Sebastien Borget, chief operating officer of The Sandbox, believes the future of the metaverse platform lies in the hands of individual creators, not the brands that have made it something of a corporate crypto darling.
Since The Sandbox was bought by Animoca Brands in 2018, the vision has been to build an "open world." However, from the outside, it seems its growth has been driven by bluechip corporate deals.
So far, the platform has worked on projects and partnerships with the likes of HSBC, Warner Music, PlayBoy, Gucci and Ubisoft. It also raised $93 million led by the SoftBank Vision Fund 2 in November 2021.
Now, through this base layer of brand recognition, more independent creators will be "onboarded," Borget argued, speaking to The Block at NFT Paris.
“You need a catalyst to start something. Our experience doing user-generated content for almost 15 years is that it doesn’t just start with a blank page and saying ‘use it,’ you always have to seed a community of creators to see what the possibility is and then from there, people will be inspired,” he said in an interview.
'Less likely to succeed'
Last year, there were reports of dwindling users on metaverse platforms, which prompted leaders to set the record straight about how many users they actually have. In October, The Sandbox said it has 201,000 monthly active users, 4.1 million total wallets, 128 million in staked SAND tokens and more than 22,200 land owners.
Borget thinks that through this audience the virtual world will start seeing an influx of individual creators releasing content — not attached to brands — in the next 12 to 24 months. This will be orchestrated through more community-focused curated events and through the creation of a DAO, which is expected to happen by the end of the year.
“No matter how good the technology is, without fun, storytelling and being relevant to the audience and creator friendly, the metaverse is less likely to succeed," he said.
So far, decentralization of the platform has come through its SAND token and the sale of virtual, blockchain-backed land via that token. Sand will dictate governance in the DAO. Centralized curation decisions and grants from the foundation will therefore be put in the hands of the community.
“The Sandbox will be at the service of the community, as just one holder of the token,” he added.
Saudi Arabia and beyond
Borget isn't just looking at growth online — he has IRL expansion on his mind, too. He wants to understand how the platform can fit into different cultures so it can attract different kinds of users.
A recent meeting with Saudi Arabian leaders sparked a rally in the price of SAND. The company also netted a recent partnership with Dubai, which uses The Sandbox as its "metaverse headquarters."
“Five years ago, Saudi Arabia was still a country where music was forbidden. It’s progressively opening to the rest of the world and has a very young population, which is interested in gaming and mobile gaming," explained Borget.
Borget is optimistic about the phase of education that is currently in progress in the region.
“I don’t see a world in 2030 or 2050 where the Middle East isn’t playing a big part," he added.
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