Last month marked the 30th anniversary of the publication of Neal Stephenson’s science fiction novel Snow Crash. With its dystopian vision, rollicking prose and futuristic renderings of everything from social media networks to virtual assistants and even alternative currencies — Bitcoin wasn’t to launch for another 17 years — the work soon achieved iconic stature in the tech world. Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos and Jack Dorsey were admirers, while Google co-founder Sergey Brin called Snow Crash one of the two books that changed his life.
In the mainstream world, Time magazine’s critics declared it one of the “100 best English-language novels published since 1923.”
The novel also includes the first known presentation of the “Metaverse” with all its immersive and internet-gaming addictiveness. As Stephenson wrote about his protagonist, Hiro, who lives in a 20-by-30 storage unit:
“Hiro’s not actually here at all. He’s in a computer-generated universe that his computer is drawing onto his goggles and pumping into his earphones. In the lingo, this imaginary place is known as the Metaverse. Hiro spends a lot of time in the Metaverse. It beats the shit out of the U-Stor-It.”Recently, Stephenson brought his creative talents to the blockchain world, teaming up with venture capitalist and Bitcoin Foundation co-founder Peter Vessenes in a project to build a new “metaverse first,” layer-1 blockchain network. Last week, Stephenson and Vessenes sat down with Cointelegraph to talk about their project, Lamina1 — lamina means “layer” in Latin — as well as the Metaverse and blockchain worlds generally.
Cointelegraph: Peter, you’ve said that you envision Lamina1 as a sort of “base layer for the Open Metaverse: a place to build something a bit closer to Neal’s vision — one that privileges creators.” You also talk about employing “creator economics” in building your new blockchain network. What do you mean by that?
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