Thirty Years Ago, Neal Stephenson Imagined the Metaverse. Now We’re Building It Together.

A little over ten years ago, I convened the first board meeting of The Bitcoin Foundation. At the time, Bitcoin was a loose agglomeration of people working on whatever interested them. It was the first serious (and we now know, successful) attempt at creating a decentralized digital currency — something Satoshi called “a blow for freedom” in his original whitepaper. The Bitcoin Foundation was an experiment, an attempt to provide some support for the chain, community, and core team. Despite detractors, the foundation model is a vital tool for effective governance in our industry today.

Read more: Thirty Years Ago, Neal Stephenson Imagined the Metaverse. Now We’re Building It Together.

Twenty years before that, Neal Stephenson was just about to publish Snow Crash, the book that literally defined the Metaverse and in the process inspired a generation of technologists. I’m from a generation of technologists inspired by Neal as well — the slightly later 1999-era Cryptonomicon reading group.

Cryptonomicon included Neal’s musings on how a group of nerds might start the first online bank; it inspired PayPal, and I would argue created what we call “FinTech” as an industry in its current incarnation. Bitcoiners now include many of the early PayPal founders and investors.

Much of the 3D/VR/AR world: Neal helped us see what was possible, and imagine what could be possible. Much of today’s $trillion+ decentralized economy: Neal pointed us to the idea that cryptographers could be the future’s bankers.

I’m a fan.

Like many of you, I’ve been curious what Neal thought about the world’s sudden adoption of his term “metaverse” last year. Luckily for me, that curiosity turned into a deep series of conversations. From those conversations came our conviction that it is time to found a new layer-1 blockchain, and so today I am super pleased to announce that we are co-founding LAMINA1.

There’s a lot to say about LAMINA1, and we’ll be talking about it a lot this year. In brief, I think of it as the base layer for the Open Metaverse: a place to build something a bit closer to Neal’s vision — one that privileges creators, technical and artistic, one that provides support, spatial computing tech, and a community to support those who are building out the metaverse. It feels like coming full circle to my early foundation instincts — make space for and support the people doing the work, and good things will happen.

I’m also humbled to announce an extraordinary and visionary group of initial investors — all people who took a risk on Neal and me in our recent friends and family investment round. Some of the names will be known to anyone reading; some are a window into the pre-history of Bitcoin. I encourage you to look into them — their own stories will reward the research. For a taste: In 2010, one of our investors beat me bidding on; he bid $5,000 and I only bid $2,000. The seller refused to let me up my bid. For many years, I had the better end of the deal, because Bitcoin’s underlying price rise was faster than the value of This is no consolation — I’m still salty about it.

So, about the founding team — Neal brings his vision, wisdom, experience, and some core goals: helping get artists and other value creators paid properly for their work, helping the environment (LAMINA1 will be provably carbon negative), and seeing a truly Open Metaverse get built instead of seeing the metaverse vision co-opted by monopolies.

I bring 12 years of thinking deeply about Bitcoin and crypto every day, informed by a ringside seat at the most significant events in our industry. I still carry a desire to fulfill the core dreams of Satoshi in his original whitepaper (high-grade crypto “striking a blow for freedom”). I hope to bring economic and technology design that will help Neal’s vision get built sustainably, and I have a raft of plans to implement Lamina1 quickly as we get the necessary governance, technology, node operators, IP partners, artists, business partners, and funds up and running.

LAMINA1 will be a company bridging the spatial/metaverse world with the crypto world, and we will need help. You can join our Discord at and get engaged with us in the ‘traditional’ crypto manner or you can drop us a line at We’re hiring engineers, technologists, business development people, and spatial industry veterans — if you’re interested, please email us at

I hope you’ll join me and Neal as we try to build this together.