This week, crypto exchange giant Binance announced it was buying 4,012 parcels of LAND, non-fungible tokens (NFTs) that represent digital real estate in The Sandbox, a virtual world and decentralized gaming project built on Ethereum.
The move, which has no precedent in the cryptoeconomy, comes on the heels of Binance Launchpad facilitating a $3 million token raise for The Sandbox’s SAND utility token last month.
The LAND buyup is a big validating splash both for the rising NFT economy, which, like DeFi, has trended toward red-hot status this year, and for The Sandbox, which is one of the brightest upstarts in the NFT market’s promising blockchain gaming sector.
New Kinds of Experiences for Binance Users
Binance is planning to use it’s new LAND holdings to build “social gaming experiences” throughout The Sandbox and to reward some of its LAND to creators who create great games for contests around The Sandbox Game Maker.
The blossoming partnership between Binance and The Sandbox indicates that NFTs and blockchain gaming are serious and growing areas of interest for the powerhouse crypto exchange, a reality also reflected in growing public comments on these topics by Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao.
On the news of the mass LAND acquisition, Zhao said:
“It is clear that blockchain technology has great potential in the gaming industry. It provides significant improvements for gamers and developers, especially in regard to decentralization, transparency, and interoperability. Binance is taking a step further to demonstrate that blockchain technology can bring mainstream adoption into gaming through our collaboration with The Sandbox. Together we work on a brand-new field of entertainment that brings more freedom to players.”
A Mainstream Tipping Point?
NFT-based gaming projects like The Sandbox have enjoyed considerable interest and growth this year. Yet having such a massive crypto brand like Binance on board offers a great opportunity to achieve much wider adoption, said The Sandbox co-founder and COO Sebastian Borget:
“Welcoming Binance into our metaverse is a significant step toward broader adoption of NFTs in the decentralized economy by the community of Binance users. One of the greatest strengths of The Sandbox virtual world is the fact that creators can build, own and monetize games alongside gaming giants such as Atari, Square Enix, and now Binance as well!”
Let the Games Begin
DeFi may have dominated cryptoeconomy headlines so far this year, but the NFT sector has also been one of the ecosystem’s brighter spots in recent months. Notably, blockchain gaming projects have driven a considerable portion of the fresh growth in and around the NFT space.
For example, a few weeks ago the NFT market’s total sales crossed the $100 million USD milestone for the first time ever. That’s still small relatively speaking, but many of these sales have come from rising gaming projects like The Sandbox, Axie Infinity, Sorare, and beyond that open up possibilities for new kinds of virtual economies and communities.
However, it’s not only cryptonative upstarts that are breaking ground and exploring the possibilities of blockchain-powered gaming.
On September 8th, news broke that mainstream gaming titan Activision was awarded a patent for a blockchain-based game data management system, which could be used for:
“[…] aggregating user results, rankings and statistical data associated with playing video games across two or more games, normalizing the aggregated data to unified values and presenting the aggregated and unified data via an interface, such that data from one game may be fairly combined and/or compared to data from another game.”
Notably, Activision’s patent envisions this system paving the way for virtual assets to be scored and traded fairly across games and platforms. And if Activision is thinking of such a system, you can bet other gaming giants are going to follow through in exploring the unique innovations that blockchain tech have to offer.