New Crypto On The Block(Chain): PwC Purchases Digital Real Estate NFT

Cryptocurrencies have exploded into public awareness recently, with new apps and services enabling nearly anybody to buy, sell, and trade digital assets. No longer the stuff of dark corners of the internet, consumers are beginning to embrace the potential of blockchain-based

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virtual products, with businesses investing in products and services based on the new technology. As part of that trend, one Big Four firm has recently stepped into the digital real estate market by purchasing a non-fungible token (NFT) for virtual land in The Sandbox.

Most NFTs are part of the Ethereum blockchain. While digital entities such as images can easily be downloaded, copied, altered, and shared, NFTs are designed to provide something that can’t be copied: ownership of the work. Like famous art, nearly anyone can buy a print, but only one person can own the original. This has the effect of creating virtual markets where NFTs can be bought and sold, with some digital products fetching millions of dollars.

The Sandbox is a game for mobile phones and Microsoft Windows, released by Pixowl in 2012 and acquired by Animoca Brands in 2018. The game was pivoted into a retro-style pixelated world where users can buy plots of virtual LAND, develop it, and eventually sell it to others. A number of promotional partners like businesses and celebrities have gotten in on the action, with PwC joining them with its recent purchase.

While the cost was not publicly disclosed, crypto bloggers have been claiming that PwC’s Hong Kong arm plans on building a Web 3.0 advisory hub to facilitate a new generation of professional services like accounting and taxation. The move likely connects with past comments made by members of the firm. In 2021, PwC’s crypto leader Henri Arslanian noted that venture capital funds were using their financial clout to shut out smaller businesses’ participation and investment in crypto startups. It’s possible that PwC’s move to The Sandbox is geared toward better connecting with startups and benefiting from developing their investments.

Sebastien Borget, Chief Operating Officer of The Sandbox, said of PwC’s arrival, "The metaverse is open for business. We welcome PwC Hong Kong to experience how The Sandbox fosters new immersive experiences and ways for brands to connect with customers.”