Nedbank has become the latest major South African company to jump on the non-fungible token (NFT) craze by buying digital land in Africarare’s Ubuntuland metaverse, which does not yet exist.
The bank said it has secured a 12 x 12 village consisting of 144 plots in Ubuntuland to make it the first financial services organization in Africa to enter the metaverse.
“This forms part of the financial services group’s strategy to lead digitally, go beyond banking, discover new marketing platforms and utilize new technology to better serve its customers and stay at the forefront through forward-thinking solutions,” said Nedbank.
“Nedbank joins global players such as DBS Bank, HSBC, JP Morgan and Fidelity Investments who have partnered with metaverses worldwide.”
Nedbank’s chief executive for marketing and corporate affairs, Khensani Nobanda, said Nedbank sees the purchase as an opportunity to meet the needs of its customers on platforms that resonate with them.
The bank said its village will focus on customer value and services, offering experiences such as virtual games and a sports lounge.
Nedbank said it is joining Ubuntuland’s early “settlers” which include MTN, World Data Lab and M&C Saatchi Abel.
In simple terms, Ubuntuland is supposed to be a virtual 3D world populated with NFTs connected to the Ethereum blockchain.
NFTs can represent user avatars, objects in the world, and the world’s spaces themselves. It is up to developers to create representations in the world for each of these NFTs.
Ubuntuland’s promised metaverse is still far from what it promises.
In April this year, MyBroadband could not buy a plot in Africarare’s Ubuntuland through the channels described on its website.
Instead, we were signed up to 13 different marketing mailing lists and never received a quote for a plot.
We also looked through Ubuntuland’s Kraal and Mila gallery’s conceptual “realms” and found them abandoned. On one occasion we found another person in the world.
Curiously, a day after MyBroadband’s report, Africarare held a flash land sale that sold 149 plots for 0.048 Ethereum each on the Opensea NFT Market.
With the value of Ethereum at the time, each erf would have cost about $142 per erf, or R2 225.
In July 2022 there was another set of estate sales.
It is important to emphasize that although there are concept “realms” available from the Africarare website, including the Central Kraal and Mila Gallery areas – there is currently no actual traversable 3D world containing NFTs linked to a blockchain.
Although Nedbank has not disclosed how much it paid for its 144 plots, the transaction history for Ubuntuland’s NFTs on Opensea gives an indication of what it may have cost.
At the current average selling price of 0.0822 Ethereum per plot, Nedbank could have paid 11.8368 Ethereum for its digital property in Ubuntuland.
This converts to approximately R283 500 at the time of publication.
Mann Made Media, the company behind Africarare and Ubuntuland, previously told Cape Talk that a single plot sells for around $149.
At that price, Nedbank would have paid closer to R395 000 for its 12×12 square virtual land.