DBS Bank Ltd., the largest lender in Southeast Asia, said it has partnered with The Sandbox, a blockchain-based metaverse gaming platform, to build new services for clients in the 3D virtual world that uses digital avatars. 

DBS is the first company in Singapore to sign a partnership with The Sandbox, a unit of Hong Kong-based Animoca Brands, and the first bank in the city-state to enter the metaverse, DBS said in a statement. 

It added it will develop “DBS BetterWorld” in The Sandbox as part of exploring Web3 opportunities to benefit customers. 

See related article: What is the metaverse and are we already living inside it?

“Over the last decade, the biggest changes in the world of finance have been catalyzed by digital advancements,” Piyush Gupta, chief executive officer of DBS, said in the statement. 

“In the coming decade, driven by new technologies, such as artificial intelligence and blockchain, these shifts have the potential to be even more profound. Metaverse technology, while still evolving, could also fundamentally change the way banks interact with customers and communities,” he said. 

DBS joins other banks exploring business opportunities in the metaverse. In February, JP Morgan said it was the first bank in the virtual world and opened a lounge in Decentraland. A month later, HSBC joined The Sandbox metaverse to engage with sports and gaming fans. 

Elsewhere in Asia, Union Bank of India launched the “Uni-Verse,” its metaverse virtual lounge, in which customers can get details on loans and other banking products.

DBS said it will acquire a 3×3 plot of land, or a unit of virtual real estate in The Sandbox metaverse. The bank said it would partner with The Sandbox to purchase carbon offsets so that the land and production on DBS BetterWorld will be carbon neutral.

“We welcome DBS to The Sandbox as the first bank in Singapore to step into the open metaverse and join our efforts to create the SingaporeVerse, a neighbourhood on our virtual map that will bring the culture of Singapore to life in the metaverse,” Sebastien Borget, a co-founder of The Sandbox and chief operations officer, said in the statement.