Long before Facebook (rebranded to Meta Platforms) even existed, in 1992, sci-fi author Neal Stephenson coined the term “metaverse” in his cyberpunk novel Snow Crash to describe a VR-ready world where humanity could exist and interact. Now, after 30 years, he is on a mission to bring his vision to life.
Neal Stephenson is teaming up with Peter Vessenes, co-founder of The Bitcoin Foundation, to create a metaverse-focused blockchain, Lamina1. Vessenes will be heading the project as CEO, and Stephenson will be appointed as Chairman.
Even though Stephenson was interested in cryptography from the early days, as seen in his book Cryptonomicon, the 62-year-old admitted to having missed the actual crypto revolution. With this project, he aims at:
“helping get artists and other value creators paid properly for their work, helping the environment and seeing a truly Open Metaverse get built instead of seeing the Metaverse vision co-opted by monopolies.”
Vessenes is focused on getting the blockchain, Lamina1, off the ground as soon as possible by finalizing the governance, technology, nodes, IP partners, etc.
The project has secured some financial backers, including Ethereum co-founder Joseph Lubin, Matthew Roszak, Geoff Entress, David Johnston, and some family friends.
“That is my and Neal’s strategy—align everything around getting the best thing built and getting everybody all the tools they need to build what they want”
said Stephenson in a statement this week.
Lamina1 is scheduled to be launched by the end of the year with the ultimate vision to create a metaverse that addresses the current state of fundamental inequalities in Web3.
While specific details on the projects are yet to be out, Stephenson’s 1992 novel depicted the metaverse as an iteration of an urban environment featuring centralized control, social inequalities, advertisements, and virtual real estate.