Piece by piece, the metaverse is absorbing elements of meatspace, starting with the old-school crypto companies.
That was evident on Tuesday at the Non Fungible Conference in Lisbon, where hardware wallet provider Ledger announced a partnership with The Sandbox, the developer behind the eponymous open virtual world, which has over 2.2 million registered users and offers an NFT twist on the blocky aesthetics and survival mechanics of Minecraft.
The deal will see the two collaborate on educational content for new, potentially casual users in the Metaverse—a more immersive future internet that features interactive 3D avatars—on wallet security.
“The partnership will empower The Sandbox’s 2.2 million registered users with essential security, support, and best practices, as well as engage Ledger’s millions of users in over 180 countries to secure their metaverse holdings,” a Ledger spokesperson said in a statement.
Ledger founder and Chief Experience Officer Ian Rogers said in an interview that educating new users was more than just useful—it’s good business. “If you really do your homework in crypto, then you start to learn about self custody, then you learn you need a hardware wallet, and once you learn that you choose Ledger because it’s the best,” he said. “So people get more educated, and—boom!—they become a Ledger customer.”
That dynamic, he added, applies to the space in general, greasing the wheels for a kind of feedback loop of positive reinforcement. “Education can get people through that cycle faster,” Rogers said.
Ledger is acquiring 36 tracts of land (represented by the token LAND) in The Sandbox virtual world, where it will create a series of unspecified play-to-earn educational games. Rogers said gamified education provided a seamless way into the industry without exposing users to, say, volatility.
“Everyone’s gonna find themselves in the world of self-custodying digital assets over time, and if we’re doing it in a way that’s relatively low risk, we’re doing a good deed in the end,” he said.
It’s also a sign that metaverse land is, quite literally, prime real estate—big companies are buying up large, expensive chunks.
This was in evidence at the recent Metaverse NFT Fashion Week. Dolce & Gabbana and Dundras hosted collections in Decentraland, one of the largest metaverse worlds. As Giovanna Graziosi Casimiro, who organized the event, told Decrypt at a panel on Tuesday, Decentraland didn't have to woo those brands—they instead sought out Decentraland.
“My experience so far is that brands are curious to experiment with their visual and interactive possibilities,” Casimiro said. “As they saw the districts coming to life, they got really impressed with what could be achieved so quickly.”