by Lawrence White
LONDON (Reuters) – HSBC is buying virtual land within the online game The Sandbox for an undisclosed amount, in the bank’s first major foray into the Metaverse region.
The digital payment will allow HSBC to engage with fans of sports, esports and video games through its land in The Sandbox, a virtual space majority owned by Hong Kong-based Animoca Brands.
HSBC said it was looking forward to being able to “create innovative brand experiences for new and existing customers” in the virtual world.
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The project comes after HSBC on Tuesday announced the closure of 69 more UK branches amid customer exodus to the internet.
HSBC is the second global bank to invest in the popular metaverse platform, after JPMorgan last month established a presence in Decentraland.
The US bank opened a lounge space in a virtual mall – which contains a digital photo of CEO Jamie Dimon – after publishing a report in early February on “Opportunities in the Metaverse District”.
JPMorgan said in its report that about $54 billion is spent annually on virtual goods, twice the amount spent on purchasing music. Assets such as land can often be purchased in the form of non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
Users in metaverse environments such as The Sandbox can buy land, roam with avatars, play games, and find friends. Facebook recently changed its name to Meta to indicate its commitment to the metaverse concept.
(by Lawrence White)
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