Here at Blockster, we will always be eternally grateful for the stand-out individuals who’ve helped shape the direction of Web3, whether be blockchain pioneer Vitalik Buterin, NFT moguls Yuga Labs, or all-encompassing Web3 evangelist Snoop Dogg.
When it comes to the metaverse however, we need to go back to 1992 to realize its inception, as the term was first coined by speculative Sci-Fi writer Neal Stephenson in his novel ‘Snow Crash’. Essentially describing the concept as a virtual space which will eventually have limitless capacities to displace our existence in the physical realm, we can now see, thirty-years down the line that is that Stephenson certainly holds some ‘visionary weight’ to his name.
The reason Stephenson’s relevance is resurfacing within this modern era of metaverse-developments is that he’s issued his intent to build a platform which will serve as the ‘bottom layer’ for an all-encompassing open-world metaverse. Entitled ‘Lamina1,’ and set up in partnership with prominent crypto-figure and head of the Bitcoin Foundation Peter Vessenes, the platform will provide the necessary foundations, scaffolding, and ‘open rails’ for other metaverse-developers to build on.
To acquire its resources, Lamina1’s revenue streams will come through venture capital (with American internet entrepreneur Reid Hoffman reported to be an investor), with such stream expected to gain momentum once network effects take shape through gradual adoption.
What this essentially means is that, with time (amount unspecified), metaverse-goers will no longer be burdened with having to choose which platform they wish to live their virtual life on, as Lamina1 will serve as a monopoly in hosting all future metaverse ventures.
Put neatly by the former CEO of Magic Leap, Rony Abovitz, who is also a strategic adviser at Lamina1:
“It’s like Neal is coming down out of the mountains like Gandalf, to restore the metaverse to an open, decentralized, and creative order”.
Despite such prospect being filled with essences of romance, prophecy, and destiny, it intuitively comes with a whole host of problems, none more so than through its extremely ambitious nature. The problems of such ambition can be pictured not only in isolation- i.e., Lamina1 could arguably be ranked alongside Elon Musk’s mission to populate Mars as humankind’s most ambitious technological endeavor- but also in terms of the stiff competition it already faces.
To put things into perspective, Lamina1 currently only employs 3 engineers (despite having plans to hire another 20-200 to develop its blockchain and immersive technologies), however Meta, the power-housing social media conglomerate who’s rebranding was all in the name of its metaverse ambitions, already has thousands.
In a purely economic sense, it’s hard to picture how Lamina1, nor many other metaverse-oriented projects, will be able to catch-up with multi-billion-dollar projects such as Meta’s, let alone displace them.
If, hypothetically, it was to achieve such feat, the inevitable dilemmas surrounding pre-existing metaverse platforms such as The Sandbox, Decentraland, and the Otherside will then arise- i.e., will they put all their efforts into building onto the Lamina1 ‘rails’? Or will they eventually cease to exist by ignoring it?
With this in mind, if the project was to be as successful as it intends to be, the overall prowess of its product and team will have to either be ‘pristine enough’ to surpass the front-runners in the ‘metaverse race,’ or alternatively, developed and marketed in a way which gives front-runners no choice but to transfer over/ begin building on the platform’s rails.
Either way, and despite the gigantic hurdles in their way, we can only commend Stephenson and the Lamina1 team for their ambition.
In addition, and for those who fully grasp the concept of the metaverse (despite its current ambiguities), its intuitive to see how a ‘Lamina1-like’ metaverse reality is essentially inevitable, which is why, in a poetic sense, it would be incredible to see such reality be the brainchild of the man who first coined the term.