Metaverse

Banks conquer the metaverse

After JP Morgan on Decentraland and HSBC on The Sandbox this spring, it's Standard Chartered's turn to invest in the metaverse.

Eva Morletto

By Eva Morletto03 mai 2022

After tech and luxury brands, it is the banks that are interested in the metaverse. The pioneer: JP Morgan (Shutterstock)

The 3.0 world is increasingly attracting banks. The British company Standard Chartered has just bought a digital plot in The Sandbox, a 3D virtual game platform where anyone can create their own world by buying or renting space. The starting price of a plot is 10 000 to 12 000 dollars. The aim is to develop a game and then monetise it using NFTs and the in-house crypto-currency, SAND.

Along with Decentraland and Roblox, The Sandbox is one of the most used virtual digital spaces. Last March it had already attracted HSBC, another global financial giant with $3 trillion in assets. The Sandbox has also attracted the attention of fintech Kard, which specialises in bank accounts designed for teenagers.

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After tech and luxury brands, it is now the banks that are interested in the metaverse. The pioneer was undoubtedly the financial holding company JP Morgan. At the beginning of 2022, its crypto-currency subsidiary, Onyx, presented a lounge on the 3D virtual reality platform Decentraland, animated by avatars. 

Other banking institutions have followed suit. This is the case of the Spanish bank Caixa, which also chose Decentraland to inaugurate a virtual café.But it is in South Korea that the banks' enthusiasm is most notable. The Digital 2.0 New Deal promoted by the government of Moon Jae Jin has injected 30 billion won (about 26 million dollars) into the virtual economy. The majority of Korean banks - led by Kookmin Bank - have planned to open virtual branches, which can be accessed via platforms such as Cyworld (Industrial Bank of Corea).

However, analysts are still cautious, seeing these initiatives as a marketing strategy rather than a long-term investment. However, transactions in the metaverse are expected to grow exponentially over the next few years, and banks will have an increasingly important role to play.

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