Virtual Assets Investment Opens Opportunity to H.K. Residents, While Adrian Cheng Invests in Sandbox

As residents in Hong Kong struggle to purchase physical property due to high housing prices, The Sandbox’s virtual assets could be a lucrative investment opportunity for many. - 2021-12-10T123603.162.jpg

The Hong Kong-based billionaire and property tycoon Adrian Cheng Chi-kong, son of Henry Cheng Kar-shun, Adrian’s addition of virtual real estate to his portfolio of investments via The Sandbox has led the way for giant investors and the general public to establish a foothold in this new world.

Adrian Cheng, who also is the CEO and executive vice-chairman of New World Development, said:

“I’m excited to enter the metaverse through The Sandbox. Providing platforms for the next generation to be empowered to create, innovate and feel part of something that’s paving the way for the future is critical to progress; The digital world is constantly evolving and we need to stay at the forefront of these changes by continuously exploring and developing the metaverse.”

The Sandbox is a leading decentralised gaming virtual world and subsidiary of Animoca Brands, where users can buy virtual real-estate, called LAND NFTs (non-fungible tokens), in the open metaverse.

Metaverse is a shared virtual world where users can socialise, play games, live as an avatar and try out the latest fashion from their couch. Users buy these virtual items using cryptocurrency that are backed by NFTs or other digital assets. 

Investors can also buy properties and develop their assets much like in the real world where users can buy their games and items from. The Sandbox has also been fueling the recent growth of virtual real-estate demand having partnered with major IPs and brands.

Speaking through a statement from Cheng’s office, Adrian’s LAND  will be one of the biggest plots in The Sandbox. His plot will also form part of the ‘Mega City’ virtual world, which will include Adrian’s Innovation Hub, where successful start-ups that he personally supported from the Greater Bay Area (GBA) in China Guangdong Province, will have a space to sell their products via the GBA Pavilion.

GBA start-ups to be featured in Adrian’s Innovation Hub include Aesir, Casetify, Lalamove, DayDayCook, Prenetics, Raspect, Rice Robotics, Rooftop Republic, Undone and V Cycle.

The statement also said that the GBA Pavilion will inspire and encourage entrepreneurs and the featured companies will offer entertainment, exclusive NFTs and immersive experiences.

An alternative way to invest property

Costly housing price becomes a challenging issue among the local residents in the city, compared to other major countries and regions worldwide. Although prices slipped 0.4 per cent to 396.3 in September, according to an index by the Rating and Valuation Department, for many residents investing in property is still sky-high. Owning property has been described as a mission impossible. In light of that situation, virtual assets are propped up for many to explore. 

In this new opportunity, Hong Kong residents can create immersive 3D worlds and game experiences and safely store, trade, and monetize their creations in The Sandbox Metaverse’s decentralized and intuitive platform.

Currently, around a third of Hong Kong residents have invested in, or used, cryptocurrency as a medium of exchange, the second-highest engagement with the new asset class among developed markets surveyed by credit card company Visa, according to local media South China Morning Post reported.

Yat Siu, co-founder and executive chairman of Animoca Brands, commented: “Adrian is one of the most influential leaders in business, real estate, arts and culture in Hong Kong and the region, and we are thrilled that he is joining The Sandbox to bring his unique perspective and to help add and shape new transformative experiences to the open metaverse.”

Image source: Shutterstock


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Digital land in Decentraland sells for $913K… to a virtual property developer

A virtual plot of real estate situated within the Ethereum-based open-world game, Decentraland, has sold for more than $913,000 — valuing the intangible property on par with the average price of a real world house in Brooklyn, New York.

Virtual real estate is sold in the form of nonfungible tokens (NFTs) dubbed LAND in Decentraland, with the digital plot being sold to virtual real estate-focussed investment firm, Republic Realm. The plot actually represents 259 parcels of digital land, with the transaction settling for 1,295,000 of Decentraland’s native MANA tokens — worth roughly $913,000 at the time of sale.

On Twitter, the investment firm emphasized its commitment to building on the virtual real estate and adding value to Decentraland’s metaverse.

Decentraland allows players to explore its crypto-powered metaverse, offering an experience akin to a blend between Minecraft and Second Life but with true ownership over in-game items and a player-driven in-game economy.

Republic Realm is a division of online investment platform Republic, which has secured backing from notable investors including Binance, Galaxy Digital’s Galaxy Interactive, and AngelList. The division accepts investment from accredited investors on an invitation-only basis, limiting its backers to 99 entities.

On its website, Republic Realm asserts that “people are spending increasingly more time in virtual worlds,” adding:

“At the intersection of emerging technology like virtual reality and blockchain, developers, investors, and hobbyists alike are creating a vibrant digital real estate market.”

Related: As NFT market cools, a chance to learn lessons from its explosive growth

According to data provided by NFT data aggregator, NonFungible, the sale is the largest in the history of Decentraland in dollar terms, beating out a roughly $704,000 transaction that was recorded on May 28.

However when measuring LAND trades by their price in MANA, Republic Realm’s buy is the eighth-largest in the game’s history, with one virtual plot having sold for 2.7 million MANA during November 2018 (roughly $211,000 at the time).

In February, rival crypto gaming metaverse, The Sandbox, recorded a virtual land sale worth roughly $2 million, making it the largest sale of crypto-powered digital real estate in history.

NonFungible ranks Decentraland as the fourth-largest NFT project by weekly sales volume, hosting $1.3 million worth of NFT transactions over 335 trades for the past seven days. Decentraland ranks sixth for all-time volume, hosting $64.6 million worth of trades over nearly 126,000 transactions.

Pioneering NFT project CryptoPunks currently dominates NonFungible’s rankings, driving roughly $4.15 million over 72 transactions this past week, and $356 million over its 13,749 all-time sales.

However, according to fellow NFT data aggregator, CryptoSlam, CryptoPunks is the fourth-largest NFT by weekly volume, sitting behind Axie Infinity’s $23 million in transactions, NBA Top Shot’s $16.7 million in trade, and Bored Ape Yacht Club’s $7.3 million worth of weekly sales.