Sci-fi author works to turn his metaverse into a reality

Microsoft and Facebook’s parent company, Meta, have their own visions for a virtual world called the metaverse — but an alternate, open-source vision from Seattle science-fiction author Neal Stephenson is gathering steam.

And while Stephenson may not have billions of dollars at his command, he has a selling point that the tech heavyweights can’t match: He’s the guy who came up with the concept of the metaverse for a 1992 sci-fi novel titled “Snow Crash.”

The venture co-founded by Stephenson and digital currency pioneer Peter Vessenes, known as Lamina1, aims to take advantage of blockchain, a technology that’s just as buzzy as the multiverse. The plan is to develop a Layer 1 (in Latin, “Lamina 1”) blockchain platform that content creators can take advantage of as they build out their corner of the metaverse.

Last November, Stephenson told me that the metaverse as envisioned by Meta and Facebook didn’t exactly match his vision for a virtual world of planetary proportions. “They’re generally not talking about those kinds of planetary-scale things,” Stephenson said at the time.

In the months that followed, he decided to get into the game himself.

By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributor to GeekWire and Universe Today, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," past president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

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