SAND is an ERC-20 token— an asset based on the Ethereum blockchain – so you can buy and sell it in several different ways. We will discuss two of the most popular ways to trade SAND crypto here, plus how to buy the SAND token on a brokerage like Wealthsimple Crypto.
Centralized cryptocurrency exchange
The most common way to buy a SAND coin is to buy it through a centralized cryptocurrency exchange. There you can trade through proprietary matching engines, or, usually for a higher fee, through exchange-owned matching engines. Centralized exchanges comprise most of the crypto trading volume, but they come with risks: not all are regulated, and your deposits are rarely insured by government deposit schemes. Some are based in Canada and well-integrated within the Canadian financial system.
The first thing you will need to do is choose a trading platform. (Note that your choice often depends on your jurisdiction, since some platforms don’t operate in all locations.) Different exchanges charge different fees, and some have unique fee structures that can be hard to get your head around. That said, fees on most of the major exchanges are pretty low. To get the lowest fees, opt for the “Pro” versions of exchanges that look slightly more advanced. Options to buy directly with credit cards are slightly more expensive but are easier to use.
Next, check that your exchange of choice lists SAND. Some exchanges are more selective about which coins they list, so you may not find SAND everywhere. You can check which exchanges list SAND by checking the “Markets” tab on sites like CoinMarketCap. (These sites also list The Sandbox crypto’s price, recent SAND coin news, SAND charts and SAND coin price predictions).
Then it’s time to create an account. You’ll likely have to provide some form of identification, like a driver’s license or passport, or submit a selfie. Once you’re all confirmed, you’ll be able to buy SAND. To get the lowest fees, it usually makes sense to head to the “Pro” part of the exchange—you’ll know you’ve arrived once you see a daunting trading screen with lots of graphs. They all look pretty much the same, no matter which exchange you’re using.
Since SAND is a small coin compared to, say, Ethereum or Bitcoin, most platforms don’t let you buy it directly for US or Canadian dollars. You’ll have to buy it for another cryptocurrency. The most common pairings are usually Bitcoin or a US dollar stablecoin called Tether (USDT). You can usually buy those coins directly for fiat currencies. To do so, wire the appropriate amount of money to the exchange, then make a “spot” or “market” order for one of those currencies. Execute the trade and you’ll have the right currencies to buy SAND. To buy SAND, it’s the same process, although this time you’ll use, say, Bitcoin or USDT to buy your coin. Note that currencies like Bitcoin and SAND are volatile, and the value of SAND will change if you wait a while.
Buying SAND on a brokerage
You can also trade SAND through a brokerage. These are services that let you buy SAND directly from the brokerage rather than through peer-to-peer matching engines. Buying SAND this way is usually more convenient—you don’t have to bother with buying coins like USDT first but can instead trade directly for regular money—but is usually a little more expensive for the convenience. Most trading platforms, including Wealthsimple, also offer brokerage services, as does Wealthsimple.
Buying from a brokerage is pretty simple. Sign up for an account, complete any necessary identity checks, and connect your bank account or card. Then buy directly from the brokerage in a currency of your choosing.
Note that, as of April 2022, Wealthsimple Crypto does not facilitate withdrawals of SAND to external wallets. This means that you won’t be able to use the SAND you own on Wealthsimple Crypto within The Sandbox, or any other decentralized finance protocol, like a crypto lender or decentralized exchange. This limits the utility of your SAND—you won’t be able to try and put it to work in DeFi yield farms, for instance, or use it to buy the in-game earthworm costume you have your eye on—but you remain exposed to the currency fluctuations of the volatile metaverse market.
Trading SAND crypto on a decentralized exchange
If you want to go fully crypto-native, you can avoid the crypto companies altogether and buy SAND from a decentralized exchange. Since decentralized exchanges run on code, you can’t use regular money—you can only buy SAND with other cryptocurrencies. For that reason, if you’re buying crypto to trade on decentralized exchanges, make sure you’re buying from a venue that facilitates withdrawals to external cryptocurrency wallets.
To get started, you’ll need some crypto in a Web3 wallet that supports Ethereum, like MetaMask, TrustWallet, Wallet Connect, or Rainbow Wallet. On the assumption that you’re buying on an Ethereum-based decentralized exchange (rather than a Layer 2 solution like Polygon or Arbitrum, or through bridges like Osmosis’s Gravity Bridge), you’ll need Ethereum to pay for the transaction fees. Gas prices can vary, but you could need about $100 to process a trade. You can use Etherscan’s gas tracker—Ethereum is expensive to use, hence why scaling solutions have popped up.
Once you have filled your Web3 wallet with ETH and whichever crypto you plan to buy SAND with, you then need to connect your wallet to a decentralized exchange by visiting its site. You’ll then need to pick your SAND token from a list and pay a gas fee to process your trade. Unlike centralized exchanges, where you’re buying from other traders, and brokerages, where you’re buying from the company itself, decentralized exchanges usually have you trade through pools of pairings, like ETH/SAND. This structure is known as the automatic market marker, or AMM.
Once your SAND is in your wallet, you can then begin to use it within The Sandbox by connecting your wallet to the app and sending funds to the protocol whenever you want to buy something.
For those who are interested: What is SAND?
You may have heard a lot of chatter about something called the metaverse. The term is loosely defined but generally refers to the next generation of persistent online worlds that promise to upgrade the way we interface online.
Since the metaverse is such a new concept, companies building within the space are still defining it. The Sandbox (SAND) is a cryptocurrency video game that positions decentralized cryptocurrencies as the underlying technology that will connect these online worlds together. It runs like Second Life and looks like the block-building world of Minecraft, with cryptocurrencies power an entire system of property rights that subvert the structure of power within online worlds to favor players rather than developers.
The Sandbox’s version of the metaverse is somewhat at odds with a competing vision for the metaverse laid out by Mark Zuckerberg in a company presentation for Meta in October 2021. Zuckerberg’s vision for the metaverse touched upon NFTs but focused on augmented and virtual reality—lofty examples included an entire basketball game played in augmented reality with players on a court based on the other side of the world, and entirely virtual hangout spaces made possible through VR headsets.
Zuckerberg’s idea appears to be that his company, Meta, will power the metaverse by producing content, hardware, and online worlds. The Sandbox is one of many crypto games taking another route: decentralizing production of the metaverse and giving players the chance to shape the future of its development.
The Sandbox’s vision plays out in two ways. The first is that The Sandbox’s online world is split up into parcels of in-game land that are sold for cryptocurrencies on the game’s secondary market. These parcels, called LAND, are represented on the Ethereum blockchain as NFTs, or non-fungible tokens under the ERC-721 standard—the same technology that powers crypto art. Players can build elaborate online worlds on these lands, and populate them with user-created assets (that operate on the ERC-1155 standard), which can be purchased on their marketplace. and anyone is welcome to visit them. A second, fungible currency called SAND (that operates on the ERC-20 standard) serves as the game’s in-game currency. You can use it to buy assets, such as avatars and in-game items. Holders can also use SAND as a governance token to influence the future development of the game.
Other crypto games push the idea of a decentralized, crypto-first metaverse in much the same way. A game called Decentraland is near identical save for its art style, and a monster-battling game called Axie Infinity has generated billions of dollars with its play-to-earn model, which rewards players with volatile cryptocurrencies for playing the game, lets them trade valuable in-game land and monsters on secondary marketplaces, and allows token holders to make increasingly large decisions about the game’s development. A text-based NFT “game” called Loot, which comprised lists of items for an as-yet-created online game, went viral in the summer of 2021 after its creator, Dom Hofmann, proposed that his game was entirely composable and its world would be developed by players. (The value of Loot crashed shortly after Hofmann minted More Loot, which defeated the scarcity of original Loot NFTs).
It is easy to get wrapped up in the philosophical ideals of the metaverse and forget that much of the advertised experiences are nothing more than vapourware, and those that exist are at very early stages. The Sandbox, and its closest rival, Decentraland, are sparsely populated online worlds with graphics that looked out of date a decade ago. Most governance choices to date have revolved around limiting which obscenities players can spew within the world. Other games, like Loot, are more concept than reality, and Meta’s metaverse refers to upgraded versions of technology that have existed for decades, rather than a paradigm shift.
The idea of a “player-owned” world is somewhat of a myth when Animoca Brands, the parent company of developers of The Sandbox, Pixowl, is best known for inking huge deals with brands and celebrities, including Adidas, the South China Morning Post and Snoop Dogg. These brands thus become an updated version of shareholders in conventional video game studios; there, shareholders already influence the direction of a studio—albeit with less granularity, and not necessarily in line with the desires of the people who play these video games.
Whether you ended 2021 jaded or optimistic, the metaverse took off nonetheless. A cryptocurrency metaverse index called MVI, which tracks the value of the largest metaverse tokens, more than doubled in value after Facebook rebranded to Meta in October of that year, and fuelled hype around the idea of the metaverse. The Sandbox, one of the largest tokens in the MVI, rose by more than ten times. But buzz wore off a bit by the start of 2022, and the price has fallen from peaks of $8.40 in late November to $4.25 as of mid-January 2022.
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