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  5. [REVIEW] : Why does an insurer enter the metaverse?

[REVIEW] : Why does an insurer enter the metaverse?



[REVIEW] : Why does an insurer enter the metaverse?


Specialized in insurance, Axa France bought a plot in the virtual world of The Sandbox to study the opportunities.

The metaverse is attracting more and more players from different sectors. After the banks having recently expressed their interest in this virtual world, it is now the turn of the insurance sector. On February 18, Axa France announced its launch into the adventure by acquiring a plot in The Sandbox, a decentralized virtual game world. “We arrive in The Sandbox, AXA becomes the 1st French insurer in the metaverse. See you soon,” the band said on Twitter.

The insurer wishes, among other things, to create spaces for sharing for its talents and its customers. “We decided to establish ourselves in the metaverse, to offer our talents the opportunity to meet in this new virtual world and explore its uses. As an insurance leader, it is our responsibility to take part in major technological advances to imagine the insurance of the future,” said Patrick Cohen, CEO of Axa France in a press release.

The projects of French actors in The Sandbox

To invent the insurance of tomorrow, the group relies on its “Tech, Digital and Data” community, which it plans to expand by recruiting hundreds of new talents this year. He believes that the metaverse presents several opportunities in terms of encounters and interactions for this community. Axa France will be supported by the consulting firm Excelsior and the production studio Metaverse Studio for the development of the land it has purchased.

The insurer is not the only French player to be interested in the virtual world, and in particular that of The Sandbox. The latter also attracts the retail sector, with Carrefour buying land there at the end of January. More recently, the C****o group unveiled its projects, giving a first glimpse of its gaming experience created for Club Leader Price customers in decentralized gaming. Its members will soon be able to try out a food-themed game, in which they will win vouchers or discounts to spend on the Club Leader Price website or e-commerce application. The group plans to develop other projects with its various brands in the future. If he launched into the metaverse, it is in particular to offer hybrid experiences, combining physical and virtual shops, to consumers.

Metavers: All about The Sandbox, this virtual world cut out for NFTs and virtual real estate

Ever since Facebook changed its name to Meta, the metaverse has been on everyone’s lips. This concept, which is nothing new, is perceived by more and more companies as the future of the Web. Mainly because these half-virtual, half-real worlds would offer new business opportunities. But Meta doesn’t have a monopoly on the metaverse: several platforms have been around for quite some time. This is the case of The Sandbox, which is increasingly talked about, for a simple and good reason: it is an already well-structured universe, where many brands, brands and celebrities already have “ virtual plots. A virtual world where everything revolves around the blockchain and NFTs, these non-fungible tokens that are currently at the heart of wild speculation. If it’s still unclear for you, follow us, we’ll explain everything.

What is the metaverse?

As we explained to you recently, the metaverse is a concept presented as an evolution of the Internet. Basically, one or more online spaces where users can meet, work and play through avatars. Shared and persistent virtual universes (which persist when you leave them), as is already the case with Minecraft, Fortnite, or even Second Life, a social and gaming platform that has existed for almost 20 years. But worlds which should also and above all, promise Mark Zuckerberg and Satya Nadella, the bosses of Facebook / Meta and Microsoft, be ever more immersive thanks to virtual / augmented reality headsets, smartphones, computers and the cloud.

What most distinguishes the metaverse imagined and prophesied by the current gurus of Silicon Valley from the one we already knew through Second Life and Minecraft, is the possibility of projecting oneself (in the form of an avatar) into a virtual world parallel to the real world, with neighborhoods, parks, clubs, but also brands and commercial signs. Thus, investors are already spending considerable sums on virtual plots of land. Barbados has even announced that it wishes to have an embassy in the metaverse.

The Sandbox, how does it work?

For now, Horizon Worlds, the metaverse of Meta, leaves a little to be desired. Even if a virtual concert was organized there in the fall of 2022, for the moment, there is not much to be found there yet. Other companies like Microsoft, Apple, Sony, Epic Games, Qualcomm, Nvidia, Valve, and HTC are working on metaverses, but these are still only abstract projects. So much so that we can legitimately wonder about what could one day structure the metaverse(s).

There are, however, some more successful metaverse experiments from a commercial point of view, and where brands and celebrities have been flocking for a few months for this reason. In addition to the possibility of playing and recreating social networks in VR by interacting with others virtually, The Sandbox platform stands out above all because it already allows you to buy (in cryptocurrency) virtual plots, in the form of NFTs. “Certified” digital lands, because registered in the blockchain in the form of unique cryptographic tokens, where everything should be allowed tomorrow. Including building virtual houses (where to receive friends, in the form of avatars), but also and above all, places to consume.

As its name suggests, The Sandbox is a “sandbox”, in other words a virgin playground, to be exploited by Internet users. Here, a video game with no specific goal, whose only object is the interaction with virtual objects and other players. This will probably remind you of Second Life, where you could evolve with a virtual avatar with other players, and participate in events of all kinds. But this platform goes further, in the commercial opportunities offered.

The Sandbox has existed since 2010: originally, it was a mobile game (developed by the French studio Pixowl), a “game Maker” allowing you to create your own (and without computer development knowledge) your own fun experiences. On the same principle as Minecraft and Roblox, users can create their own levels and play those of others. As in Animal Crossing, players can design their own objects using a creation tool. But these objects become NFTs (non-fungible tokens), which can therefore be marketed and resold.

Acquired 4 years ago by the Hong Kong group Animoca Brands, The Sandbox has finally gone to another level. The cubic video game has metamorphosed into a blockchain-based “metaverse”: this sandbox is now an immense virtual land, parts of which can be acquired by buying them in cryptocurrencies (Ethereum). The plots are recorded in the blockchain; technology that makes it possible to certify, via a complex calculation, the authenticity and exclusivity of any purchase.

On The Sandbox, each owner can use their “land” as they see fit. The pieces of virtual land acquired can be used “to broadcast games, create multi-player experiences, housing, or even communities”, explains the platform. Currently, 19,000 people own plots in The Sandbox. Their shares represent 70% of the game card, according to the specialized site Cryptoast. There are still 35,000 “LANDS” (out of 166,000) to be acquired, in the form of NFTs, for an average cost of 12,000 US dollars (about 10,600 euros). Among these 19,000 LANDS owners, brands are present at 15 to 20%.

What are brands doing on The Sandbox?

Among the 170 brands present on The Sandbox, we find Ubisoft, Warner Music, Adidas, or Gucci. On The Sandbox, Adidas has been marketing since December 2021 NFTs purchasable in Ethereum (up to 0.2 ETH per unit, or 700 euros). These NFTs give them “exclusive access” to digital accessories that can be used in the game, but also to physical products. Thus, the members of this restricted “club” can, for example, buy unpublished Adidas sweatshirts. For its part, Gucci offers on The Sandbox access to a virtual version of “Gucci Vault”, a concept store that allows you to buy unique and historical pieces from the Italian brand. It will thus soon be possible to buy “NFT Gucci”; electronic clothing (but unique), which can be “worn” to his avatars. Note that the brand also organizes virtual exhibitions of young artists.