Standard Chartered snaps up virtual land as lenders accelerate metaverse investment
Emerging markets lender Standard Chartered has announced a push into the metaverse today as it snaps up a plot of land in decentralised gaming world The Sandbox.
The London-based lender’s Hong Kong subsidiary has become the first bank to acquire virtual property in The Sandbox’s ‘Mega City’ district, which is thematically designed around Hong Kong.
Led by venture arm SC Ventures, Standard Chartered said it is now scoping out opportunities to building “new experiences for clients” in the metaverse.
“Our involvement in the metaverse allows us to reimagine our relationship with existing and potential clients on this new platform and our approach to enhance client journeys,” said Mary Huen, boss of Standard Chartered Hong Kong.
“Having acquired virtual land in Mega City, a natural choice for the Bank given its distinctive Hong Kong theme, perfectly fits with our promise of strengthening our continued presence in Hong Kong, whether physical or virtual.”
Developed by Hong Kong based developer Animoca Brands, The Sandbox has been downloaded 40 million times and has 1.2 million active monthly users, according to the firm.
The move from Standard Chartered comes as lenders scramble to invest in the metaverse amid a boom in cash flowing into the virtual world rolled out by Mark Zuckerberg’s tech behemoth Meta last year.
JP Morgan opened up the Onyx lounge in Decentraland earlier this year, another Metaverse platform, as it predicted the virtual world “will likely infiltrate every sector in some way in the coming years, with the market opportunity estimated at over $1 trillion in yearly revenues.”
Like Standard Chartered, HSBC has similarly pushed into The Sandbox as it bought up a plot earlier this year in a bid to connect with “sports, esports and gaming enthusiasts”.
Suresh Balaji, chief marketing officer for Asia-Pacific at HSBC, said the metaverse is how people will “experience Web3, the next generation of the internet”
“At HSBC, we see great potential to create new experiences through emerging platforms,” he added.