Standard Chartered partners with The Sandbox, buys digital land

Standard Chartered Bank Hong Kong (SCBHK) announced a new partnership with a blockchain-based 3D open-world game, The Sandbox, on April 25.

The company’s Chief Executive Mary Huen explained the partnership was a “natural choice” that perfectly fit the bank’s physical or virtual presence.

Huen pointed out SCBHK’s involvement in the metaverse with The Sandbox will allow new opportunities as well as reimagine relations with current and potential customers.

“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. 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,” Huen said.

“Having acquired virtual land in Mega City, a natural choice for the Bank given its distinctive Hong Kong theme, perfectly fits with our promise of strengthening our continued presence in Hong Kong, whether physical or virtual.”

More on partnership

In a press release, SCBHK claimed to be the first bank ever to have purchased a virtual land in The Sandbox’s metaverse Mega City district. A district that sets itself as a cultural hub for inspiring Hong Kong-based talents.

The bank will mostly run via its very own fintech investment and ventures arm, SC Ventures, to engage with clients, internal staff, and the tech-related community in The Sandbox metaverse. SCBHK’s goal, other than to increase its presence, was to create exciting new experiences for clients.

“Led by SC Ventures, Standard Chartered Group’s innovation, fintech investment and ventures arm, SCBHK will actively engage its clients, partners, staff, and the tech community, to explore co-creation opportunities in this new and exciting space, with the goal of experimenting and building new experiences for clients, as well as bringing the local sports and art communities into the metaverse,” SCBHK said in the press release.

Standard Chartered head of SC Ventures Alex Manson added that in the last few years, the bank had worked on its business model in crypto and the metaverse.

“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 Web 3.0 evolution. We are excited for this opportunity to explore and innovate in partnership with The Sandbox, but also with our clients and partners who will play a crucial role in how this space develops,” Manson explained.

Previous initiatives

SCBHK is not the first banking or big names business entity to embark on the grand journey into the metaverse that is The Sandbox. Previous moves had been made by HSBC and SCB 10X of Siam Commercial Bank.

A few financial service providers such as JP Morgan, CaixaBank’s Imagin, and Fidelity Investments have chosen to partner with another 3D virtual world platform called Decentraland instead of The Sandbox. Therefore, the metaverse hype is usually centered around the two.

SCBHK had participated in various blockchain-related activities prior to The Sandbox, mainly in Europe and Asian countries, from an investment in crypto custody firm Metaco to setting up its own London-based custody service Zodia.

Additionally, in Hong Kong, SCBHK also had tagged along with Hong Kong Listed BC Technology in creating a digital asset brokerage.

Having SC Ventures leading the bank’s direction into the metaverse, SCBHK said it remained optimistic about its goals in the digital assets and the metaverse environment.