HSBC has become the latest major banking institution to venture into the metaverse with the acquisition of a virtual plot of land in an online gaming space called Sandbox. The purchase price was not disclosed.
The acquisition is part of the digital push by the banking giant to engage with sports, e-sports, and gaming enthusiasts via its slice of turf in The Sandbox, a virtual space majority-owned by Hong Kong-based Animoca Brands.
HSBC’s foray into the Sandbox metaverse follows that of Thailand’s Siam Commercial Bank, which set up a shop last week. The movement into the metaverse by financial institutions was a trend started by JP Morgan when the banking giant bought a property on the Decentraland blockchain platform.
Metaverse is a digital world where the real and virtual worlds converge into a vision of science fiction. You can also think of the metaverse as a virtual world where millions of people could gather to work, play, and socialize in immersive virtual environments and communicate across shared spaces across different platforms.
In a statement, the chief marketing officer for HSBC Asia-Pacific Suresh Balaji says: “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.
“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.
“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.”
Metaverse took off in October 2021 after Facebook rebranded to Meta to reflect its focus on the metaverse. Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg also said that the tech giant has committed $10 billion to transition from its much-criticized social network and related family of apps into what Zuckerberg describes as an “embodied internet.”
Since then, the tech world is abuzz with talk of the metaverse. A few weeks after the Facebook announcement, a plot of digital land in the metaverse was sold for a record $2.43 million, making it the world’s most expensive virtual real estate.
In January, Snoop Dogg launched his own metaverse called Snoop Verse on The Sandbox, a virtual Metaverse where players can play, build, own, and monetize their virtual experiences. Immediately after building his mansion in the Snoop Verse, it didn’t take long before one of his fans paid $450,000 to become Snoop Dogg’s next-door neighbor. In the metaverse, of course.