Neal Stephenson, apparently the first to coin the term “metaverse,” has expressed his opinion about the future adoption of virtual worlds.
The science fiction writer and co-founder of Lamina1, a blockchain metaverse company, believes that building experiences that millions of people consider worthy in virtual worlds is quite difficult, hindering the process of technology adoption.
The future of the metaverse according to Stephenson
Neal Stephenson, believed to be the creator of the general concept and term “metaverse,” recently popularized by Meta, believes that mainstream adoption of this technology may be a long way off.
The writer, who coined the term within his novel Snow Crash, published in 1992, said the growth will depend on the quality of experiences offered in the virtual world.
As part of an interview offered to the Financial Times, Stephenson in fact stated:
“There won’t be a metaverse used by millions of people until it contains experiences that millions of people think are worth having, and making those experiences is pretty hard.”
The author, who established a clear relationship between the metaverse and game technology, explained that the game industry is the economic engine and the technological engine that will naturally be the foundation of any future metaverse.
The quote in question is taken from Doom, the game created by John Carmack of ID Software, as one of those that kicked off the era of the metaverse. Stephenson also explained that blockchain and the metaverse have a natural relationship, allowing interconnection between worlds as part of a larger universe.
The link between blockchain and the metaverse
The writer says that part of the motive behind the creation of Lamina1, the company he co-founded, was to lay a foundational layer for the creation of digital worlds that had an engineering level that matched quite well what blockchains are capable of doing.
Indeed, the internal design of a metaverse can be done centrally. However, moving this data from one metaverse to another, part of a larger metaverse, can be done using blockchain-based tools.
Stephenson in this regard stated:
“I think to build a metaverse, we will have a situation where people will move freely from one environment to another… all of this smacks of some sort of decentralized network of financial interactions and transactions which reminds me of blockchain and other types of decentralized finance constructs.”
It is important to note that if the goal is to create interoperable, secure, fast and decentralized metaverses, blockchain is the most suitable technology to date.
For example, as we know, this allows us to store on a decentralized ledger the characteristics of our avatar and our digital assets, using them in whatever metaverse we decide to go to.
Meta on AI and metaverse plans for the long term
Meta, the company that owns Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp, shared its fourth quarter results, reporting better-than-expected numbers.
While the company beat revenue estimates, CEO Mark Zuckerberg declared 2023 a “Year of Efficiency,” suggesting further restructuring of the company to focus on its AI (artificial intelligence) and metaverse projects over the long term.
The company, which has been criticized for pivoting its business model to the metaverse, a digital representation of the real world, is now trying to refocus after the heavy losses that research and development in this technology has brought them.
Zuckerberg said that as part of this new focus, the company will work to flatten its organizational structure and remove some levels of middle management to make decisions faster, as well as implement artificial intelligence tools to help engineers be more productive.
In addition, Zuckerberg explained that going forward, Meta will be more aggressive in pulling the plug on underperforming or non-crucial projects.
While Reality Labs, the company’s metaverse division, suffered losses of nearly $14 billion in 2022, Zuckerberg still considers it a long-term priority.
Zuckerberg also mentioned artificial intelligence as one of the company’s main goals, with the goal of including it as an operational advantage to better monetize its short video product Reels.
Lamina1: what it is and why it matters
As anticipated, Lamina1 is a layer 1 blockchain optimized for the Open Metaverse, providing communities with an infrastructure to build a more engaging Internet. Simply put, a space that prioritizes creators, technical and artistic, providing support, spatial computing technology and a community to support those who are building.
The purpose of Lamina1 is to help artists and other valuable creators get paid properly for their work, help the environment (LAMINA1 will likely be carbon negative), and see a true Open Metaverse built, instead of maintaining the vision of the Metaverse co-opted by monopolies.
In essence, Lamina1 is based on Satoshi‘s founding reason for Bitcoin: to lash out at freedom. Hence, the design is cheap and technological, and helps the vision to be built sustainably.