In brief

  • The Sandbox has sold in-game LAND properties to an array of prominent investors.
  • Owners can develop and monetize their own interactive experiences in the upcoming Ethereum-based game.

Upcoming Ethereum-based game The Sandbox—a blocky, shared 3D world in which players can purchase digital land and deploy their own interactive games—revealed today that it has sold its virtual, non-fungible token (NFT) properties to an array of prominent new buyers.

Cryptocurrency exchange Gemini and its Nifty Gateway NFT marketplace lead the list, alongside their billionaire founders Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss. Galaxy Interactive, the gaming-centric arm of Mike Novogratz’s Galaxy Digital investment firm, is also on the list alongside investor Bill Lee of 21x, Ken Howery, Sundeep Madra, and many others.

Each has purchased some amount of The Sandbox’s in-game LAND, which is part of the shared in-game map, and has agreed to develop interactive experiences on their respective virtual spaces. In a release, Tyler Winklevoss said that they plan to “extend our existing platforms into The Sandbox and develop unique experiences on our properties that advance our mission of empowering the individual through crypto."

The list of new LAND buyers has a surprising curveball on it, though: heavy metal band Avenged Sevenfold sits amongst established crypto brands and investors. However, it doesn’t feel entirely out of place in The Sandbox, a game that has attracted diverse partnerships, including those with Care Bears and The Smurfs, as well as Atari, Square Enix, and Binance.

It’s a broad mix of brands and individual LAND collectors alike in the Metaverse, and buyers will soon get another chance to purchase some digital real estate. The Sandbox has announced its next public LAND sale for April 14, with “premium” LAND located on the map near the plots of these newly-revealed partners. Each piece of LAND will come with “exclusive premium NFTs” that owners can use to create their in-game locations and experiences.

NFTs have exploded in demand and value so far in 2021, with the top three NFT marketplaces reporting $342 million in trading volume in February alone. While many NFTs take the form of a tokenized, blockchain-verified image or video, The Sandbox’s LAND NFTs represent ownership of digital property within the game world. Owners can develop their spaces as they please and even monetize their created experiences for visitors.

The Sandbox is expected to launch a playable alpha version this quarter and fully release later this year. Animoca Brands, the game’s publisher, has already sold 45% of the total 166,464 LAND NFTs planned for the game world at a price of more than 40.7 million SAND—the game’s utility token. That’s more than $27 million at today’s price.

The Sandbox held its first public LAND sale in February, following waves of pre-sales, and sold more than $3 million worth of LAND in that month alone. The price of SAND is up eightfold since the start of February, as well, according to CoinGecko, and Gemini recently listed the token on its exchange. Sébastien Borget, chief operating officer and co-founder of The Sandbox, told Decrypt that the recent NFT boom has driven demand for the game. However, he believes there are even brighter days on the horizon for game-related NFTs.

“We think that gaming NFTs and virtual land NFTs have the largest growth potential over the months and years to come,” he said. “They offer more utility and use cases than just collectibles or art, which are the two categories that mostly benefited from the recent growth.”

Borget said that the influx of high-profile LAND buyers serves as “validation” in the concept behind The Sandbox, and suggests that these heavyweight players are more than just bystanders on the game’s future path. They have already been using their connections to bring along further “brilliant minds,” he said, as well as artists, musicians, and established gaming studios. They also intend to build compelling experiences within the game.

“They are not just the guys who are talking conceptually about the Metaverse,” said Borget. “They are doing their part to be part of it, build it and grow it—and they are fully doing it with the right motivations and vision to build a long-lasting presence that will benefit the ecosystem, their communities, and all the actors of The Sandbox platform.”