The cryptocurrency of metaverse platform The Sandbox has surged by over 36% following the announcement of The Sandbox Alpha, the first opportunity for players to get hands-on with the NFT-powered virtual world.

The Sandbox Alpha will run for three weeks from November 29 to December 20, and will enable players to participate in 18 different games—but you’ll need a non-fungible token (NFT) to access all of them.

Three multiplayer experiences—The NFT Institute, Dungeon of Dum-Yz, and Club XYZ—will be made available to all players, while the remaining 15 will require an Alpha Pass NFT. Alpha Pass NFT holders will also be able to take part in a multiplayer play-to-earn (P2E) tournament. 

Only 5,000 Alpha Passes will be created, with the first thousand raffled off to owners of the platform’s LAND token. The remaining 4,000 will be allocated as prizes to players who take part in daily activities.

The rise of the metaverse

A term originally coined in Neal Stephenson's 1992 novel Snow Crash, the metaverse describes a persistent virtual universe in which users interact with each other as digital avatars. It’s made up of a number of shared online spaces that can be used for social interactions, games, and even work.

The Sandbox is one of a number of crypto-powered metaverse platforms, including Decentraland and CryptoVoxels. All three use NFTs, cryptographically unique tokens, to assign ownership of digital assets such as costumes, artifacts, and virtual land parcels, to players.

In The Sandbox, those NFTs include content from brands including Atari, Care Bears, and Smurfs. Users can mint their own NFTs for monetization and share their created worlds with other users as well. This is all done using the native token SAND, an ERC-20 token that can be easily traded into crypto to make it profitable. 

Ultimately, the idea is that users will be able to move their digital assets between metaverse platforms; taking an item of virtual clothing from Decentraland and wearing it in The Sandbox, for example.

In recent weeks, metaverse platforms have seen their token prices surge, as major brands have made moves into the space. In October, Facebook rebranded as Meta, with founder Mark Zuckerberg announcing that the company is “moving from being Facebook first as a company to being metaverse first.” 

Microsoft is also experimenting with the metaverse, overhauling its Microsoft Teams productivity app to include 3D avatars and virtual meeting environments. And earlier this month, Nike applied for a number of patents relating to virtual goods as part of its own metaverse push.