Saudi Arabia signs MoU with metaverse gaming platform The Sandbox

Saudi Arabia has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Web3 metaverse gaming platform The Sandbox.

The Sandbox co-founder and chief operations officer Sebastien Borget said it was a “true honor” for the platform to partner with Saudi Arabia. He added that they “look forward to exploring, advising and supporting mutually each other in activations of the Metaverse.”

The Sandbox’s native token, SAND, saw a 31.4 percent price jump to $0.941 after the announcement. The price has since gone down close to its support level of $0.825.

Saudi’s Digital Government Authority and The Sandbox have not disclosed details about the partnership. They asked the public to wait for the “coming weeks” to receive further information. Analysts said the current partnership was not legally binding but signaled a broader agreement in the future.

The Saudi government is committed to entering the metaverse sector. During the World Economic Forum at Davos last month, Saudi communications minister Abdullah Alswaha said the country had doubled down on resources for its industrial metaverse.

The minister said Web3 technology could add value to existing industries. According to Alswaha, Saudi uses the metaverse to help construct a futuristic city called NEOM. In November 2022, Saudi Arabia launched a philanthropy center in the metaverse.

Alswaha said the Saudi government also aimed to diversify its tech workforce by recruiting more women in the industry.

“We have jumped from 7 percent women empowerment in tech and stem to 32 percent, surpassing the EU, G20 and even the Silicon Valley average,” he said. “It’s not a surprise that in terms of women founders, the Kingdom today globally ranks number one.”

The announcement of the Saudi-The Sandbox partnership took place at the LEAP conference in Riyadh. This conference is a part of the Middle East’s effort to establish itself as a hub for emerging technology.

Last November, Abu Dhabi was selected by the Middle East, Africa & Asia Crypto & Blockchain Association (MEAACBA) to host a free economic zone that facilitates the development of crypto and blockchain across the region.

The zone, called Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), will have its own civil and commercial laws. ADGM was initially developed to boost the growth of fintech companies in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Over the last few years, the Middle East region has become an active actor in the metaverse sector. Chainalysis reported that the region is among the fastest-growing hubs for crypto adoption.

Thanks to accommodative local laws, Saudi Arabia is among the most significant markets for digital currency adoption. The Saudi government is also looking to roll out a central bank digital currency.

About The Sandbox

The Sandbox is a leading metaverse platform that offers users a virtual space to develop their own mini worlds — which other users can explore. Brands like Gucci, HSBC and Warner Music Group have already developed their content on the Web3 platform.

The platform aims to give users true ownership of their creations through blockchain and smart contracts. The Sandbox creators can receive rewards in the form of SAND and NFTs for their contribution to the platform. Its biggest competitors at the moment are Minecraft and Roblox.

Per Bloomberg, back in April 2022m, The Sandbox planned to conduct a fundraising campaign to raise $400 million — which would boost the company’s valuation to $4 billion. The Web3 company had earlier raised $93 million in a Series B funding round in 2021.

The Sandbox parent company, Animoca Brands, announced last November that it would launch a $2 billion fund to invest in metaverse ventures. Animoca is expected to make its first investment this year.