The Sandbox has raised $93 million in a funding round led by SoftBank to help grow its virtual world based on Crypto and NFT ( nonfungible tokens ) ownership of in game land and assets.
It’s another sign of how hot NFTs have become in an age where Bitcoin’s price is soaring and NFT games are viewed as a stepping stone to the metaverse, another buzzword that signifies the universe of virtual worlds that are all interconnected, like in novels such as Snow Crash and the movie Ready Player One.
The Sandbox is the first investment into crypto assets by SoftBank Vision Fund 2, though SoftBank also invested $680 million in Sorare, a Paris-based NFT fantasy soccer game maker with 30 employees. Arthur Madrid, CEO of The Sandbox, said in an interview that the funding will help the company grow beyond gaming into economies such as fashion, architecture, virtual concerts and shows, art galleries, museums, and more. Madrid and his cofounder Sebastien Borget said they want to build the metaverse.
The company will use the money to hire people, develop more creative tools for players, add multiplayer, expand the number of intellectual properties and brands that are part of The Sandbox, grow user acquisition, and build better infrastructure.
Much like games like Minecraft, The Sandbox is a blocky world where players could combine lots of elements to make new ones and create their own digital creations. Overall, The Sandbox has had 40 million downloads over time. Animoca Brands (which has raised $203 million this year) has a bunch of blockchain-focused subsidiaries, including The Sandbox, Blowfish Studios, Quidd, Gamee, nWay, Pixowl, Bondly, and Lympo. In this funding, The Sandbox is raising the money for its division. High-profile landowners in The Sandbox include Zed Run, Republic Realm, Binance, Bored Ape Yacht Club, CyberKongz, CoinMarketCap, Metakovan, Pranksy, GrowYourBase, MetaKey, South China Morning Post, Zepeto, Socios, the Winklevoss twins, Bill Lee of Craft Ventures and more.