by Lawrence White
LONDON (Reuters) – HSBC is buying virtual lands within the online game The Sandbox, for an undisclosed amount, in the bank’s first major metaverse.
The digital push will allow HSBC to connect with fans of sports, esports and video games through its land in The Sandbox, a virtual space owned by Hong Kong-based Animoca Brands.
HSBC said it looks forward to being able to “create innovative brand experiences for new and existing customers” in the virtual world.
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The venture comes after HSBC on Tuesday announced the closure of 69 more UK branches amid online migration of customers.
HSBC is the second global bank to invest in the popular Metaverse platform, since JPMorgan made its presence felt at Decentraland last month.
The US bank opened a lounge space at the virtual mall – which includes a digital portrait of chief executive Jamie Dimon – in early February after publishing a report on “Opportunity in the Metaverse”.
JP Morgan said in its report that about $54 billion is spent annually on virtual goods, which is more than twice the amount spent on buying music. Assets such as land can often be purchased in the form of non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
In the sandbox-like Metaverse environment, users can buy land, move around using avatars, play games, and find friends. Facebook recently changed its name to Meta to signify its commitment to the Metaverse concept.
(by Lawrence White)
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