British multinational banking and financial services company Standard Chartered has become the latest major corporation to embrace the metaverse by purchasing a virtual plot of land.
A Hong Kong-based subsidiary of the London finance firm has acquired virtual property in a district in The Sandbox, a decentralised metaverse platform, known as Mega City.
The move was led by the venture capital arm of Standard Chartered, SC Ventures, with the goal of providing unique virtual experiences to clients.
The metaverse is a catch-all term for virtual worlds accessed by virtual or augmented reality headsets that has been touted as the next version of the internet.
“The metaverse is a vision for the next phase in the internet’s evolution, bringing new possibilities and unique experiences through the use of immersive technologies,” said Mary Huen, chief executive of Standard Chartered Hong Kong.
“Our involvement in the metaverse allows us to reimagine our relationship with existing and potential clients on this new platform and our approach to enhance client journeys. Having acquired virtual land in Mega City perfectly fits with our promise of strengthening our continued presence in Hong Kong, whether physical or virtual.”
Alex Manson, head of SC Ventures said: “For the past few years, we have been building business models in crypto, digital assets and see the rise of the metaverse as a critical milestone in the Web3 evolution.
Corporate interest in the metaverse has skyrocketed since Facebook rebranded as Meta in October last year. It has also spurred an increase in recruitment for metaverse-related jobs.
Standard Chartered join the likes of HSBC, JP Morgan, and Adidas, in buying up virtual property acquisitions in The Sandbox.
The Centre for Finance, Technology and Entrepreneurship published a report that showed virtual land transactions in The Sandbox reached £267m last year, with a further £84.2m being spent on the second-largest metaverse platform, Decentraland.
Those figures, while undeniably large, could be just a fraction of the finances in the metaverse, according to investment bank Citi, which projected the metaverse economy to be worth as much as $10tn by 2030.