Neal Stephenson’s Lamina1 publishes a white paper on building the open metaverse – VentureBeat | Jewelry Dukan

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Neal Stephenson’s blockchain technology startup Lamina1 today published a white paper on building the open metaverse. It’s pretty much the manifesto.

In the document, the company said its mission is to provide a Layer 1 blockchain, interoperable tools and decentralized services optimized for the open metaverse — and to provide communities with infrastructure, not gatekeepers, to build a more immersive internet. (Stephenson will be speaking about the Open Metaverse in a fireside chat at our GamesBeat Summit Next 2022 event, October 25-26 in San Francisco. Use the Dean50 code for a discount).

The effort includes some new original content: Under active early-stage development, Neal Stephenson’s THEEE METAVERSE promises to be an imaginative interactive virtual world with an unforgettable origin story, the newspaper says. Building on the Lamina1 chain, creators will come to experience Neal’s vision and stay to create their own. Stay tuned for more details, the newspaper said.

Lamina1 said the Metaverse represents the evolution of our online lives — the transition to rich 2D and 3D worlds in which we fluidly create, explore, connect and do business. As we usher in this bold new era of content creation and participation, we must rethink Web2’s centralized business models to strengthen them
Creators and consumers with more choice, more ownership and more privacy. A creative community free to innovate and transact will result in a thriving economy. Lamina1 delivers critical infrastructure
enable the multi-trillion dollar economy of the open metaverse.

“The strength of Lamina1’s technical foundation is validated by the ability of our own creator, Neal Stephenson, to deliver his inspired and principled vision of what the Open Metaverse can be. We use stories as a powerful tool to contextualize and drive the creative and technical development required to build a virtual universe infused with humanity,” the whitepaper states.

In the paper, Stephenson said, “Relenting economic forces are driving investors to pay artists as little as possible while channeling their creative output in the direction that involves the least financial risk.”

The goal is to correct the sins of the past. The newspaper states that Web2 ushered in an era of rapid innovation and unprecedented access to entertainment, information and goods on a global scale. Streamlined tools and ease of use brought developers and innovators flocking to the web to create digital content
Showcase, interact and trade with their customers.

Owning and controlling this growing ecosystem of content and personal information has become a primary, lucrative initiative for large corporations. Consumer behavior, recorded on centralized corporate servers, provided a constant, privileged insight into how to monetize human emotion and attention, Lamina1 said.

Sins included:

  • Digital disruption followed by entrepreneurial opportunism reset the value of creative intellectual property and negatively impacted the creative process
  • Agencies and intermediaries siphoned off revenue from manufacturers
  • Data has been harvested, sold, commercialized and misused
  • Naivety and laziness were exploited
  • Family photos became session bait for an insatiable publicity model
Peter Vessenes (left) and Neal Stephenson are the founders of Lamina1.

At its best, Web3 envisions a better world through the thoughtful redesign of our online lives, introducing stronger defenses of our interests, our freedoms and our rights, the company said. Just as Web2 thrived with the maturity of tools and services that offered ease of use for developers and consumers, the open metaverse will benefit from open protocols for payments and data and a set of decentralized services working together to support virtual worlds. Lamina1 will be the focal point for an ecosystem of open source tools, open standards and enabling technologies designed and co-developed with a vibrant community of developers.

“We are doers. We are builders,” says the company. “We are excited about the potential of Lamina1 to transform the way we create and monetize the next generation of content, and we share the needs and interests of our Open Metaverse enthusiasts. We invite you to join us in building the most powerful network of creative people on the planet.”

The report noted the games progress towards the Metaverse with hundreds of millions coming online. Global spending on virtual goods is estimated to reach $110 billion in 2021, with nearly 30% attributed to the virtual endowment of our virtual selves. There was also a nod to McKinsey, who predicted that the Metaverse will be worth $5 trillion by 2030.

At the same time, Lamina1 said we have witnessed an empowering movement among creators and consumers around privacy, transactions and asset ownership. The almost incessant news stories about data breaches are fueling a renewed consumer awareness of the liberal data and privacy practices of mega-platforms. Those using these services are becoming increasingly aware (and suspicious) of how their virtual identities are stored, tracked, and marketed online – with 74% of US internet users saying they are
more concerned about their online privacy than ever before.

Furthermore, Lamina1 said that in a world where today’s biggest platforms are proposing to adopt almost half of all
Sales revenue from digital assets and experiences made by creators in the metaverse, many are looking for alternative ways to monetize and publish in this new online era. Case and point – in the last two years, Web3 has seen unprecedented growth, with developers turning to NFTs to give them direct access to their markets. In 2021, collectors sent over $41 billion to online marketplaces and more than $37 billion in the first half of 2022. Ethereum’s ability to provide developers with Web3 functionality (albeit limited), as well as security and Consumer anonymity has expanded the market nearly 200 times between 2020 and 2021, with NFT sales skyrocketing from $100 million to $18 billion. Last year, the direct marketplace OpenSea drove almost 60% of these transactions, but NFTs are also increasingly being used to create and monetize entire virtual worlds.

To fully realize the needs and intricacies of an ever-expanding metaverse, the next era of digital property must involve deeper integrations of persistent digital objects, virtual real estate, and interoperability services that build on the foundations and directly address the needs of those building it said Lamina1. As this new digital economy emerges, so does the potential to reinvent the financial systems and fundamental structures that drive them. The success of this movement is in its infancy
depends on the belief of companies, creators and consumers to demand something else.

Lamina1 said it is approaching the open metaverse with a multi-pronged approach: Layer 1 blockchain, Metaverse-as-a-Service (MaaS), economic participation and community incentivization, and original content.

Jamil Moledina's autographed copies of Neal Stephenson's books.
Jamil Moledina’s autographed copies of Neal Stephenson’s books.

Lamina1 said it uses a high-speed Proof-of-Stake (PoS) consensus algorithm, customized to support the needs of content creators — providing provenance for authorship and allowing for attributive and behavioral characteristics of an object emboss, adjust and compose on chain.

“We decided to start with Avalanche, a robust generalized blockchain that offers the industry’s most scalable and greenest chain for managing digital assets. This starting point provides Lamina1 with a flexible architecture and an extensible platform to support our goals in data storage, interoperability, integration incentives, carbon-negative operations, messaging, privacy, large-scale payments and identity,” the whitepaper states.

Lamina1 said its work on Metaverse Services will explore creating a Metaverse browser and coordinate with the Metaverse Standards Forum.

To gain community support, the company does not align itself with Big Tech.

“We wave the Jolly Roger at the forefront of the culture movement and call on both creators and consumers to join the fight for greater agency and empowerment – the fight for an economy imagined, produced and owned by its creators,” said Lamina1. “It will be difficult and it will take courage, but the benefit of giving a manufacturer direct access to their market is overwhelming.”

The paper added: “At Lamina1, we believe two things will drive expansion and growth in the metaverse
–– a no-nonsense and principled approach to serving a diverse, open and self-sustaining community of makers and a powerful ecosystem of content and experiences that drives fans and funds directly to the platform.”

Regarding the roadmap, the company announced the following, subject to change:

2022

  • V1 Litepaper release September 2022
  • Engine/Web SDK & Wallet Alphas October 2022
  • Testnet November 2022
  • Browser MVPAlpha December 2022
  • EVM + ⍺ December 2022
  • First studio demos December 2022

2023

  • Engine/Web SDK & Wallet Betas January 2023
  • Blockchain Recompose January 2023
  • Pre-production of the original game will begin in Q1 2023
  • Betanet Q1 2023
  • MaaS MVP Alpha Q1 2023
  • Studio starts Q2/3 2023
  • Mainnet Q2/3 2023

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