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DBS is first Singapore bank to enter metaverse in partnership with The Sandbox


SINGAPORE — DBS Group Holdings today announced a partnership with The Sandbox, a blockchain-based metaverse gaming platform, to create "DBS BetterWorld".

It is an interactive metaverse experience showcasing the importance of building a better, more sustainable world, and inviting others to come alongside.

The tie-up makes DBS the first Singapore company to seal a partnership with The Sandbox and the first bank in Singapore to enter into the metaverse, DBS said in a statement on Friday (9 September).

This also marks a new milestone in DBS' journey to continually explore the potential of Web 3.0 opportunities to benefit its customers and the broader community.

Under the partnership, DBS will acquire a 3×3 plot of LAND — or a unit of virtual real estate in The Sandbox metaverse — which will be developed with immersive elements.

Piyush Gupta, chief executive officer of DBS, said metaverse technology, while still evolving, could also fundamentally change the way banks interact with customers and communities.

"Given the speed of change, experimenting and learning-by-doing enable us to best test the potential of various technologies," Gupta said.

He said that over the last decade, the biggest changes in the world of finance have been catalysed by digital advancements, and that in the coming decade, driven by new technologies such as artificial intelligence and blockchain, these shifts have the potential to be even more profound.

DBS BetterWorld will be an additional platform for the bank to share about important environmental, social or governance (ESG) issues and shine a spotlight on communities and partners that are addressing them, he noted.

Championing ESG

For example, DBS will use the platform to profile social entrepreneurs in Asia who have been driving positive impact through innovative business models. Since 2014, DBS and the DBS Foundation have helped over 800 social enterprises across the region scale their businesses and awarded over S$10 million in grants to close to 100 social enterprises.

Additionally, DBS will work with partners and collaborators from the government, community, business, and technology sectors to develop meaningful concepts to enrich the DBS BetterWorld experience.

DBS will also explore opportunities to showcase DBS BetterWorld with LiveBetter, a one-stop digital platform that the bank launched in October 2021 to encourage more eco-conscious living among its customers. LiveBetter allows the customers to access tools including tips on sustainable living, channels to donate to causes and investment opportunities in sustainability-themed funds.

DBS will also partner with The Sandbox to purchase carbon offsets so that the land and production on DBS BetterWorld will be carbon neutral.

The Sandbox, a unit of Hong Kong-based Animoca Brands, said it welcomes DBS as the first bank in Singapore to step into the open metaverse and join their efforts to create the SingaporeVerse, a neighbourhood on its virtual map that will bring the culture of the country to life in the metaverse.

"ESG issues are important to us, and we look forward to collaborating on an experience that invites our audience to make a positive global impact, to discover the creative possibilities of our platform, and maybe to find their next life-changing opportunity in the metaverse," Sebastien Borget, a co-founder of The Sandbox and its chief operations officer, said.

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