Back in 1990, Microsoft had just released Windows 3.0. Futurist author Neal Stephenson was struggling to write a Macintosh-based graphic novel with artist Tony Sheeder that takes place largely in “The Metaverse.”
Ultimately abandoning the format because the Mac was too slow and software too crude, Snow Crash was published in a conventional format in 1992. It describes for the first time a future where people use VR headsets to hang out in an immersive 3D "Metaverse," a narrow strip of virtual land that circumnavigates an otherwise featureless black planet. Visitors to this virtual world appear as “Avatars.”
In Stephenson’s 1999 novel, Cryptonomicon, characters work to develop an anonymous “online bank” based on cryptography and “electronic gold.” PayPal was launched the same year. And we all know what became of digital gold, right?
An open Metaverse platform
Now comes LAMINA1. No, it’s not another futuristic novel (although fans of the visionary author can check out his latest opus, Termination Shock). LAMINA1 is in fact a new Layer 1 blockchain project, purpose-built to empower the open Metaverse. It’s the brainchild of Stephenson and crypto pioneer Peter Vessenes, co-founder of the Bitcoin Foundation.
The pair plan to announce details of LAMINA1’s blockchain technology, cryptographic model and extensive intellectual property partnerships throughout the rest of 2022. Their aim is to establish it as the preferred platform for creative minds who are crafting the digital societies of the future. They also claim that LAMINA1 will be the world’s first verifiably carbon-negative blockchain.
Stephenson has also revised his vision for the Metaverse, stating that the experience is likely to be geared more toward flat 2D screens rather than virtual reality or augmented reality tech such as headsets and lenses, as in the model proposed by Meta and Microsoft.
As described by Vessenes in a June 8 blog post, Stephenson will serve as LAMINA1’s Chairman, bringing his “vision, wisdom, experience, and some core goals: 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,” a not-so-subtle reference to another Meta-verse player.
Vessenes will be the company’s CEO. As he explained, “With 12 years of thinking deeply about Bitcoin and crypto every day, I still carry a desire to fulfill the core dreams of Satoshi in his original whitepaper (high-grade crypto ‘striking a blow for freedom’). I hope to bring economic and technology design that will help Neal’s vision get built sustainably…”
Financial backing is coming from an impressive assembly of crypto OGs, including Ethereum co-founder Joseph Lubin, PSL co-founder Geoff Entress, Bloq co-founder and chairman Matthew Roszak, Bitcoin Foundation general counsel Patrick Murck and BitAngels co-founder David Johnston.
Plans for 2022
Vessenes told CoinDesk that the first iteration of LAMINA1 will be “somewhere between” a friendly fork of, and a partnership with Avalanche, though the project is still in the planning stage, and no roadmap has yet been published.
LAMINA1’s testnet and betanet are scheduled for launch later this year. To make this happen, the company is currently looking for engineers, technologists, business development people, and spatial industry veterans. Interested parties are encouraged to join their bustling Discord or Twitter channels.
And if you happen to be in Austin, Texas on June 11, stop by the Austin Proper Hotel around 5:30 for a meet & greet with Neal and Peter, part of Coindesk’s Consensus 2022.
This content is for informational purposes only and is not investment advice. You should consult a qualified licensed advisor before engaging in any transaction.