The Sandbox (SAND) is a play-to-earn metaverse on the Ethereum blockchain built for those seeking to break free from the centralized constraints offered by traditional games. As talks of the metaverse continue to appear everywhere (yes, everywhere), The Sandbox is capitalizing on the momentum by introducing blockchain-based games and experiences owned by users.
Built for users, by users, The Sandbox is a virtual world where anything is possible. From buying digital real estate to VR clubbing with Deadmau5, The Sandbox provides a unique framework for the next generation of gamers.
However, The Sandbox provides more than just a place to play simple games. It’s creating an entirely new framework for how we build, share, and participate in virtual worlds. This guide to The Sandbox has everything you need to know about what the network is building and how to use SAND tokens.
Created in 2018 by Animoca Brands and founders Arthur Madrid and Sebastien Borget, The Sandbox was formed out of a growing need for decentralization in the gaming world. Gamers spend hundreds of hours in virtual worlds, yet they cannot sell or transfer precious in-game items.
Without a seat at the table, gamers are questioning sinking their time and energy into games in the absence of ownership or investment opportunities. Games like League of Legends, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and Fortnite are making headlines for in-game item sales, including the eye-watering $50 million in Fortnite skin sales wrapped up by Epic Games.
Enter The Sandbox. Gamers who have longed for digital ownership finally have that in The Sandbox metaverse. Every aspect of The Sandbox can be owned via a blockchain-backed proof of digital ownership, or NFT, meaning items are unique and belong to players. Whether it be a fantastically oversized sword or a ride in Rollercoaster Tycoon, users can prove asset ownership – and resell them too.
When you log in to The Sandbox for the first time, you’re faced with a vast array of gaming modes, experiences, and opportunities for building indie games. You can choose to build adventures, play games made by others, buy and sell digital goods, and much more – this digital world is your oyster.
In a nutshell, The Sandbox concept is all about providing people with the tools and infrastructure for creating digital experiences others can partake in. What that looks like in practice is you use The Sandbox Game Maker and VoxEdit software to create games and unique digital items that are stitched onto the fabric of The Sandbox metaverse. But don’t forget – any game you create belongs to you, which means fees paid by gamers to access the game come back to you, too.
So, with every new game that’s created by users like you, The Sandbox expands to offer players ever more worlds to explore and scarce digital items to own.
The Sandbox makes building games easy and intuitive without any coding experience necessary. Using its innovative VoxEdit software, you can create games with highly-detailed behaviors and attributes via nothing but drag and drop gestures.
After finishing up your game’s broad-strokes framework, you can dial it in by populating it with in-game assets in the form of voxel NFTs. The voxel NFTs you create might be characters, skins, or level-ups that let players further customize the gaming experience.
With VoxEdit, you essentially have access to a bundled workflow taking you from game developer to independent storefront within a single tool. That’s because you can optionally list the items you create directly to The Sandbox marketplace. As the community and playerbase grow, demand for creative and valuable items will too, leaving the door open for talented creators to make a living on their own terms.
To enjoy what others have been creating in The Sandbox metaverse, all you need to do is play. In 2021, the platform opened its Alpha: Season 1 which was, as the name suggests, similar to the first season of a new TV show. Alpha: Season 1 gave players a limited opportunity to join in The Sandbox metaverse, test games, earn rewards, and buy LAND (digital real-estate).
During Alpha: Season 1, over 200,000 players participated and The Sandbox distributed well over 15,000 in-game NFTs. Amongst the highlights were metaverse parties thrown by Snoop Dogg and Deadmau5 as well as digital LAND sales reaching well into the six figures.
In 2022, Season 2 is arriving with increased accessibility (this time, anyone can join), more play-to-earn games, and a new bundle of user-created experiences.
Don’t want to spend time creating your own items? Countless others are doing so for you in The Sandbox Marketplace. Once there, you’ll find myriad in-game NFTs for making your Alpha avatar stand out amongst the crowd. To buy NFTs in the Marketplace, you’ll need SAND tokens (more on that later).
The best aspect of the Marketplace comes in the form of financialization for creators. A whopping 95% of the proceeds from NFT sales go directly to creators, thus furthering an empowered decentralized economy wherein it pays to be creative.
The SAND token is The Sandbox’s native ERC-20 token and players used it across nearly every aspect of the game. Doubling as a governance token, players can use SAND to participate in coordinating and implementing decisions regarding The Sandbox’s future and resources.
Players can use SAND for a variety of in-game purposes, whether it be purchasing a plot of land, NFT assets, or playing a game created by another user. Every action in the game is tied to spending SAND. In other words, you need to pay to play, but you’re also paid back in SAND with play-to-earn features.
Additionally, creating games and custom experiences requires spending SAND tokens. So does customizing LAND you own within the metaverse.
Staking is one of the more common features in the crypto space; you stake your tokens to earn a yield on them. The Sandbox incentivizes stakers by rewarding them with Gems and Catalysts – both of which players need to create NFT assets.
The Sandbox also offers higher yields to active players of The Sandbox, taking the play-to-earn model a step further by integrating aspects of decentralized finance.
Another innovation that’s come from the crypto space is the widespread adoption of Decentralized Autonomous Organizations, or DAOs. A DAO is an organization of network participants who collectively decide the future of the network together through a shared common interest.
The Sandbox has a DAO of its own that requires you to hold SAND tokens for voting on and proposing key decisions. The way to make yourself eligible for voting (besides owning SAND) is to stake it – then, you can cast your vote along with other SAND holders.
Several ubiquitous brands are entering the metaverse space with plenty of noise. You probably don’t need a reminder that Facebook is now called Meta in a nod to its metaverse ambitions, but maybe you missed Adidas’ recent land grab within The Sandbox. The sportswear giant also launched an NFT wearables collection so that you can stroll around The Sandbox metaverse in an Adidas tracksuit.
All of this might leave you wondering whether The Sandbox is about gaming as much as it is about experiences. The latter is a word we’ve heard almost non-stop since Mark Zuckerberg’s keynote speech for Meta, but there seems to be substance there.
Games are just one part of a metaverse experience. As Snoop Dogg’s virtual concert showed, people are keen to do more than play – they want to do in the metaverse much of what they do in reality. The COVID pandemic helped build the case for metaverse since many aspects of normal life, such as concert-going and theme parks, are unavailable.
To that end, The Sandbox delivers a beta version of a digital second life. However, as its game-building technology becomes more sophisticated and its ecosystem grows, it might one day become the Ready Player One virtual reality we’ve been promised for years.
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