DBS – Southeast Asia’s largest bank – has inked a partnership with decentralised gaming virtual world The Sandbox to create an interactive metaverse experience called DBS BetterWorld, which also forms part of its sustainability agenda.
As part of the partnership, the bank will acquire a 3×3 plot of LAND – virtual real estate in The Sandbox – to use as a carbon-neutral space showcasing the “importance of building a more sustainable world, while highlighting Asian social entrepreneurs who are making a positive impact through innovative business models,” the bank said an announcement on Friday.
DBS said it hopes to partner with both the public and private sectors to “develop meaningful concepts” that enrich the BetterWorld experience.
“Metaverse technology, while still evolving, could also fundamentally change the way banks interact with customers and communities. Given the speed of change, experimenting and learning-by-doing enable us to best test the potential of various technologies,” DBS CEO Piyush Gupta said in the announcement.
In a conversation Blockhead, George Wong, growth lead at The Sandbox, said the platform is looking to partner with major Singapore brands including “telco companies Singtel, Starhub, and usual suspects like airlines and banks.“
“The reason why I say these brands is not because we are just targeting traditional companies, but these are brands that I believe give the local market a certain measure of confidence. Typically in every market, we try to have that.
Wong cited strong interest among potential partners in Singapore, saying the platform is “having a lot of advanced discussions” with household names. “Hopefully we can bring in these names that gives the market bit of confidence so the rest of the market will want to jump in.”
Future of banking?
The metaverse, or virtual worlds in which users will experience the future iteration of the internet known as Web 3.0, is estimated to reach US$800 billion globally by 2024, according to Bloomberg Intelligence.
J.P. Morgan, led by bitcoin skeptic Jamie Dimon, was the first Wall Street bank to arrive in the metaverse, launching a virtual lounge called Onyx (the name of the bank’s blockchain division) in Decentraland’s Metajuku district in February.
Earlier this year, the private banking arm of HSBC launched a discretionary managed portfolio for metaverse opportunities for high net worth (HNW) and ultra-high net worth (UHNW) professional investor and accredited investor clients in Asia, and acquired a plot of LAND in The Sandbox for its engagement efforts.