Jan 26, 2024

The Sandbox co-founder and COO Sebastien Borget joins CoinDesk to discuss his outlook on a digital future, plans in India and insights on revolutionizing fan experiences and brand imaging in the metaverse.

Video transcript

Who do you think is going to win the Oscar for Best Picture this year? Something tells me it will be Barbie and then why I like it is because there's, it's almost like a metaverse by itself. It's a character from the story's world that comes to life into the physical world and comes back into it. So it's very imaginative, very creative. I hope it wins. Welcome. Welcome. Once again to first mover, I'm your host, Amit Singh Jen Sasi is out this week. Well, crypto is grabbing some headlines in Washington DC. Let's take a look at what politicians are saying about the digital asset space in a special news headline wrap, Rhonda Santi and Vivek Ramaswamy had the most to say about crypto in the 2024 presidential field. And as of this week, both returned to the political sidelines. The two had been the most strident Republican voices on digital assets issues with the centers promising to ban central bank digital currencies if elected President Rama Swami released a crypto plan that aims to protect core aspects of the industry. And this comes as former President Donald Trump said he would never allow the creation of A CBD C during a recent rally in New Hampshire, the Republican front runner credited former candidate Vivek Swami for the policy and Facebook parent company meta's efforts in the digital assets industry are being questioned by Congresswoman Maxine Waters. A letter from the lawmaker sent to the tech giant said it still has five active patents related to crypto despite the firm saying that it has no digital assets related work ongoing. This isn't the first time waters raised concerns about big tech companies jumping into crypto last year. She questioned paypal about their own stable coin coin. Des Jen Sei spoke with the sandbox, co founder and chief operating officer, Sebastian Borge last week to discuss what the future of digital worlds could look like. Let's watch. Well, I I have like this vision, uh actually two things in this vision like one is like anyone can like bring to life their imagination and they become a creator. So I think we have all that we need. Every human has a power to be a creator is just like, how do we reveal that talent? How do we provide with technology, the right tools so that it can find that and express it. And the second thing is I believe that we're still living in a world in even a digital world where things don't belong to. And this is a prehistoric age of actually the digital world. So I believe my kids will be growing and a world where they will feel like, oh, come on daddy or, or granddaddy. Like how possible was it like you bought things? You create things and they were not yours. You could not even use them anywhere else. You can transfer them somewhere else. This is so it doesn't make sense because we can do that all of that so seamlessly today. Like I cannot even imagine that it existed. You know, do you think in today's world, folks are incentivized to be their own creators or do you think a shift is needed to achieve this reality? You've just explained. I think like there is already a strong desire specifically within Gen Z to become creators. Like over 74% of Gen Z don't wanna like consume content passively. Their attention span is much uh shorter but it doesn't mean like they are not interested to the content. It means that just they want to interact with it differently, they want to change it, to customize it, to make it theirs. And that's really where like I believe like users rated content is the way forward. I don't see a future without user content and not just trimming what you see. Like this is the most basic form of like providing content on data online right now. I believe like anyone can create their own character, can create their own world, their own lovel in game, extend the life of what they like, participate and engage differently from the content they consume rather than watching it in a broadcasted way, just like we were watching TV, when we were kids, I guess, Sebastian, my question is, do you think people have time for that? I mean, I don't even have time to make tiktoks. I watch tiktoks passively. But when I think about creating my own content, it seems very overwhelming with everything else I have going on in life. How do you see life shifting? I think it's all about the quality of the tool and the simplicity of the user interface. Like if you just need to remix content that already exists and that's something that tiktok has really done. Great and why it grew so fast in popularity or if you just re re redraw repaint or you just now thanks to the progress of A I and Generative A I just text for content to come to life in a matter of seconds. Yes, like creativity is now being democratized and like it can become so much faster than you can do that in a matter of minutes and it becomes seamless. You don't even think about it anymore. It just comes Sebastian. You got off a plane very, very, very early this morning. Straight off the heels of the World Economic Forum in Davos, we've heard a lot come out of the World Economic Forum but not a lot about the metaverse and digital worlds. What kind of conversations did you have when you were there, I had a very interesting conversation that brought actually uh crypto A I Blockchain metaverse web free altogether and like shows like the crossing of technology and the importance that the people, the very cosmo polite audience that attend Davos, whether they are like public or private sector or whether they are uh like um entrepreneur or investors, how they want to make a long lasting impact in this world, how they want to drive change for like designing and driving a better world for the next generation and leveraging those technologies. And even if Blockchain is not the hype world or or metals is not the hype world. This year, there is a much better understanding of what it is, what it can do. And um people are like more like interested to put in place frameworks that allows the creator economy that allows uh like safe experience that allows like digital identity and privacy at the same time. And that understand how a technology like A I that's so powerful forgotten creation can also be respectful of like the data that it's actually um using to generate those LLM models actually. Who does that data belong to? And, and like, how do you uh properly credit the actual creators that uh like and the authors that contributed with our data and original content to others um generated content to your discussions. Did you find that uh I guess leaders of the financial world? Were forward thinking about these topics. I definitely think so. Uh And I, I think like the conversation are being like much more mature in that sense. Like it was not just like very theoretical but very practical uh topic regarding like the impact of the technology on job creation on the importance again of the data ownership, data privacy and say and the notion of digital identity for users. And I like II, I really, I think like there is a big step forward in how politics, public and private sector, large company finance sector, understand those technology. We're not in a world where they don't understand it anymore. And like things are going running wild and from the private sector is doing anything and no, like there is really a a strong and much better open dialogue, understanding the fort leader that build those platform like open A I etcetera, they are here, they are engaging those conversation. And I think that's something we've never seen before that in such a short amount of time this dialogue exists. And there is this uh desire to funeral innovation, create jobs, create value, allows entrepreneurship, develop digital skills, empower emerging economies. And at the same time allows the technology to be adopted with concrete use case and utilities. You mentioned digital identity. And I think this is going to be a big narrative this year, I think it's only going to become a hotter topic than it already is of course, we know people in this industry are are talking about it. But unpack that for us, what does digital identity practically mean? So our not the notion I like to think about digital I MC like physically metaverse, like we use our 3d character, an avatar to actually explore 3d special experiences. So the digital identity starts with like that character that is the representation of yourself. That's in the case of the actual world in all application, the digital identity is just like the account that you use to connect to access those services. And right now, most of the time that identity is linked to an email account, that email account, most of the time is actually hosted and owned by a platform like Google or other service providers. And you use that same account to connect across all those different services with the use of Blockchain, with the use of web free. The account that you use is no longer an email address controlled by a centralized private entity. It's actually the wallet and the wallet address or or the domain name on the Blockchain that's actually uh connected to that wallet address and it belongs to you. So it starts with like you own the entry point to all those services application and the actual words behind. And then you can you as you own it, you have that freedom in a seamless manner to continue connected to other decentralized application without having to ask permission behind it. But there are new questions that come from it like when you connect to those services and because Blockchain is public and transparent, what kind of data about yourself? Can you share online to those application and then comes the record the needs to ensure a certain level of privacy. For example, you might want to disclose your first name, but not your last name or you might want to disclose that you are actually adult and above the legal age to access certain services without actually giving your date of birth or other more private information. And that's where like the concept of digital identity starts taking s making more and more sense. How do we ensure both at the same time that we can identify very uniquely people from that information, the what it address that they are, who they claim to be, do the necessary verification, sometimes KYCML et cetera while ensuring the level of privacy. And this is a topic that was really strong at Davos and like many smart people are working and trying to address at the moment. I've been waiting since it was announced to ask you about this. I don't know. Last year the sandbox launched cinerama to incentivize folks to buy land. Uh and, and saying that, you know, if you participate in this land, you may have the ability to interact with some IP like black mirror or the walking dead. Talk to me about how you are, I guess bridging the gap between audiences for IP like Black Mirror like the walking Dead uh and introducing them to the metaverse because I think about myself watching Netflix, I'm passively consuming like you and I have spoken about a lot. How do you now get that passive consumer to understand what's going on to purchase land and to start becoming that participatory creator? Well, there's really two interesting things to consider first. Like what do we do when we organize those land sale or we create those neighborhood on this virtual map? That virtual world that is Sandor for those of you who don't know like the map of Sandbox is comprised of 100 6600 and 64 land. It was as unique as an NFT on the Blockchain, a digital asset that you can own and there will be never ever anymore. So instead of selling the whole map, right from the beginning, our approach has been like to create those neighborhoods, small region of the map that we curate together either by thematic or by region of the world, the magic like movies and Cinerama where we brought, like you said, um the Walking Dead um uh Sky Dance with Terminator Action City uh or um Dark Mirror. And we allow people to become the virtual neighbor, having a land next to those uh brand. And IP S when I think about like when I enjoy watching a show, what do I usually enjoy, I enjoy the characters. I enjoy the stories. I'm fan of like the imagination, the world around. I feel inspired. What does it mean to be fun? It's actually uh enjoying you and when you enjoy it, you want to share that most of the time. So you start talking about it at work with your friends. Have you seen it? Do you think? What do you think about this character? How do you understand what they did in the movie or, or like does it make sense and try to understand the plot, et cetera? How do you do that in a virtual world? How can you go beyond just like a voice of written conversation to express that you're fun? Can you do more things than just recommend the content you like most of the time people start making drawings, making like own videos on youtube, et cetera, but it's still two D flat content in the virtual world. They can like reimagine the world, they can extend the story, make their own prequel sequel with a character. They can uh like literally with the XCBO through the tools create and extend the whole universe surrounding their favorite shows. And that's what Cinerama as a land sale has been providing as an entry point for the fans of those shows like Peaky Blinder, Dark Mirror, et cetera. We are enabling them to invent their own stories using key elements, digital asset from the original uh license of the show and then remix it with their own content and character publish it on their land and allow other people to enjoy consuming, interacting that content. And we're going to introduce uh game jams. Video game competition was creative. The most talented users who invent the story will be rewarded by both the sandbox team and the jury composed from like people from the show and those shows, for example, those brands and will get featured on the land of the brand itself. And I think that's something really exciting when you think like what motivates me as a creator recognition, social statues and monetization. And those are three things that are possible on a platform like sandbox. It feels as you're explaining it almost like the next iteration of fan fiction. Uh So thank you for unpacking it like that for me. Let's let's talk about this India news though. It was surprising to me to read that sandbox wants to make India the largest market. Why, why that decision? Well, I I think like India has been already like uh showing the world like how strong it is as a country as one of like the most um dynamic provider of like engineer and software. And I think like almost 80% of the world's software is actually being provided by India today. And we felt like, well, India is a country that is very rich about culture. It has all this entertainment industry. Bollywood that's on par, if not bigger than Hollywood. Now it has all the musical industry. So it has this culture that brings music, movies, entertainment, uh heritage, food, uh tourism, et cetera. And if a platform like sandbox could just enable um Indians to express that creativity, that future through uh those uh local tool, it could actually reach other statues and not only be just like the, the the workforce provider for engineering and it but become also a creative hub from the world in terms of gaming and metas. And that's where like we really, that, that's where we came. The idea of launching Barra Box. We wanted to bring the best of what makes Indian culture, bring it to the world and allow to grow a a creator community in India, opening them access to all those new skills and the market is already so big. Like uh there's around um there's over 1 billion people in India they have or there's I think there's over 200 or 3 million people that have access to like computers like internet uh on their mobile. It's close. Uh It's one of the population that has great even on the countryside, they have the the the mobile penetration. So it's just a matter of time until like they are um those skills will be leveraged. Thanks to the deployment and the progress of technology. Well, thanks to Sebastian for joining us and moving on. Let's take a look at the chart of the day. The chart of the day is presented by crypto.com, the leading crypto platform trusted by over 80 million users worldwide. Today, we're getting a wipe check on Bitcoin. The coin desk indices is Bitcoin. Trend indicator aims to help investors determine where the price of Bitcoin is going. It recently turned to neutral. After previously signaling a significant uptrend earlier this month, the price of Bitcoin has fallen roughly 20% from its peak after the long awaited spot. Bitcoin ETF approvals in the US coin desk in this is head of research Todd Growth Notes. This suggests the market expected greater short term ETF inflows and highlights why position sizing is so key in this emergent and volatile asset class? Well, thanks for joining first mover this morning and thank you to our guest Sebastian Borge as a note, we sometimes edit interviews and first mover for clarity and consistency. We are on a journey to make this show exactly what you want. So if you have any feedback and suggestions, just message coin desk on X.

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