“In the metaverse, creativity should not be restricted by the constraints of the IRL world”

Interview with Sébastien Borget, co-founder and COO of The Sandbox.

Co-founded by two Frenchmen, The Sandbox is a flagship virtual universe of the metaverse trend. Carrefour, Axa and Snoop Dogg have acquired “lands” there to offer new experiences to their audiences.

How should brands approach the metaverse today? Are there already good practices to follow or pitfalls to avoid? Let’s dive into web3 – without getting lost – with Sébastien Borget, co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of The Sandbox.

Imagine that an advertiser doesn’t know about The Sandbox. How would you present your solution?

Sebastien Borget: The Sandbox is a virtual, 3D decentralized world. You will find games there, but not only. The experiences offered on The Sandbox range from virtual concerts to art galleries to social hubs. And it is possible to monetize and own some or all of these experiences.

Is it a metaverse?

SB: The Sandbox is part of the metaverse which is a myriad of decentralized universes, where each user can own their virtual identity in the form of an avatar that can be used from one world to another. A virtual world alone is not a metaverse. And not included are virtual worlds like Roblox, Second Life, Minecraft or Meta’s Horizon Worlds due to their centralized and closed nature.

Is the interoperability of assets between the virtual worlds of the metaverse already possible? One thinks in particular of the fact of using the same avatar purchased in the form of NFT from one platform to another.

SB: It is still relatively early to put this interoperability into practice. But this is desired and promoted by universes like Decentraland, Cryptovoxels, Spatial, Otherside [le monde virtuel de Yuga Labs, la société derrière les Bored Ape Yacht Club ou CryptoPunks, ndlr]. And of course by The Sandbox!

What is the audience for The Sandbox?

SB: The Sandbox now totals 3 million accounts and 350,000 active users per month.

Does The Sandbox already represent an opportunity for brands?

SB: Our platform is ideal for brands that want to offer new types of experiences, promoting immersion and creativity. It’s an unprecedented way to “connect with fans”, giving value to the relationship between brands and fans through experience.

The metaverse does not have a commercial vocation today. Users meet there to be amazed and to participate in the creation of new content. Shopping is not yet really part of the uses of the metaverse, but that could change in the years to come.

Co-creation is key within The Sandbox. With VoxEdit, users can create their own NFTs and sell them on our marketplace. And Game Maker allows them to create games on The Sandbox with a “no code” approach, with no development knowledge required.

We encourage brands to let communities remix their content, to highlight these “assets” on their own lands [les terrains que les marques peuvent acquérir sur The Sandbox, ndlr] in virtual events.

What are the current good and bad practices of brands on The Sandbox?

SB: We are still only at the beginning of the metaverse. However, contrary to what happened with the web and web2, brands and companies have already grasped the interest of the metaverse and are investing in it very early on. Departments have been created, and it is beginning to be said that the new CMO – Chief Marketing Officer – could become a Chief Metaverse Officer!

However, brands should be aware that launching a collection of NFTs is not enough to enter the metaverse. To achieve this, you have to offer a real brand experience, and unite a community around it.

It is also interesting to observe that the traditional brands that are successful today in web3 have all collaborated with existing web3 communities. Examples include Adidas (with Bored Ape Yacht Club, Punks Comics and GMoney), Nike (with RTKFT) or Gucci (with Wagmi-san).

The first brands to deploy on the web3 are naturally those related to entertainment, fashion or music. Then come those of retail or bancassurance, as we have seen with Carrefour and Axa. These companies know that the next generation will be “metaverse native” and that having a presence in this universe is key. Over the next decade, the customer relationship will take place in the metaverse. And, after focusing on selling digital assets with NFTs, will come the emergence of trading physical goods in the metaverse.

What sustainability do you guarantee to companies that acquire a “land” – that is to say a virtual piece of land – in your home?

SB: After acquiring land, a company holds a digital asset, an NFT, which represents coordinates on a map. She will be able to create an experience in this area and invite other users to it.

As long as The Sandbox is live, the land will still be accessible. But we go further thanks to openness and decentralization: the NFT of the field, as a non-fungible token, is present on the Ethereum blockchain. If tomorrow The Sandbox closes, another project will be able to take over the land created by giving them strictly the same properties, or on the contrary, by modifying the role of these elements in other virtual universes.

What is your number one advice for brands launching in your home?

SB: Do not ape reality and free yourself from the laws of physics! Clothes come alive, change color or pattern on the fly. The protagonists can fly or teleport. A concert can take on completely new forms. In the metaverse, creativity must not be restricted by the constraints of the “IRL” world.

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