Metaverse platform The Sandbox is aiming to make India its largest market within the next 2 years after entering the nation earlier this year through a joint venture with a local entity, a first for the subsidiary of metaverse gaming and venture capital giant Animoca Brands.
“We want to build a diverse and inclusive world with no borders, bringing different regions of the world together, and with that vision in mind, a year ago, we started out in India to establish a joint venture,” Sandbox Co-Founder Sebastien Borget told CoinDesk in an interview in India’s southern city of Bengaluru earlier this month.
The joint venture between Brinc, a global venture accelerator and The Sandbox was announced in Feb. 2023 and led to the creation of BharatBox, a cultural metaverse hub for India that encompasses Bollywood, India’s famous Hindi cinema industry too.
“The Indian entity of The Sandbox is BharatBox,” said Karan Keswani, CEO of BharatBox. “BharatVerse is the Indian land on The Sandbox map.”
Its ambitions for India come at a time when lawmakers have asked the Web3 industry to decouple itself from crypto. India’s crypto industry has been in survival mode after the nation imposed stiff taxes in 2022. For a Web3 gaming giant to foray into India despite the regulatory clouds is reflective of the interest in the nation’s gaming and developer promise.
“We are ready to engage with and help regulators to discuss the space,” Borget said.
In the past six months, BharatBox has signed 25 Indian partners, including Eros Entertainment, Hungama and Shemaroo, three legacy media entertainment companies in Indian cinema. But the one partnership that Keswani expects will catapult India into The Sandbox’s largest market is the one with CoinDCX, a prominent Indian exchange.
“Our strategic ecosystem partnership with CoinDCX and the Web3 wallet Okto gives us exposure to their 16 million users,” said Keswani. “Globally, The Sandbox has five million wallets. Along with CoinDCX and Okto, we’re confident of bringing three to four million gamers through their Okto community, and that’s our vision, to onboard those users within 24 months, and then India will be The Sandbox’s largest market.”
CoinDCX and Okto co-founder Neeraj Khandelwal told CoinDesk that “Okto is glad to be working with one of the best players in the Metaverse and gaming ecosystem to help them get a strong footing in India."
Most of the partnerships are contract and land partner agreements that will allow the company to use its acquired Land NFTs in the open metaverse to build gamified experiences in The Sandbox dedicated to India, such as a recent one to bring India’s epic Mahabharat to the Metaverse.
BharatBox is also working towards bringing the wider portfolio of Animoca Brands to India to provide other Web3 solutions such as ticketing and blockchain gaming.
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