Father of the Metaverse Neal Stephenson builds his own Metaverse Blockchain

‘Snow Crash’ author is bringing his early concept of the Metaverse to real life through Lamina1.
June 13, 2022 - Cynthia Chung

Neal Stephenson, the cyberpunk science fiction author who coined the term ‘Metaverse’ in his cyberpunk novel Snow Crash in 1992, is launching a Metaverse-focused Blockchain called Lamina1. 


On Wednesday, an announcement by OG crypto investor and former Bitcoin Foundation chairman Peter Vessenes said that he and Stephenson have co-founded a new layer-1 blockchain called Lamina1 that hopes to serve as the ‘base layer for the Open Metaverse.’


Stephenson has revised his vision for the Metaverse, explaining that the experience is likely to be created on flat 2D screens instead of virtual reality or augmented reality tech such as headsets and lenses, as in the model posited by Meta and Microsoft.


Meanwhile, Vessens describes Lamina1 as ‘a place to build something a bit closer to Neal’s vision — one that privileges creators, technical and artistic, one that provides support, spatial computing tech, and a community to support those who are building out the Metaverse,’, adding that the network will likely be carbon negative.


Stephenson said he hopes that creators will be paid fairly for their work and help direct our future towards a truly open Metaverse rather than the Metaverse vision as being put forward by monopolies. 


Stephenson also noted that when he first wrote about the Metaverse, he did not predict high-quality video games adoption on a massive scale or the emergence of Web3. ‘Thanks to games, billions of people are now comfortable navigating 3D environments on flat 2D screens. The UIs that they’ve mastered (e.g. WASD + mouse) are not what most science fiction writers would have predicted. But that’s how path dependency in tech works.’ he wrote on Twitter.  


‘We fluently navigate and interact with extremely rich 3D environments using keyboards that were designed for mechanical typewriters. It’s steampunk made real. A Metaverse that left behind those users and the devs who build those experiences would be getting off on the wrong foot,” he added.


His initial concept for the Metaverse described an online world powered by virtual reality tech where people interact and escape the dystopian future. 


Lamina1’s testnet and betanet are slated to be launched later this year, and along with it, Vessenes and Stephen’s goal to develop a fully immersive Metaverse inspired by Stephenson’s novel. 


Photo: Facebook


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