Could Big Tech Threaten a Decentralized Metaverse? The Sandbox Co-founder Says Yes

Sebastien Borget told Blockworks that trillion dollar companies may have brought mainstream attention to the metaverse but many aren’t aligned with its fully decentralized vision

article-image

THE SANDBOX CO-FOUNDER SEBASTIEN BORGET. SOURCE: BLOCKWORKS

share

key takeaways

  • Borget said an open metaverse allows users to own their personal data
  • The metaverse is all about technology and if large corporations keep rebranding what they’ve been doing for years then they aren’t building a better internet, according to Borget

It’s no secret that big tech has placed enormous bets on the metaverse.

In October, Facebook parent company Meta Platforms Inc. announced a multi-billion dollar investment into the metaverse and even changed its corporate name to reflect the company’s ambition of onboarding a billion people into the nascent world. A month later, Microsoft Inc. said its new product, Mesh for Microsoft Teams, will be “the gateway to the metaverse.”

So is it the billionaires’ battle to dominate the metaverse or will the virtual realm be owned by its participants and creators? Sebastien Borget, co-founder and COO of The Sandbox, hopes for the latter. 

“You can recognize that [these companies] brought more mainstream attention to the metaverse, but this is at the risk of deceiving users,” Bourget said in an interview with Blockworks. 

“They have a responsibility to build a better future for us and for the next generation of technology,” Bourget said. “The metaverse is all about technology and if the large corporations keep building the same thing [as in] just rebranding what they’ve been doing for years [then] they are not building a better internet.” 

The Sandbox, a play-to-earn blockchain-based game that has amassed 30,000 monthly active users, allows players to contribute to virtual worlds and own digital assets without a central authority, unlike large corporations such as Meta. 

The Sandbox aims to be a part of an open metaverse, meaning that players can travel seamlessly through different platforms and can carry their assets with them. (Imagine jumping from Roblox to Fortnite with your skins and NFTs in your wallet.)

The open metaverse is an interoperable shared space that does not derive its power from a few large companies, explained Dapper Labs CEO Roham Gharegozlou.

 “The software governing our digital lives will be transparent and run on public blockchains, not private servers: accessible to anyone, trusted by everyone, and controlled by the people that use it — not the people that made it,” Gharegozlou, wrote in a recent Medium post

Out with the old Web2

Borget said the open metaverse is about leaving an older version of the internet behind (often referred to as Web2) through the use of decentralized technologies like cryptocurrency, specifically citing Meta’s reputation for harvesting user data. 

Facebook was previously sued during the Cambridge Analytica scandal in Oct. 2020, when data from roughly 87 million users was used to allegedly manipulate US elections. In response, CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified in front of Congress and the Federal Trade Commission fined the company $5 billion.

“This is a closed environment that is still built on the concept of Web2 where users are the product, are being monetized and being tracked,” Bourget said. “This is happening in order to serve the [companies] better, have more targeted ads and try to sell products. It’s a very limited vision.”

Separating itself further from traditional companies, The Sandbox will soon be governed via a decentralized autonomous organization, also called a DAO. Players who own its native SAND token will have voting rights and can make proposals on various decisions in its ecosystem, according to the platform’s whitepaper.

“It’s important for us to keep educating people on why if they spend real money they should own their digital assets [and] should be rewarded for the value they create in the metaverse,” Borget said.


Get the day’s top crypto news and insights delivered to your inbox every evening. Subscribe to Blockworks’ free newsletter now.


Tags

Upcoming Events

Hilton Metropole | 225 Edgware Rd, London

Mon - Wed, March 18 - 20, 2024

Crypto’s premier institutional conference returns to London in March 2024. The DAS: London Experience: Attend expert-led panel discussions and fireside chats Hear the latest developments regarding the crypto and digital asset regulatory environment directly from policymakers and experts.

Salt Lake City, UT

WED - FRI, OCTOBER 9 - 11, 2024

Pack your bags, anon — we’re heading west! Join us in the beautiful Salt Lake City for the third installment of Permissionless. Come for the alpha, stay for the fresh air. Permissionless III promises unforgettable panels, killer networking opportunities, and mountains […]

recent research

Top Icon.png

Research

Osmosis thrived in H2 2023 on the back of increased DeFi activity deriving from recently launched Cosmos-related projects and better market conditions. With new value accrual mechanisms for the native token, Osmosis is well-positioned to continue its strong performance in 2024.

/

article-image

Dencun was activated on all testnets, a blog post Tuesday said

article-image

Hut 8 also announced it broke ground on a Texas mining site

article-image

Uniswap aims to become a “complete platform for swapping” following its latest product releases

article-image

Continued demand for bitcoin ETFs coupled with greater demand for bitcoin from exchanges is contributing to price moves, analysts say

article-image

Morpho Blue is designed in a way where risk management is externalized, Morpho Labs’ CEO said

article-image

Snowflake, a cloud-based data warehouse solution, has partnered with Dune to make curated blockchain data available to its clients