The Sandbox Sold Over $1.66 Million Worth of Metaverse Land in Past Few Weeks
Virtual gaming world The Sandbox has sold over $1.66 million of virtual land spread across its map of the metaverse over the past few weeks.
Given the current dip in the fortunes of cryptos, this is a fairly good market performance. The Sandbox has just concluded the latest sales of its LAND metaverse. Would be developers can buy virtual plots here and use them to build games and other metaverse attractions.
The Sandbox’s lots of LAND are available alongside branded experiences further proving that consumers are still attracted by the concept of beachfront virtual property or the idea, already applicable in the real world, that the metaverse LAND will be worth more if it is located close to something cool or significant. In The Sandbox, the LAND has been represented transparently on blockchain blocks via nonfungible tokens that uniquely identify the ownership of digital assets.
The Sandbox’s business model entails selling valuable virtual real estate that allows developers to be located next to high-value developments, just as in the real world. In this virtual gaming world, only players or developers can purchase The Sandbox’s currency, called $SAND, using real money. The developers or players will then receive NFTs to verify ownership before going on to develop these hoping to make the metaverse LAND more valuable.
These LAND sales have enabled $SAND to hit a market cap of $641 million. This is still below its peaks during the crypto boom yet it is valuable enough to impress many critics. Like Decentraland, The Sandbox doesn’t have many users yet it has a fairly high market capitalization. The Sandbox has approximately 530 daily active wallets and still doesn’t have too many transactions.
In spite of its low user base, The Sandbox is still fairly successful in selling its LAND. From November 22, The Sandbox listed 1,900 virtual parcels for sale and these sales of these have now been concluded in two chunks of virtual real estate.
The Sandbox parcels are sold for a fixed price. The metaverse platform has also artificially limited the number of LAND plots to be sold in order to protect the investments of users. The Sandbox also completed two additional collections of LAND and sold these out.
These LAND sales have allowed The Sandbox to expand. The platform is owned by the Hong Kong-based gaming software company Animoca Brands and has 400 staff. It is planning to hire an additional 50 to 60 people. The Sandbox’s success is remarkable in an industry that has been plagued with various challenges and failures in the recent past. FTX, which was the third largest cryptocurrency exchange, went bankrupt and its founder Sam Bankman-Fried is currently facing criminal investigations. The failure of FTX has cast a long shadow over the entire crypto industry. Many of the remaining players are now suspect by the guilt of association.
In spite of the dampened mood, The Sandbox’s CEO Arthur Madrid is still upbeat about the prospects of his platform describing it as a trusted “safe place to create and get into NFTs.”
The Sandbox says its approach is reliable as it entails making the metaverse “more concrete and more tangible” according to company COO Sebastien Borget. Borget says The Sandbox metaverse is linked to LAND sales and provides a “concept of a map.” Borget describes virtual LAND as “the simplest way to understand Web3” and that the metaverse platform is currently creating a neighborhood and a community “of brands and users.”
The Sandbox is still in its alpha phase but the platform is already grossing millions of dollars in virtual land sales. Some well-known international celebrities including Snoop Dogg and FaZe Clan own land in The Sandbox metaverse. Paris Hilton owns a plot on the platform. Some of the brands on the platform include The Walking and Playboy.
This week, the Council of Fashion Designers of America launched an exhibit in The Sandbox celebrating 60 years of American fashion. The exhibition was christened Fashioning the Shades of American Design and was curated Darnell-Jamal Lisby the fashion historian and assistant fashion curator at the Cleveland Museum of Art. The works of various fashion designers have been featured in the exhibition including Zac Posen, Anna Sui, Norma Kamali, Willi Smith, and Off-White.
These brands are already using the Sandbox as their key attractions. Their presence in The Sandbox metaverse aims to draw in people to buy LAND close to these brands with the expectation that such virtual land is valuable. Virtual LAND owners can use this virtual real estate for various purposes including selling it, building on it, using it, or renting it out to others.
Does Virtual Land Pay Off?
A recent analysis of the LAND market by Blockchain Research Lab looked into whether the high-profile LAND parcels increased the value of the virtual geographic parcels. The analysis delved into the location of the Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) in The Sandbox and did an analysis of its worth.
The Blockchain Research Lab research focused on all sales before November 9 and found that prices for LAND had consolidated.
At the heights of the metaverse hype following Facebook’s rebranding to Meta in October 2021, the “metaverse” became a buzzword, and prices for LAND skyrocketed.
These prices peaked at $12,000 per LAND parcel in January 2022. Following the subsequent crypto crash in the course of the year, LAND prices dropped to between $2,000 and $2,200 per parcel by November. However, even these post-crash prices are still higher than the prices of LAND at the beginning of the market rally. For analysts, this is still a good sign that people are recognizing the value of LAND as an asset class or as an investment that might reap rewards in the future. As a result, trading in LAND is continuing at an impressive pace.
Some 10,000 digital parcels of LAND were resold in 2022, netting resellers an average return of 109%. The median return was 15% while less than 50% of these sales produced a loss. Investors holding land for the long haul have been seeing a decent payoff, according to the research.
The research shows that approximately 64% of LAND owners are holding just one parcel of LAND while only 2% hold over 51 parcels. The number of active wallets has been increasing gradually with the average holder now having 8 parcels of LAND. The report states that land distribution has been becoming equitable gradually. Location is still important in LAND sales in spite of the fact that there are no travel distances involved in the metaverse.
Like in the real world, the location of LAND also affects the prices of parcels. When Warner Music Group joined The Sandbox in January 2022, the prices of nearby parcels skyrocketed. Owning LAND close to major brands and artists also pays off, according to the Blockchain Research Lab report. The report states that LAND ownership is likely to rise over time and that there is still good growth potential.
According to Sandbox, its recent sales demonstrate that there is still a healthy interest in the metaverse. The company says it has now surpassed 4.3 million registered users who hold a cryptocurrency/NFT wallet.
The Sandbox says it has contributed actively to the growth of Web3 and provides a platform for users to express themselves and enjoy the benefits of owning digital goods and avatars. The gaming ecosystem partly attributes this to the key partnerships it has forged, greater user-generated content as well as the “branded experiences and socialization mechanics” in the metaverse, according to COO Borget.
Borget says the company is developing The Sandbox open metaverse into a “global digital nation” where every avatar will be a citizen and which will feature regional hubs and spaces for curated brands and communities that will transform the metaverse into a more local experience.
The Sandbox, the company says, is helping bridge pop culture, music, entertainment, gaming, lifestyle, fashion, media, and sports among others into “a new form of entertainment.”
The Sandbox is hoping to create virtual neighborhoods that will sit adjacent to brand experiences to showcase the value of digital ownership. With the recent crypto crash and plunge in NFT prices, there is also the question of how these impact virtual land sales.
There was $500 million worth of virtual land transactions in 2021. The Sandbox accounted for 60% of these transactions. To date, The Sandbox has sold over 100,000 LAND plots out of a total of 166,464 parcels of LAND. The company is still expecting to contribute a significant portion of the virtual land sales in 2022 in spite of the woes the industry has faced in the year.
The Sandbox is planning to allow its unique 23,000 LAND owners to open their lands up and publish their experiences there. The platform hopes this will subsequently unlock community engagement and monetization.
There are more upcoming land sales. These will include neighborhoods nearby brand-owned plots like FaZe Clan, Tony Hawk, Cipriani, Playboy, Cut the Rope, Hermit Crab, Voxies, Paris Hilton, Dogami, and Playground Studio. Altogether, there are over 400 partners like these on The Sandbox. 230 studios from across the globe are already building on The Sandbox. The platform says it is close to opening up its LAND and making it accessible to everyone.
Every wave will feature standard and premium LANDs. There will also be exclusive larger estates that will be auctioned directly on OpenSea. There is an exclusive estate located next to Snoop Dogg’s LAND that is set to be auctioned on OpenSea and will provide users with the opportunity of being neighbors to the Snoopverse.
The Sandbox says it is developing a unique Web3 platform in which brands and creators can develop new formats of entertainment. It aims for this to be a “pop culture metaverse” for fun, creativity and safety for users. The bundling of these, the company says, will empower players to purchase land next to some icon or some celebrity on which to build their experiences. The Sandbox says this not offers a new way to create and play games but also to “discover our culture together.”
The Sandbox held the California Dreamin’ LAND sale where it sold 345 LANDs on map. 175 of these were first-time buyers. This sale generated a total of $460,000. In the Galleria LAND sale, a total of 313 LANDs were sold for a total of $419,590. The K-Verse Land sale featured South Korean music and saw 623 regular LAND plots, 71 premium LANDs, and 25 large estates sold for a total of $864,000.
The value of these LANDs will be based on the experiences buyers build on them. If games and other fun experiences are developed on them, their value will theoretically rise which could give holders a good payoff on their investments.
The Sandbox’s critics say that platform doesn’t have many daily active users (DAUs) but the company argues that it is still in alpha and that the current numbers are a reflection of its current phase. The Sandbox says it has 30,000 to 40,000 DAUs and 250,000 monthly active users (MAUs). The platform says it has a total of 360,000 unique players as well as 17 million unique visits on all of its experiences. The Sandbox says these numbers are reasonable as the platform is still in its alpha and with few experiences. It is available only on PC and Mac.
The Sandbox says it will be aiming for faster loading times as well as better in-game performance in Q1. The platform says its in-game experiences currently run up to 30 fps to 60 fps.
More than 8 million chat messages have been exchanged on the platform with user spending 80 minutes per day on average and 20 minutes per session.