21Shares launches new investment product to target $13 trillion metaverse industry

The metaverse, the idea of ​​an immersive version of the internet that combines technologies such as virtual reality and NFTs, has become one of the hottest topics in the crypto and blockchain industry lately. month. Citibank just released a report that estimates the total addressable market to be between $8 trillion and $13 trillion by 2030.

However, direct opportunities for forward-looking investors to gain exposure to this growing industry have been limited.

Today, one of the oldest providers of exchange-traded products (ETPs) in crypto is looking to fill that gap. 21Shares, a Swiss-based ETP issuer led by Forbes Under-30s Ophelia Snyder and Hany Rashwan are launching the company’s 30th product, a single-asset ETP based on SAND, the native token of the metaverse project The Sandbox.

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The Sandbox is a virtual world similar to a blockchain-based Second Life where users can interact with businesses and each other. He quickly recruited partners, such as Adidas, the Care Bears and Snoop Dogg.

Revealed exclusively to Forbes, Snyder says this offering responds to growing client demand for expansion opportunities beyond more mainstream and larger assets such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, as well as his belief that the industry has reached a tipping point. key in its development.

“The conversation has really moved away from, is bitcoin going to exist in three years?, what will the crypto ecosystem look like in three years? And that means the kinds of conversations we have with institutional clients are much more sophisticated…and the metaverse is one of those things where you start to see real themes emerge in crypto,” Snyder says.

SAND has been the best performer among the top-rated metaverse tokens over the past six months, offering returns of 328% to investors. However, it has underperformed such competitors since the start of the year, such as Decentraland (MANA), Axie Infinity (AXS) and Enjin (ENJ) in a downward trend that started last December. and which has had an impact on the entire sector. The decline also coincides with declining search interest in the Metaverse in general, suggesting that the major hype cycle that began when Facebook rebranded as Meta in October may be experiencing a lull. However, Snyder is betting that this drop will end up being an outlier in the bigger Metaverse story.

The Sandbox is not 21Shares’ first metaverse product. It launched a MANA-focused product in February, which currently has just over $1 million in assets under management. That would put it at around 50 times less than the Grayscale Decentraland Trust, a closed-end fund offered by Grayscale, which is only available to accredited investors and institutions in the United States and has been available since February 2021.

Conversely, 21Shares products used to trade freely on several European exchanges, but they were largely unavailable to US investors until the Securities and Exchange Commission began approving spot crypto ETFs. To date, the regulator has only approved a handful of bitcoin futures ETFs, and 21Shares had an application for a spot bitcoin ETF, which it submitted alongside star investor Cathie Wood of Ark Invest, which was rejected last week.

Asked how investors should compare the two products, Snyder cited the early nature of the metaverse vertical, stressing the importance of providing diversification opportunities for investors. She also noted that this is likely not the end of 21Shares product releases tied to the metaverse.

James T. Quintero