Neal Stephenson, author who invented the “Metaverse”, just bought his first NFTs

Neal Stephenson, 1992 science fiction author Nevada and coiner of the term “metaverse,” bought his first NFTs on Thursday.

Stephenson’s first NFT artwork was “Neophyte MMXXII #94” by artist Sterling Crispin. The generative piece is inspired by nature and comes from the art blocks platform, where 25% of the initial NFT sale went to Native Animal Rescue, an organization that rescues and rehabilitates wildlife in Santa Cruz County. the sale was announced Thursday night by Crispin in a tweet saying he is “so proud and humbled.”

stephenson bought the job for .888 ETH ($1,864), and soon after I bought another artwork generated from the Terraforms collection for .27 ETH ($567). Both NFTs currently live on your custom Ethereum address, nealtstephenson.ethwhich is also an NFT that has been bought just before the works.

“I came across Sterling Crispin’s work while thinking about a generative art project I’m collaborating on,” Stephenson said in an email to Motherboard. “As an artist, I like when artists get paid. So I bought some of his art!”

Stephenson’s vision for the metaverse in Nevada was a hyper-capitalist dystopia, which critics of NFTs, which are touted as the cornerstone of the Web3 metaverse, have pointed out is inconsistent with the way they are promoted as a revolutionary technology for the benefit of artists and Internet users in general. In particular, critics have pointed to the carbon footprint of the Ethereum blockchain and I was wondering if most artists behind the NFT collections really get what you deserve.

When asked about the issues, Stephenson described them as “interesting” but declined to comment, saying he wanted to comment directly on the purchase of the Crispin artwork.

Neal Stephenson's OpenSea profile.

Neal Stephenson’s OpenSea profile. Screenshot: OpenSea

“I’m truly grateful to everyone who supports my artwork, and it’s humbling when people I look up to believe in me,” Crispin said in a DM on Twitter.

“I think blockchain technology in general and NFTs are widely misunderstood,” he added. “There is a lot of frustration and anger. If there is anyone reading this who feels that way, please take a closer look. There are vibrant artist communities and really transformative things going on.” Crispin highlighted the charitable donations of Art Blocks, Commitment– a platform for donating to charities using crypto and an art-focused NFT marketplace versus as examples.

Stephenson now entering NFT could be seen as a vote of confidence at a low point. Crypto is in the midst of a brutal crash at all levels, while at the same time some critics have stated that the NFT market is collapsing (string metrics show a slowdown in the middle of the larger shock, but not indicate a complete collapse; during this time, the monkeys are down but not out and go for $200,000 minimum).

Stephenson hasn’t said if his next generative art project will come in the form of NFTs.

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