Today Standard Chartered Bank Hong Kong announced it is the latest bank to buy a plot of virtual land in The Sandbox metaverse’s Mega City district, with help from the bank’s venture subsidiary SC Ventures.
Acquiring “virtual land in Mega City (was) 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,” said Mary Huen, CEO of Standard Chartered, Hong Kong.
Numerous financial services companies are setting up in the metaverse, currently evenly split between Decentraland and The Sandbox. JP Morgan was the first to take the leap into Decentraland, followed by CaixaBank’s Imagin and Fidelity Investments. The Sandbox was founded in Hong Kong, and the three banks that have set up in the metaverse all have Asian associations, HSBC, Siam Commercial Bank’s SCB 10X, and now Standard Chartered.
However, there is no East-West divide. The Sandbox has numerous high profile virtual landowners, including Snoop Dog and Adidas. It’s a full-blown computer application enabling a rich experience once the platform moves beyond its current Alpha version. In contrast, Decentraland currently works within a web browser, reducing the friction of getting started, but a web browser currently doesn’t provide the same depth of gaming experience. Additionally, The Sandbox is part of Animoca Brands, which has a massive footprint in the crypto gaming world.
Standard Chartered and digital assets
“For the past few years, we have been building business models in crypto, digital assets and see the rise of the metaverse as a critical milestone in the Web 3.0 evolution,” said Alex Manson, Head of SC Ventures.
Standard Chartered has numerous blockchain activities. It invested in crypto custody firm Metaco and set up its own institutional custody service in London, Zodia. The bank partnered with Hong Kong Listed BC Technology to create a digital asset brokerage.
In Singapore, it is a participant in the Singapore institutional solution Marketnode for blockchain-based bonds, plus it’s one of the founders of the blockchain-based Climate Impact Exchange (CIX). Additionally, it has several blockchain trade finance interests, especially in Singapore-based Contour.
Neither the author nor Ledger Insights’ management has any economic interest in either Decentraland or The Sandbox.