Big Tech poses a threat to a decentralized metaverse, according to the founder of The Sandbox

Big Tech poses a threat to a decentralized metaverse, according to the founder of The Sandbox
A portion of a map of The Sandbox metaverse.The Sandbox
  • Big Tech poses a threat to the open metaverse, The Sandbox's co-founder told The South China Morning Post.
  • Sebastien Borget said the metaverse is about leaving the internet's old guard behind via decentralized technologies.

The decentralized metaverse, where users have a say in how a community or platform is run, is at risk from Big Tech companies seeking to jump into the burgeoning space, the co-founder of The Sandbox warned.

Sebastien Borget, who serves as the metaverse platform's chief operating officer, told The South China Morning Post in a report published late Monday his chief consideration is how to defend the foundation of an open metaverse from companies like Meta. Meta recently changed its name from Facebook to reflect its focus on building the burgeoning virtual world in which more people are working and playing through avatars.

Borget said the metaverse is about leaving the old guard of the internet behind through the use of decentralized technologies like cryptocurrencies and blockchain.

"Our goal is to build an open metaverse that can stand against what we call competition that is the Web 2.0 metaverses," said Borget.

The SCMP noted that Chinese tech heavyweights Tencent and NetEase have also been working on capitalizing on the next iteration of the internet.


But many crypto and blockchain enthusiasts see Big Tech firms as enemies of a decentralized metaverse, the report added.

"We don't think those companies can build something truly fun that's catered to the users because they've been so focused on their key business model and how to satisfy shareholders rather than satisfy users who own the asset, who own the governance of their own platform," Borget told SCMP, which has a partnership with The Sandbox with an aim to build experiences.

The Sandbox lets gamers create a virtual world and monetize digital assets, such as NFTs, or non-fungible tokens.

The platform is on track in 2022 to be governed by a decentralized autonomous organization, or DAO, through which users can propose changes and vote on such proposals. Its "sand" cryptocurrency, which has shot up by more than 9,000% over the past year, will be used as a voting mechanism.

The Sandbox and similar sites recently have been thrust into the media spotlight, in part because of an acceleration of metaverse deals. In a record-setting $4.3 million sale last month, a virtual land developer bought a large group of parcels on The Sandbox from videogame publisher Atari SA.


Borget in a recent interview with Insider said the boom in virtual land deals has bought total sales at The Sandbox to $211 million since 2019.