Revolutionising Community Building: How Lamina1 is Leading the Metaverse Evolution
As a community management agency, one of our core values revolves around the concept of culture and its immense importance in the Web3 world (and not only). Considering it the very essence of meaningful and successful initiatives, a project’s community is, essentially, everything, thus investing in building and maintaining a solid one should be paramount. This is where Defiants come in, putting talented people at the forefront and cultivating a new value-driven e-culture where resilient communities fertilize reputations around a shared and resonating vision.
How could one stress even more the unparalleled importance of culture in the success of a project? After all, teams behind projects can be considered small gatherings of their own, while — if we’d want to zoom out further — the world’s most significant accomplishments and milestones have been mostly (if not always) achieved through collective efforts. The very evolution of our own species has been grounded on individuals forming groups with pooled resources, aligned incentives, and common goals — aka communities(!).
Fast forward to the early ’90s, the World Wide Web came out as a publicly accessible system that standardized the transmission of information between interconnected computers, and, hence, it marked one of the most pivotal milestones of our modern evolution. A few years later, technological advancements in the broader computer science field brought the next generation of the Internet, namely, Web 2.0. E-commerce, social media platforms, and cloud services revolutionized our social interactions establishing a greater shared interconnectedness.
Looking at it from a different perspective, Web 2.0 paved the way for us humans to cohabit in a global, virtual society. The ever-increasing naive proto-users accounted for the accumulation of such an immense value in terms of information that only those in charge of manufacturing and distributing these services were able to observe, handle, and eventually exploit — nowadays, we call them tech giants. Consequently, concepts such as data privacy, data ownership, transparency, and decentralization gained more popularity and became the foundations for the next era of the Internet, aka Web 3.0.
Web3 is here to stay, it’s revolutionizing the peer-to-peer exchange of value. Being the fundamental principle, encryption-based decentralization empowers individuals with the necessary tools to form communities of their liking where they can creatively produce output and monetize it according to their own rules and needs, yet in an interoperable, transparent, and more democratic collective framework — usually referred to as the Metaverse.
WAIT, DID YOU SAY METAVERSE?
It has been over a year since the term “metaverse” was ranking among the top trending searches worldwide, and despite the relative drop in Google searches it seems that evermore businesses, projects, and tech startups are shifting their focus in that direction. Facebook’s rebranding to Meta, Adidas introducing the “virtual gear” product category, NIKE’s acquisition of RTFKT Studios, and the first-ever metaverse fashion week are just a few (well-known) examples.
Although we are witnessing such initiatives gaining popularity and partially validating the metaverse’s potential, it’s quite apparent that we are still in this embryonic stage where the term acts as an umbrella loosely associated with a future digital world, most often being semantically manipulated to fit every other company’s/project’s vision.
For instance, even though its digital nature is a common denominator among all descriptions and definitions, it’s not yet commonly agreed upon whether we are talking about a single environment or multiple interconnected virtual worlds. Can there be multiple metaverses? Can one own the metaverse? Can anybody create a/the metaverse? Is a virtual world a metaverse?
If you were online in 2022, there’s a big chance you came across someone explaining what the metaverse actually is. The most common definition takes an etymological stance breaking down the term’s components; “meta” (= beyond) + universe.
Nevertheless, in most cases, definitions encapsulate rather vague concepts referring to it as “a shared virtual space”, “the future of the Internet”, “a place parallel to the physical world”, or even “a video game”. As a reference, Mark Zuckerberg simply called it “the embodied Internet”. But, where does the term metaverse originally come from?
NEAL STEPHENSON’S METAVERSE
In case you haven’t stumbled upon the name of Neal Stephenson (yet), note that he is the one who first coined the term metaverse in his 1992 sci-fi novel Snow Crash unfolding in a dystopian future where rich people would escape into an alternative 3D connected reality. The main ingredients of that reality would include some kind of VR interface, digital ownership, and avatars as virtual real-time representations of humans.
Disclaimer: The Metaverse per se is not a dystopian term; it’s a shared and persistent 3D virtual world, a tool to escape a dystopian reality with its purpose being in the eye of the beholder. In other words, it’s the evolution of our 2D and 3D lives online making it the largest emerging community.
One might reasonably wonder: how does the inventor of the term Metaverse perceive the ongoing evolution of it and how come he has not brought his own idea to life given that technological boundaries have been pushed beyond what was imaginable 3 decades ago?
Well, Neal has undoubtedly gotten these questions multiple times and in an interview he gave last summer he explained that “any kind of top-down idea of what the metaverse can be is wrong, it’s gotta be bottom-up in the sense that there are so many people now already building things in the metaverse on so many different levels that they’re a combined creative output.”
He continued mentioning that several metaverse builders have contacted him in the past, yet he has never joined any project. Why?
“A lot of opportunities have come my way to sort of bless one particular idea or one particular metaverse project. I’ve always instinctively avoided that because for every person who gets through to me in an email there are 100 more working on their ideas and to say that one is the correct version of it is to disappoint all of those other people. So it seems that the best way I can be meaningful here is to participate in an infrastructure-building project that would create opportunities for a lot of different people to realize their own creative vision and dreams in this medium.”
That’s why 30 years later Neal decided to take action in participating in the creation of his own iteration of the Metaverse alongside crypto veteran and pioneer Peter Vessenes, co-founder, CEO and Chief Cryptographer of the project. All their knowledge, experiences, insights, and visions are manifested in Lamina1. Let’s take a deep dive and see how L1 is approaching the metaverse and what it is exactly cooking under the hood.
LAMINA1: THE OPEN METAVERSE
Along the lines of Neal’s aforementioned bottom-up approach, Lamina1’s mission is to offer a Layer-1 blockchain that would serve as the base layer that’s providing communities with open-source infrastructure to enable a collective and creative building of a more immersive Internet, the Open Metaverse.
If we were to say that Vitalik Buterin created Ethereum based on a “Bitcoin-as-a-Service” logic that enabled individuals to program their own dapps and crypto services on top of a peer-to-peer electronic payment system, Lamina1 has set out to offer Metaverse-as-a-Service (Maas) to provide creators — both technical and artistic — with a wide array of tools within a community-centered framework that empowers people to build on each other’s work and creates a larger system of value.
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of Lamina1, it’s important to understand the context in which the project was conceived. The co-founders’ shared rationale is founded on two acknowledged trends:
- The pace of creation and commerce within virtual worlds is accelerating.
- There’s a growing movement among creators and consumers about data privacy and asset ownership.
At the same time, Neal’s and Peter’s core belief is that the existing monopolistic paradigm that’s honed in centralization impedes agency, ownership, and privacy of individuals hindering the creation of transparent and horizontal future-oriented communities. Contrary to that, Lamina1 is offering interoperable tools and decentralized services on top of a Layer-1 blockchain with the goal of accelerating adoption, unlocking creators’ capability, and fostering enablement and usability towards the establishment of an Open Metaverse Economy.
As Peter Vessenes put it, “I just think of it as giving the world a space to build what they want and making sure the value flows fairly to them while they’re doing that — and that feels like the most important thing.”
Lastly, another general yet fundamental statement that resonates with the team’s conception of the Open Metaverse is that for it to realize its potential people need to be able to find enjoyable experiences in it — and, currently, the best people at doing that are game designers and developers. As the team keeps reminding us: It’s all about the people.
So, let’s go through Lamina1’s multi-layered approach to better understand its sophisticated architecture. There are four main verticals that form the basis of L1’s modus operandi:
In order for the Open Metaverse to function and give people the opportunity to creatively express themselves while getting rewarded for the value they output, there needs to be some kind of decentralized way of transacting business — hence, Lamina1 is creating its own carbon-negative chain based on a high-speed PoS model.
“Lamina” is Latin for “layer”, so, as the name suggests, the architectural decision of creating a Layer-1 blockchain is purely based on the idea of inviting and encouraging people to participate in the collective creation of something new rather than boosting an existing ecosystem that would most probably privilege whales. At first, the new chain will have EVM support so devs can write smart contracts with Solidity, while there may be more along the way if deemed necessary.
Last but not least, a Layer-1 token will get created at some point to support operations and reward value creators, though, there are no plans of running a token sale of any sort — “we’d like to see the value of the token emerge from actually being used as a currency to buy and sell goods”, commented the team when asked about it.
As aforementioned, the team is fostering the creation of an ecosystem of open source tools, standards, and solutions, where a creators’ community will be encouraged to proactively participate in conceiving and co-developing such technologies. Core team will “only build what is actually required”.
Community economic participation
“Without the community, the chain has no value. The people are everything”, motivates the core team who perceives itself as the torchbearer leading this wonderful experience of co-creation with a vibrant following of fellow manifestors.
L1 wants to empower digital citizens and is set out to develop a culture around communities and their relevance which is completely in line with Defiants’ vision. Giving them the tools to explore their capabilities and allow them to self-actualize to the extent that the initiators will no longer need to carry on this effort and would pass off governance to the token holders. It’s not about dictating what a community is or should look like nor patronizing enthusiasts, users, creators or consumers. On the contrary, the vision is to provide the necessary infrastructure to creators so they can let loose and creatively express themselves while at the same time owning their work and getting rewarded for their creative output. The combined output of all contributors is in a way the Metaverse itself.
From another perspective, it seems like Neal thought let’s give the people the tools and frameworks to be creatively expressive and the wisdom of the crowd will shape the nuts and bolts of the metaverse.
Last but not least, the team just recently rolled out L1 Ecosystem Fund, the world’s first publicly accessible ecosystem fund for a Layer-1 chain connecting global accredited investors with metaverse technology builders and experience creators. The benefits are twofold; investors have direct access to early-stage Open Metaverse projects, while teams and individual builders have the unique opportunity to raise capital for their own projects.
Original Content & Creator System
There’s no better way to describe Lamina1’s heavy community orientation than how the team itself has put it in the whitepaper, “we believe two things will power expansion and growth in the Metaverse — a straightforward and principled approach to serving a diverse, open and self-sustaining community of makers, and a powerful ecosystem of content and experiences that will drive fans and funding directly to the platform. Lamina1 will foster a vibrant ecosystem of content, and motivate economic incentives to empower the rapid expansion of the Open Metaverse.”
Such community growth-related incentives include but are not limited to:
- Creator IP Grants & Investments; L1 aims at establishing key collaborations with IP holders and production studios at a pre-launch stage while providing developer support and guidance on the way to Mainnet.
- Technology Grants Program; token incentives will be provided to Lamina1 developers building on-chain.
WHAT COMES NEXT? HOW TO GET INVOLVED IN THE TESTNET?
As far as the tech roadmap is concerned, it is split between testnet and mainnet features/milestones. The testnet stage was recently announced (join the Lamina1 Discord server for additional information on how to participate: https://discord.com/invite/lamina1), and it allows project’s foundations to be tested and validated by fans, developers, and creators: allowing anyone to set up a wallet on the Lamina1 platform, claim testnet tokens via the faucet, send and receive the currency via the Lamina1 network, stake or become a validator of the network.
With the mainnet launch, full-fledged features will be rolled out, with a heavy emphasis on interoperability. Feel free to get more information from the team’s descriptive whitepaper.
In case we haven’t stressed it enough yet, Lamina1 is providing the gearset for a fight for an economy that is imagined, produced, and owned by its creators, and so there’s a variety of ways that one can get involved. (dev work, game engines unity and unreal engine, content creation)
Above all, having the right mindset and aligned values, that is respect for open-source technology, eagerness for economic transparency, and willingness for a proactive co-creation of the metaverse seems more than enough to get you started in the Lamina1 community.
As long as this read is exciting, stay informed, join L1’s rapidly growing Discord server, participate in the testnet campaign and connect with fellow enthusiasts, creators, and metaverse builders. The takeaway message is that L1 envisions an ecosystem where the Open Metaverse lays on interoperable and open-source tools, so keep on building what you’re building and that’s already more than a substantial contribution. After all, L1’s ultimate goal is to provide the necessary tools for people to creatively self-actualize and actively shape the collective online future — before it’s too late.