March 23, 2023

Sotheby’s Auctions Rare Items from Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash as Author Works on New Blockchain Company for the “Open Metaverse”

Neal Stephenson’s 1992 sci-fi novel Snow Crash introduced the concept of the “metaverse,” a virtual reality space where people could interact with each other and digital objects. Now, 30 years later, Sotheby’s is auctioning off rare items associated with the book, and Stephenson is working on a new layer-1 blockchain company for the metaverse, Lamina1.

The company’s stated purpose is to help creators build the “open metaverse,” a term Stephenson says he uses to differentiate it from the current corporate versions of the metaverse. Calling it an “open” metaverse, Stephenson said on the latest episode of Decrypt’s gm podcast, “works pretty well. I think people understand the way it works: companies latch on to a word and use it for their purposes in a way that helps them achieve their goals as a business, and it’s left up to we as consumers to kind of look at that and hopefully cast a skeptical eye on it.”

So, what is the open metaverse, and what isn’t it? Stephenson said there are two main types of metaverse: the corporate metaverse, which is controlled by a single company or group of companies, and the open metaverse, which is built on open standards and protocols that allow anyone to participate.

Stephenson believes that the open metaverse is the future of virtual reality, and that it will be a place where people can create and share their own digital content without being subject to the whims of a single company or group of companies. Lamina1 is working to build the infrastructure for this open metaverse, with a focus on creating a decentralized, secure, and scalable blockchain platform that can support a wide range of applications and use cases.

As for the Sotheby’s auction, it includes rare items such as a signed first edition of Snow Crash, a custom-made skateboard deck featuring artwork from the book, and a replica of the “Hiro Protagonist” katana sword. The auction is expected to attract a lot of interest from fans of the book and collectors of sci-fi memorabilia.

Overall, it seems that Stephenson’s vision of the metaverse is finally starting to take shape, with companies like Lamina1 working to build the infrastructure for an open, decentralized virtual reality space. As the technology continues to evolve, it will be interesting to see how the open metaverse develops and what kind of new experiences it will enable for users around the world.

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