Original Snow Crash Manuscript Goes Up for Auction

According to a page that can be found on the official website of Sotheby’s, the original manuscript of Neil Stephenson’s Snow Crash, the novel that is credited with coining the phrase “metaverse,” will be put up for sale. The auction is a part of a series dubbed “Infocalypse” that will take place on February 23. The series will feature both physical and digital goods linked to the well-known novel.

Lot 2 of the series contains the original manuscript that was written. It is “wrapped in original Xerox 4200 Paper,” it is sealed with masking tape, and it has “corrections and notations throughout written in blue ink by Neal Stephenson in his hand.” Additionally, the author has inscribed the title of the book on the spine of the book using a sharpie marker.

In addition, there is a “updated typesetting document” up for auction in Lot 4 of the sale. This is a later version that was revised and supplemented by the author with extra handwritten notations and alterations.

Other real-world items are also being sold at auction as part of this series. These include the original painting that was used as the cover art for the 1993 mass-market paperback edition of the book; a leather jacket that was going to be used in a video promotion for the graphic novel; slides that were used for the concept of the graphic novel; and a real sword that was inspired by the one that the book’s protagonist wielded.

In addition to these tangible artifacts, the series will also include non-fiction tales (NFTs) of digital art that were created in response to the graphic book idea that came before Snow Crash.

The dystopian novel Snow Crash was first released in 1992 and takes place in a world where the majority of people reside in cramped storage facilities. The main character, Hiro, is a pizza delivery worker who needs to battle robbers in order to deliver pizzas to customers. The story chronicles his adventures. Hiro doesn’t have much of a social life since he spends all of his free time in a virtual world known as “the Metaverse,” which is a place where people go to get away from the stress of ordinary life. The inhabitants of the Metaverse, however, are transformed into “nothing more than a jittering cloud of negative digital karma” due to a computer virus. The journey that Hiro takes through the book to discover a cure for the virus is the driving force behind the story’s action.

According to the Washington Post, the book has racked up sales of more than one million copies on the continent of North America alone. Since the publication of the book, enthusiasts of virtual reality have been increasingly using Stephenson’s term “metaverse” to describe the developing virtual world that is being created by virtual reality technology. In recent years, the term has become a buzzword that is frequently searched for online.

The growth of the metaverse has provided some people with new job prospects and has contributed to the transformation of Web3 gaming.


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HKSFC to Hire 4 More Staff to Supervise Crypto

When it comes to monitoring the operations of the cryptocurrency business, the authorities in charge of regulation in Hong Kong are ramping up their game.

According to a report that was submitted by the Securities and Futures Commission on February 6th, the organisation has plans to recruit four more staff members in order to “better regulate” the operations of local virtual asset (VA) providers. In addition, the additional monitoring would assist “better analyse the compliance and risk” by enabling retail investors to exchange virtual assets on regulated platforms. This will make it possible for more people to participate in the cryptocurrency market.

The commission said in a written announcement that “this is in response to a rising number of operators that have indicated interest in carrying out VA operations such as trading platforms and the administration of VA funds.”

This comes at the beginning of the implementation of a new licencing framework that will allow for larger retail investment in cryptocurrencies.

According to the regulations in place at the time, trading platforms that had been granted a licence to operate in Hong Kong could previously only service professional investors or clients who had portfolios worth at least $1 million (HK $8 million).

The Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Financing Bill was amended in December 2022 to include the new licence system, which was then passed by lawmakers. On the other hand, it won’t go into effect until June 2023, so there’s still plenty of time for local companies and government authorities to be ready for a fresh influx of people into the market.

Hong Kong has been making progress toward its goal of becoming a centre for Web3 innovation and modernising its cryptocurrency business. This strategy called for the creation of an investment fund with a total of $500 million so that widespread implementation could be pushed via the local sector.

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) has just lately issued a statement indicating that it would not permit algorithmic stablecoins in its most current rule. The announcement was published online. However, the regulatory body has said that it plans to build a comprehensive regulatory framework for stablecoins, which would be based on the complete backing of assets of this kind.


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UAE to experiment and launch an in-house digital currency

The United Arab Emirates becomes the latest country to join the race for experimenting with an in-house digital currency. According to the three-year plan for 2023-2026 that announces the launch of its digital currency, the Central Bank of the UAE, or CBUAE, intends to stand among the top 10 central banks across the world.

CBUAE’s strategy involves seven objectives to help drive the country’s digital transformation ambitions, primarily focused on financial services. Gulf News reported that this transformation will be heavily dictated by the latest iterations of artificial intelligence and big data solutions. 

While UAE’s innovation strategy is aimed at streamlining “inspection, monitoring and insurance systems” through technology, the government will involve the use of UAE Pass, a digital identity system for keeping track of citizens, “to bolster financial inclusion and easy access to financial services.”

Staying in line with its goal of global fintech disruption and the Green Economy initiative from Vision 2021, the UAE government envisions developing a secure cloud infrastructure for consistent innovation. Gulf News also reported on the launch of a survey carried out by CBUAE named “Future Expectations and Needs of Partners Survey,” which has been scheduled for July 15, 2021.

While numerous Gulf countries have previously signaled their readiness to experiment with digital technologies, the UAE becomes the first regulator to announce their interest with a fixed timeline. 

Related: Report: Vietnam’s PM asks State Bank to trial digital currency on the blockchain

As cryptocurrency continues to gain trust of the general public, governments have become more attentive to the developments around the use of blockchain and digitization within their existing financial systems.

Earlier this month, the Vietnamese prime minister Phạm Minh Chính shared his interest in trialing a digital currency “as part of his wider e-government development strategy.” On the contrary to this development, the Vietnamese government had previously banned the use of Bitcoin (BTC) for payment. However, the citizens are still allowed to privately invest in BTC without expecting any regulatory scrutiny.

With Bitcoin’s presence into mainstream finance getting stronger by the day, governments across the globe are reevaluating the use case for Bitcoin and its direct implication on the shift of political power.