Welcome to our Game Creators interview series, where we feature creators and members of The Sandbox community, giving them a platform to share their stories.
In this edition of Game Creators, we speak with Aurélien alias Urkann, a real-world real estate investor who has become a LAND mogul in The Sandbox after seeing the potential for true ownership of NFTs (non-fungible tokens) in the virtual metaverse. Let’s see what he can tell us about how investment in the virtual world compares to investment in the physical world…
Can you tell us about your background?
I am a former soldier from the French Navy. I did a few years and then converted to private security as a close protection officer. But ever since my childhood I have always been drawn to entrepreneurship. And, concerned about wanting the best for my children, I ended up getting into real estate because it is an undeniable safe haven for me. One thing led to another, and I launched other businesses both in France and abroad. I am also passionate about video games and the world of cryptocurrencies.
What initially attracted you to The Sandbox?
I’ve been interested in cryptocurrencies since 2013, and I really looked into it during the first COVID-19 lockdown here in France. And as a real estate investor and a gamer, true ownership that NFTs offer was the first reason I plunged into The Sandbox.
I remember when I played World of Warcraft when I was younger. All the time I spent on the game to get the best Legendary weapon, the best armor… was in fact a loss. When I stopped playing, every single minute I played the game, every character I played was lost !
Now with NFTs you can really monetize your time spent on the game.
With The Sandbox, it was natural for me to invest in virtual LANDS as I believe I will be able to get yield from it.
How easy/difficult was it for you to get started?
It was really easy. I was first looking for a secondary market to buy LANDS because I missed the first three presales. So I did just like in real life, looking all day long for good locations and good deals. This is my life, so I did pretty well in buying LANDS. Now I’m proud to be in the top 4 LAND owners with more than 1,150 LANDS, behind only Binance, Atari, and WhaleShark.
When did you purchase your first LAND?
When I first heard about NFTs and The Sandbox, as a real estate investor and adventurer it was totally natural for me to invest in virtual LANDS.
I am convinced that the future of investing in NFTs, and especially in the virtual lands of successful video games, is bright.
I am shocked to see the current ROI on the LANDS I own. For example my 24×24 ESTATE bought for $15,000 USD during the presale already got offers from other business owners. The best I have at the moment is 200 ETH (almost $264,000 USD at the time of writing so it’s almost a 18x).
They are looking to invest and to have a large visibility on the map of The Sandbox for their businesses. Before, to be able to create a games and create characters or behavior, you needed a lot of technical background.
Now, I’m really impressed on how The Sandbox made it possible with VoxEdit, it’s incredible! I promise that if I have more time I will use VoxEdit to create incredible assets (but only for real estate investors 😁).
What are you working on now ?
I’m not a creator, I’m here to invest, to HODL [to buy and hold] my LANDS or rent them to creators/companies.
You know, I’m always looking at data: 40 million downloads, 70,000,000 assets created for the previous Sandbox games. Now only 166K LANDS and 7,000 SAND holders addresses. Just do the math :).
We are at the very beginning of something huge, and as an entrepreneur, I know that. Taking action now is the key to success.
You created a Facebook page for our French community. What prompted you to do that?
The French community in video games is enormous and I really want to have a place on the internet where the future French players of the game can exchange, discuss, sell/buy.
The project is progressing slowly but surely. At the beginning of this year I was on several projects at the same time, but my desire to grow this French community is more than a goal. I really want to be part of the growth of a beautiful adventure!
How has The Sandbox helped you cope over this past year of uncertainty?
Well, as I am a business owner I was able to work. But it was a real pleasure to discover the evolution of the game and the team day by day. Sebastien [Borget; The Sandbox co-founder] is a great and passionate guy; always doing the best for TSB community.
I’m convinced that it will change lots of people’s life as it is now possible to earn money while playing: isn’t that what gamers dream of ?
You seem to have lots of projects, care to share more about them?
NFT Swapper is one of the projects I’m working on at the moment.
I traded a lot on OpenSea in order to buy LANDS. And on several occasions it would have been interesting for me to exchange one of my LAND for another but it was not possible if there was not significant trust between me and the other owner. The idea started there and I therefore set a team up to work on the project in order to have a platform allowing the exchange of NFTs (ERC 721 and ERC 1155), no matter the game or the origin of the NFT, in a secure and fast environment.
I believe all this will be possible with NFT swapper soon at www.nftswapper.io
What are your goals for 2021?
I will continue to buy as many LANDS as I can, and I will try to find creators to add value to them.
We thank Urkann for taking the time to speak to us on the business side of LAND ownership in The Sandbox. We’ll be back soon with more Game Creators interviews, so stay tuned!
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