Gaming Metaverse on Ethereum
In the past few weeks, we have seen the emergence of a new term in the crypto circles: GameFi. It defines the amalgamation of blockchain gaming and DeFi principles to pass the value incentives to the community rather than game studios and other centralized platforms.
If you followed my newsletters over the past two months, you’d know how GameFi works.
The gaming assets provide full ownership via NFTs. To play, new entrants have to buy these assets instead of purchasing the game itself.
Further, a token, (e.g. AXS, ILV) is usually associated with the game that acts as an in-game currency and provides voting rights of the game’s decentralized autonomous organization.
But GameFi is not just about in-game NFTs and tokens. It expands beyond games to a metaverse, an online environment that incorporates many other features such as virtual stores, webinars, and online art galleries.
First, I’d like to define the term “sandbox games” itself; these are digital spaces where players can play, build, own, and monetize their virtual experiences. Examples of sandbox games include popular games Minecraft, Grand Theft Auto V, and Hitman.
Users can design new games in the Sandbox ecosystem. It is a pixelated world built with basic elements like water, fire, lava, smoke, and clouds. The laws of physics and chemistry rule these elements.
For instance, you can drop water into lava as the evaporated water turns into clouds. The rain can then run motors to provide electricity. You own your piece of land and can make anything out of it.
You can invite other players to join you in your space, and you can play their games as well.
The Sandbox PC edition on Steam. Source: pixowl.com
The game’s PC version has over 40 million players and more than 150,000 creations shared in their gallery. Most of these creations are purely out of interest.
But, it was all fun and games until the company announced a blockchain version of the game on the Ethereum blockchain after the acquisition from Animoca brands for $4.75 million in 2018.
On Ethereum they built the Sandbox metaverse with the governance token that has a market capitalization of $2.1 billion.
It enables the creation, ownership, and monetization of digital assets in a virtual world. It rose to popularity in the last few weeks thanks to promising announcements by leading multinationals.
First, Facebook rebranded to Meta, bringing the vision of a virtual world closer than most people expected.
The second big announcement was the already mentioned $93 million investment led by Softbank.
Consequently, the project rose to the limelight and picked up on user activity. In the last 30 days, the platform saw nearly a 50% increase in transaction volume and users.
The Sandbox statistics over the last 30 days. Source: dappradar
The appreciation of its governance token, SAND, has been outstanding with around 400% returns in less than a fortnight. After trading from months near $0.7, SAND jumped to an all-time high of $3.37 on Nov. 03.
The SAND token has a similar utility to that of AXS on Axie Infinity. It is used as a currency for the marketplace, provides staking yields, and voting rights in the DAO.
We can see signs of overvaluation in SAND. The number of users on The Sandbox is considerably less than Axie Infinity—less than 1,500 monthly active users compared to more than 700,000 users on Axie in the same period. Nevertheless, the market capitalization of AXS tokens is only 5 times bigger than SAND.
Clearly, the market is factoring in the metaverse component.
The Sandbox metaverse enables ownership of spaces in the virtual world for creating applications beyond games, such as an online marketplace, art gallery, games, and other VR simulations.
The most important aspect of the Sandbox ecosystem is LANDs. These are blocks of spaces in The Sandbox metaverse represented as NFTs on Ethereum.
Each LAND represents a 96 meters by 96 meters area of digital land, which has a height of 128 meters. Neighboring lands can be joined together to form estates of up to 4X4 LANDs. A total of 166,464 LANDs will ever be available, contained in a map that will form The Sandbox metaverse.
The Sandbox metaverse map. Source: sandbox.games
The main purpose of LANDs is to allow game creation. The designers and developers can create interactive spaces using Sandox’s Game Maker and VoxEdit. They can also create art galleries and other virtual events through the Sandbox.
You can bid for existing LANDs and create your own blockchain game using the platform’s editor. The minimum asking price of LANDs is around 2100 SAND (worth around $5,000) on the marketplace.
The highest selling price for LAND on OpenSea is 3.6 million SAND tokens (worth $8.82 million). Every LAND unit has a different value depending on its location in the metaverse. LANDs closer to large company bases are costlier compared to others.
Sandbox LAND lowest bid prices. Source: OpenSea
Besides creating your own game, you can also participate in public LAND sales organized by The Sandbox team, usually in partnership with other entities.
For instance, the last few sales in September were announced in partnership with The Walking Dead and Pororo games. The LANDs in these types of sales come with many other NFTs, such as 3D characters or other digital objects that can be used for interacting with the specific ecosystem.
The next major online LAND sale is scheduled for Q4 2021 in collaboration with famous rapper Snoop Dogg. The LANDs token from the Snoop Dogg collection will come with exclusive passes to online parties and other events starring the singer.
Snoop Dogg’s LANDs will list at a minimum price of 1,011 SAND (worth around $2,500 at current prices).
Snoop Dogg NFT sale. Source: Medium
As I mentioned earlier, the vertical rise in SAND token’s value has increased the risk of investing in the tokens right now.
Nevertheless, there could be an opportunity to get your hands on exclusive LAND drops as they could be worth a lot if the project replicates its success once again as it did with the PC version in the last decade.
How to Acquire LANDs?
For exclusive drops track the details of upcoming LAND sales on The Sandbox’s Github page here.
You need to have SAND tokens to participate in the LANDs sale or trading on the official website.
Buy SAND tokens from a centralized or decentralized exchange.
Now, register on The Sandbox website using your Metamask account and email address. Click on Sign In in the right-hand top corner.
Click on Metamask and Sign the transaction in your browser extension.
Creating an account on The Sandbox Source: sandbox.game
Enter your email address and create a nickname. You can trade for LANDs and other NFTs released by the Sandbox community from this marketplace.