Visionary Futurist Neal Stephenson and Crypto Pioneer Peter Vessenes Announce Lamina1, the Layer-1 Blockchain for the Open Metaverse

Stephenson’s book Snow Crash originally described the Metaverse and gave it its name. Thirty years later, the biggest names in Web 3 are supporting Lamina1’s vision for a blockchain protocol equal to the Metaverse’s original promise.

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–For the Metaverse to achieve its promise, it requires a base-level blockchain protocol equal to the technical, economic, and philosophical origins of the Metaverse idea itself — an open and expansive virtual universe. To fulfill that promise, cryptocurrency pioneer Peter Vessenes and renowned futurist Neal Stephenson are announcing Lamina1, a new Layer-1 blockchain technology designed for the Metaverse with Web3 principles in mind.

Co-founders Vessenes and Stephenson serve as Lamina1’s chief executive officer and chairman, respectively. Later this year, the company will launch a testnet and a subsequent betanet. Beyond 2022, the co-founders plan to seed a new immersive environment inspired by Stephenson’s million-selling novel Snow Crash, building infrastructure and releasing tools to support the work of third-party creators who want to build Open Metaverse experiences at scale.

Lessons Learned from Web 2.0

As titans of the technology industry implement their vision of the Metaverse – a sector projected to grow to $1T in the coming decade – Lamina1 is working to ensure it does not repeat the missteps of the past by continuing to perpetuate existing structures of centralized ownership and inequality.

Lamina1 proposes an alternative – a more modern and integrated Web3 community and ecosystem as the first building block for a truly Open Metaverse. The provably carbon negative Lamina1 chain will offer high transaction volume and an economic design with new incentive mechanisms to help create thriving, vibrant economies for creators and entrepreneurs.

Lamina1 Co-founders Bridge Visionary Science Fiction to Imminent Metaverse Reality

The concept of the Metaverse, an immersive version of the internet — was first brought to life in 1992 with the publication of Snow Crash. Now, 30 years later, Stephenson is for the first time founding a company to create the digital world he envisioned.

“The 30th anniversary of Snow Crash, and recent interest in actually building the Metaverse, has got me thinking about how to do it in a way that’s true to the original concept,” said Stephenson. “That means creative ferment rooted in a strong base layer of open source tech that provides key services to creators while making sure that they get paid. The purpose of Lamina1 is to provide that, using the best and most up-to-date ideas from the industry. We’ll build first-and second-party experiences just to make sure it all works. But we’ll know we’ve succeeded when Lamina1 is adopted by third-party creators.”

This vision will be brought to life by the considerable engineering and business acumen of Lamina1’s co-founder, Peter Vessenes. Vessenes is known in the cryptocurrency industry for a series of firsts, namely launching the first VC-backed Bitcoin company (2011) and forming the Bitcoin Foundation (2012) – today a blueprint for the way the now $1T+ blockchain industry engages communities and manages and creates cryptocurrencies.

Lamina1’s Founding Team Brings Together Experts in Virtual Worlds

Joining the Lamina1 team is Metaverse pioneer Tony Parisi, former head of AR/VR at Unity. He was also an early leader in Web3D and virtual reality, the inventor of VRML (the original standard for 3D graphics on the web) and co-creator of glTF, the open file format that today powers millions of 3D objects. Rounding out the Lamina1 leadership team is advisor Rony Abovitz, founder of Sun and Thunder, Magic Leap, and MAKO Surgical.

“I am incredibly excited about Lamina1,” said Abovitz. “When Neal and Peter told me what they wanted to do (and if I would join their quest), it felt right and good. Neal brings wisdom, empathy, creativity, and a moral framework to his work- attributes deeply needed in creating a good future and a Metaverse that works for humanity. There is no one better to lead the way to build a more Open Metaverse. It is also the right time in human history for there to be a connection between the decentralized open innovations we see in the crypto world and Neal’s innate vision and deep insights. I also loved the meshing of Peter’s genius in crypto with Neal’s visionary imagination.”

“I don’t know how to describe this other than a true meeting of the minds,” said Vessenes. “As an active investor and cryptographer, I have a list of the technology, economic and social innovations I’d like to see in a Layer-1 chain, so being able to team up with Neal and his personality, wisdom, and vision was compelling enough that it brought me out of retirement, so to speak. Seeing some of the earliest Bitcoin and Ethereum investors in the world back the project personally feels like a super special moment for all of us. I can think of no better way to honor Snow Crash’s 30th anniversary than by co-founding Lamina1 with Neal.”

Initial Investors in Lamina1 include Rony Abovitz, Geoff Entress, Jeremy Giffon, Bing Gordon, James Haft, Reid Hoffman, David Johnston, Joseph Lubin, Patrick Murck, Matthew Roszak, Tihan Seale, Peter Vessenes and Wu Ying.

Lamina1 will be formally introduced at Consensus 2022 presented by CoinDesk. For more information, visit

About Lamina1

The brainchild of Neal Stephenson (Chairman), who first conceptualized the Metaverse in his 1992 million-selling book Snow Crash, and Peter Vessenes (CEO), a foundational leader from the early days of Bitcoin, Lamina1 is a Layer-1 blockchain purpose-built to empower the Open Metaverse. Lamina1’s chain technology, cryptographic model and extensive intellectual property partnerships (to be announced throughout 2022) will establish it as the preferred destination for this generation’s most creative minds — those who are crafting the digital societies of the future. It is the first provably carbon-negative blockchain in the world.


KC Maas

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