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In an interview at the NFT.NYC conference Monday — a few days after bitcoin dipped below $20,000 — The Sandbox’s US CEO explained his vision for the platform and why the crypto downturn hasn’t dragged on the number of people visiting the metaverse.
“The Sandbox hasn’t really been impacted, and the reason I think is because we’re a game, and games are less impacted by a macroeconomic environment,” Mathieu Nouzareth told Insider. “People come because it’s really a ton of fun, anyone can enjoy it.”
The Sandbox is a blockchain-based metaverse platform and video game, as well as a subsidiary of top Web3 venture capital firm Animoca Brands. The company made headlines last year as it notched over $350 million in virtual land sales — with one plot even selling for $4.3 million.
Nouzareth, a 27-year entrepreneur veteran, acknowledged that the crypto sell-off has been painful for many investors, though he isn’t too concerned because it’s not the first
“I’ve seen five of these [downturns]. But if you keep your head down and focus on building, in two, three years, we will see some massive, amazing companies that will emerge after this,” Nouzareth said.
He noted that the company’s total user base has not decreased during the crypto bear market. Instead, the right type of users still flock to The Sandbox, he added, because they aren’t the ones interested in a get-rich-quick scheme.
A bear market encourages longer-term thinking and community-building, which is good when a company is aiming to build a platform that can outlast cycles in the market, Nouzareth explained.
The Sandbox is here to complement the existing world, rather than suck in users so convincingly that they don’t want to spend time in reality, he added.
On Monday, the company announced a collaboration that involves one of the real world’s most iconic spaces. The Sandbox is partnering with TIME to feature NFTs in a digital “TIME Square” with the goal of drawing more users to the digital art and commerce scene.
The Sandbox aims to mix a sense of culture with its gaming roots — which is why it’s partnered with household names from across sectors, like Snoop Dogg, Adidas, “The Walking Dead,” and the South China Morning Post.
“It isn’t like ‘Ready Player One,’ a dystopian nightmare,” Nouzareth said. “We want to be the Manhattan of the metaverse, a concentration of exciting brands and artists — but our vision isn’t to replace reality.”
Nouzareth highlighted that The Sandbox has an advantage over competitors like Roblox and Decentraland because it’s more than just a socializing venue.
“I think we’re more successful than others because we see gaming as really the way to attract players into Web3, rather than just being a space to be social,” Nouzareth said.
Meta—the company formerly known as Facebook—is running a new TV ad showing a future in which college students slip on a lightweight VR headset to enter a lecture hall where a professor can toss 3D models of biological cells to students who can pull them apart to demonstrate some concept.
It’s the latest sign that Big Tech sees education as a key piece of the rush to build a metaverse, the immersive Internet of Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality that so far is a disconnected mix of clunky tech gear and beta software platforms inspired by science fiction.
This technology raises lots of exciting possibilities and some tough challenges, for both K12 classrooms and college classrooms of the future. And to help us sort through this emerging space, we invited two guests to the podcast who have seen more of this VR space than most and are thinking through these issues.
Those guests are Greg Heiberger, associate dean of academics and student success at South Dakota State University and Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, a professor of psychology at Temple University and a co-author of a recent Brookings Institution policy brief about education in the metaverse with advice for Facebook and other tech giants on how to build a metaverse that is education friendly.
The session was recorded in front of a live audience at the ISTE Live edtech conference in New Orleans this week.
KPMG, one of the Big Four accounting firms in Canada and the United States, has revealed the opening of its first metaverse collaboration hub to help its employees and clients pursue growth opportunities in the digital era.
KPMG is entering the metaverse with a new collaboration hub that will connect employees, clients and others with Web3. The company is making a collective $30 million investment this year in Web3 experiences, with the metaverse hub as the “signature piece.”
According to a Tuesday report by Fortune, the hub will be focused on education, collaboration, training, events and workshops with Cliff Justice, KPMG U.S. leader of enterprise innovation claiming that it is presently being utilized for such things but that KPMG intends to hire people to build it and expand it over time.
The long-term objective for the company is to examine other potential metaverse use cases such as health care, consumer, retail, media and financial services.
What do you think❓
— THE RELEVANCE HOUSE. (@RelevanceHouse) June 28, 2022
Laura Newinski, deputy chair and chief operating officer at KPMG in the U.S., said:
“The metaverse is a market opportunity, a way to re-engage talent, and a path to connect people across the globe through a new collaborative experience.”
The companies will continue to explore possibilities in the crypto and Web 3.0 space, co-create new tools and solutions that provide critical insights, launch immersive learning and development platforms, recruit talent to contribute knowledge and help navigate the changing confluence of the physical and digital worlds, among other things, as part of its innovation strategy.
The COVID-19 epidemic sparked people’s interest in the metaverse. There has been an increase in the desire for methods to make internet contact more lifelike as more individuals work and go to school online. JPMorgan, one of the biggest banks in the United States, made headlines earlier this year by publishing a paper suggesting metaverse technology was a “one trillion-dollar opportunity,” along with establishing its own virtual headquarters in the Decentraland (MANA) metaverse.
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