Today Nomura and its digital assets subsidiary Laser Digital unveiled its metaverse presence in The Sandbox. It’s a Japanese botanical garden experience consistent with its heritage and with a nod to sustainability.
Users can meet the avatars of senior management and complete up to 20 tasks, including growing a bonsai tree.
“Since our launch last year as Nomura’s digital asset subsidiary, we have been keen to explore the potential of the metaverse,” said Jez Mohideen, CEO, Laser Digital. “We are excited to experience the new interactions this project enables and we look forward to continued partnership with the Digital Company to further Nomura’s progress into the digital asset sector.”
Laser Digital‘s initial activity focused on venture investing in the digital asset space. Recently it launched its asset management arm with its Bitcoin Adoption Fund. targeting institutional investors. And it’s gearing up to launch a digital asset trading arm.
The metaverse for financial institutions
Meanwhile, The Sandbox is a blockchain-based experience featuring voxel graphics, essentially 3D pixels. Its main competitor is Decentraland. Despite being voxel based, The Sandbox generally has higher production values. In this case, the Nomura – Laser Digital experience was developed by Cédric Bensoussan at the Metaverse Studio Paris.
Numerous financial institutions are experimenting with the metaverse. Often the initial presence is fairly basic. But in the future, when people spend more of their (non gaming) time in 3D worlds, investing and banking are likely to be conducted in the metaverse. One can imagine meeting with an investment advisor of going to a bank branch. And some of the metaverse objects, such as land in The Sandbox, are considered investments in themselves.
In its initial phase, the metaverse is more appropriate for time restricted events that attract a lot of people. Hence, celebrity concerts or the ability to interact with celebrities have proven popular. Otherwise, it’s a bit like going to a shopping mall out of hours. The lack of activity makes for a subdued atmosphere, even if there’s plenty to do.
While NFTs and the metaverse are very much past their hype period in the West, there’s considerably more activity in Asia. There are still dozens of NFTs launching every week in Japan.
The Sandbox has proven to be more popular with Asian focused financial institutions (DBS, HSBC, SCB 10X, Standard Chartered), and Decentraland in the West (JP Morgan, Caixabank, Fidelity, Mastercard). Meanwhile, Japanese banks and other enterprises have created the Japan Metaverse Economic Zone (JMEZ), although Nomura isn’t involved.