HSBC, one of the largest European banks, with total assets of $2.4 trillion, announced its intention to buy a virtual plot of LAND within The Sandbox for an undisclosed amount. The new partners will develop opportunities for users to engage with sports, esports and gaming enthusiasts, according to the statement by The Sandbox.
The banking giant will reportedly focus on financial literacy offerings and "work with our sports partners, brand ambassadors and Animoca Brands to co-create experiences that are educational, inclusive and accessible,” according to Suresh Balaji, HSBC's chief marketing officer for the Asia-Pacific region.
This partnership comes at a time when many financial institutions are closing physical branch locations due to the shift to digital banking, which was accelerated by the pandemic. Cointelegraph spoke to the recently appointed U.S. CEO of The Sandbox, Mathieu Nouzareth, about his vision for banking in the metaverse.
"Financial literacy is a major obstacle to building healthier, more equitable financial futures. The gaming component of The Sandbox is ideally suited for engaging customers and curious onlookers about important financial concepts in an interesting and novel way."
He added that he hopes to connect with a "generation who is accustomed to engaging with all kinds of brands and experiences on digital platforms." And that financial institutions shouldn't get left behind other interactive brands and service providers looking to innovate in the metaverse.
Animoca Brands, the parent company of The Sandbox, tweeted that HSBC is joining over 200 existing partnerships operating in the metaverse. Other major brands working with The Sandbox include the Warner Music Group, Adidas and Ubisoft.
HSBC, however, is not the first bank to enter the metaverse. Last month, J.P. Morgan officially became the first major bank in Decentraland, having opened a virtual lounge in its metaverse. The global metaverse market is estimated to reach $1 trillion by 2030.
Recently, Cointelegraph Brasil spoke with The Sandbox founder Sebastien Borget, who emphasized the company's call for decentralization, interoperability and creator-generated content. "It’s important to us that the content you own or create in The Sandbox can be transferred to other open metaverses, and vice versa,” he said.