

Fans also believe that NFTs will usher in the Metaverse, the universe of all interconnected virtual worlds, as in novels such as Snow accident and Loan Player One. Because NFTs can authenticate digital property, you can take the assets and avatars you buy in one world and transfer them to another.

Origins

The sandbox

Above: The Sandbox wants to build the metaverse.

Image Credit: The Sandbox

And the investment is a big validation for the strategy of The Sandbox founders Arthur Madrid and Sébastien Borget (Borget will be speaking at our GamesBeat Summit Next online event on November 9 and 10). They started in 2011. I wrote about them in 2013, when they were running their business under the name Pixowl in Paris. Borget showed me games like Doodle Grub. This cute game suffered a setback when Apple representatives said the graphics were too raw. But it took off in 2012, and he launched the business down the road to The Sandbox.

Much like games like Minecraft, The Sandbox was a blocky world where players could combine many elements to create new ones and create their own digital creations. When they heard about NFTs, they started to recreate a new version of The Sandbox. And they sold the company to Animoca in 2018 for $ 4.875 million in cash and stock. Today, the company has more than 200 employees.

“I am very grateful, but we really want to deliver,” said Madrid. “We have worked together for over 14 years and construction companies for over 20 years. It’s exciting for our friendship, our partnership.

Overall, The Sandbox has seen 40 million downloads over time. Animoca Brands (which raised $ 203 million this year) has many blockchain-focused subsidiaries including The Sandbox, Blowfish Studios, Quidd, Gamee, nWay, Pixowl, Bondly, and Lympo. With this funding, The Sandbox is raising funds for its division.

“We have complete autonomy over operations, governance and how we shape the vision,” said Borget.

The sandbox

Above: The Sandbox raised $ 93 million.

Image Credit: The Sandbox

One of the unique things about The Sandbox is that it’s not just a game gallery. Instead, it’s a virtual world with a topographic layout that you can explore using your 3D avatar, at least when everyone is building their properties. There is a fixed amount of land that has been set aside, and about two-thirds has been sold so far.

“We will not extend it,” said Madrid.

As you head towards a country’s border, you can enter adjacent land, the company said. This makes location a gaming experience very similar to real estate: your location and who your neighbors are becomes almost as important as the quality of the entertainment experience.

With that funding in place, Borget said in an interview with GamesBeat that Web 3 and decentralization – as enabled by blockchain technology such as NFTs – is the next clear trend for the future of computing and business. Internet.

There are over 30,000 artists selling items. Players have bought and sold many virtual goods for SAND virtual currency. There are now hundreds of player streaming activity at any given time, and the number of views and engagement per stream is increasing.

The new sandbox

There will be blood in The Walking Dead experience in The Sandbox.

Above: There will be blood in The Walking Dead experience in The Sandbox, which embraces NFTs.

Image Credit: The Sandbox

With the new version of The Sandbox, the company started selling its virtual real estate as an NFT-based digital property, and brands poured in. Brands, celebrities, and game companies such as The Walking Dead, Snoop Dogg, and Atari have all purchased virtual land segments, and The Sandbox has sold over $ 144 million in gross market value for its land. There are 12,000 virtual landowners, including 165 brands, and the game itself has over 500,000 registered wallets.

Operating under its new name, The Sandbox will accelerate the development of its open metaverse, supporting more creators and involving more brands and intellectual property.

Sandbox players will be able to use the game model to earn money to monetize time spent in the Metaverse. Gambling to win creates a circular economy with supply and demand where resources collected by one category of players are sold and bought by another category of players or creators, rewarding participants for their time.

The sandbox

Above: The Sandbox has over 12,000 landowners on its virtual property.

Image Credit: The Sandbox

The Sandbox Creator Economy is growing rapidly, creating new categories of digital jobs such as NFT Creators, Virtual Architects, Game Creators, and more. Sandbox’s vision of turning gamers into creators and promoting a gamer-owned economy extends beyond gaming into fashion, architecture, virtual concerts, virtual shows, art galleries, museums, etc., by developing a whole ecosystem and digital opportunities.

“We believe The Sandbox is building an open metaverse, unlocking new economic opportunities by allowing people to build and monetize their creations, from avatars and buildings to games and collectibles,” said Aaron Wong, investor at SoftBank Investment Advisers , in a press release. “By leveraging blockchain technology and decentralized governance, the company puts power and control in the hands of its users, resulting in a thriving global community. We are excited to partner with Arthur, Sébastien and their team as they continue to transform what it means to have true digital property.

The Sandbox has been enriched with new advisors: Guy Oseary, founder of the management company Maverick, whose clients include Madonna, U2 and Bored Ape Yacht Club; Nicholas Adler, manager and curator of entertainment icon brand Snoop Dogg; Thomas Vu, former product manager of Riot Games and executive producer of League of Legends; and Mathieu Nouzareth, co-founder of FreshPlanet and creator of SongPop.

The Sandbox’s top landowners include Zed Run, Republic Realm, Binance, Bored Ape Yacht Club, CyberKongz, CoinMarketCap, Metakovan, Pranksy, GrowYourBase, MetaKey, South China Morning Post, Zepeto, Socios, The Winklevoss Twins, Bill Lee of Craft Businesses and more.

Wedbush Securities acted as the exclusive placement agent and financial advisor to The Sandbox, and Rubicon Law provided legal advice to The Sandbox.

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