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Introduction of Capital Reserve

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Example of Capital Reserve

Let’s take an example, Ryan would like to buy land in the future. So, in order to prepare himself, he will start keeping some money aside. Let’s say he created some wealth by selling off his old car and some household stuff along with some money generated from his income. Now he opens up a saving account to save all the money gathered. He can now use this money only to buy the land in the future. 

Similarly, if we consider a company XYZ has a plan of business expansion in the near future without taking a huge loan, they can do so by creating a Capital Reserve. If the Company is selling off any property or assets, they can include the amount generated in Capital Reserve. Since the company is not entitled to pay any dividend to shareholders from this capital, they can use the whole amount to invest for expansion.     

How Capital Reserve can be Created?

Here are a few examples by which It can be generated: 

Profit earned on the sale of Fixed Assets


Profit earned on selling investments


Profit received on buying an existing business


Profit generated on the revaluation of assets and liabilities


Premium received on issuing shares and debentures


Objectives of Capital Reserve

Surplus amount in Capital Reserve makes the organization financially strong.

It helps in writing off financial losses.

It is used to finance Long Term Projects of the company.

It helps in issuing bonus shares to shareholders.

It is maintained in order to protect the company during inflation or Economic Crisis.

It is used to increase the working capital of an entity.

It supports future contingencies of a firm.

Capital Reserve vs Revenue Reserve

Difference between Capital Reserve and Revenue Reserve: 

It is created for Long Term Projects while Revenue Reserve is created to handle unexpected events within a business.

Profit earned through sale of assets or sale of shares goes in capital reserve while profit earned through regular operations goes in Revenue Reserve.

Capital Reserve mostly used for long term projects while Revenue Reserve is m


stly used for short term purposes.

It is used only for the purpose for which it is created while Revenue Reserve can be used for any purpose.

It cannot be used as div


dends while Revenue reserve can be used to pay dividends.

Goodwill and Capital Reserve

 Goodwill represents the extra amount that we pay for purchasing a firm, while capital reserve represents the profit that we earned by acquiring a business or a firm. For example,, Fair value of a Company ABC’s assets and debts is 100,000$. While  Company XYZ’s acquired ABC in 120,000$. This extra 20,000$ paid by XYZ will be considered as Goodwill. The account for Goodwill is listed in the assets section of Firm’s Balance Sheet under intangible assets. Although, Goodwill is allocated in assets a financial analyst doesn’t consider Goodwill while analyzing Firm’s asset value. A Capital Reserve is accounted for in the equity section of the Balance sheet, which is the profit that is earned by acquiring another company. Capital Reserve is the actual profit that is then used in future contingencies. 


It supports

strengthening the financial stability of a firm.

It helps to supply the additional


 of working capital.

It is a great source of Financing Long Term Investments or business expansion projects.

It provides a surplus amount that provides additional support during unexpected Economic Crisis, Inflation.

It helps in issuing fully paid Bonus shares to existing shareholders.

It helps in writing off economic losses that may occur to the organization in the future.

It can not be distributed as a dividend to shareholders. As a result, Shareholders do not get fair dividend.

It is quite tough for an organization to determine 

such reserve fund.

Since capital reserve only comes from Non

Operating activities and has nothing to do with Trading activities or Business activities of the organization, it does not give any reflection of the operational efficiency of the firm.

Since capital reserve only comes from Non

Operating activities and has nothing to do with Trading activities or Business activities of the organization, it does not give any indication of real profit earned by the company.

It is not necessary for a business organization to maintain Capital Reserve.


Capital Reserve is a reserve build by a company over a period of time by accumulating profits generated through non-operating activities to finance Long Term Projects or to write off its losses or capital expenses in the future. This Reserve is maintained by the company to prepare itself from any unanticipated events that may occur in future such as Economic Crisis, Inflation, write off capital expenses, Long Term Capital investment projects or expansion of the business. The capital reserve is a great source for financing Long Term Projects of a firm and company doesn’t need to borrow funds from external sources. 

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How To Use Isblank With Examples

ISBLANK Function

Checks if a specified cell is blank or not

Written by

CFI Team

Published July 2, 2023

Updated July 7, 2023

What is Excel ISBLANK Function?

The ISBLANK Function[1] is an Excel Information function that returns true if the argument cell has no information in it. ISBLANK checks a specified cell and tells us if it is blank or not. If it is blank, it will return TRUE; else, it will return FALSE. The function was introduced in MS Excel 2007.

In financial analysis, we deal with data all the time. The ISBLANK function is useful in checking if a cell is blank or not. For example, if A5 contains a formula that returns an empty string “” as a result, the function will return FALSE. Thus, it helps in removing both regular and non-breaking space characters.

However, if a cell contains good data, as well as non-breaking spaces, it is possible to remove the non-breaking spaces from the data.




Value (required argument) is the value that we wish to test. (This function takes in a cell)

How to use the Excel ISBLANK Function

As a worksheet function, ISBLANK can be entered as part of a formula in a cell of a worksheet. To understand the uses of this function, let us consider a few examples:

Highlight Missing Values – Example

Suppose we are given the following data:

Suppose we wish to highlight cells that are empty. We can use the ISBLANK coupled with conditional formatting. For example, suppose we want to highlight the blank cells in the range A2:F9, we select the range and use a conditional formatting rule with the following formula: =ISBLANK(A2:F9).

How to do conditional formatting?

The input formula is shown below:

We will get the results below.

Conditional formatting didn’t highlight cell E5. After checking, there is a formula inserted into the cell.

The Excel ISBLANK function will return TRUE when a cell is actually empty. If a cell is an empty string (“”), ISBLANK will return FALSE, as it is not technically blank,  and it won’t be highlighted as shown above.

Extracting the first NON-Blank value in an array

Suppose we wish to get the first non-blank value (text or number) in a one-row range. We can use an array formula based on the INDEX, MATCH, and ISBLANK functions.

We are given the data below:

Here, we want to get the first non-blank cell, but we don’t have a direct way to do that in Excel. We could use VLOOKUP with a wildcard *, but that will only work for text, not numbers.

Hence, we need to build the functionality by nesting formulas. One way to do it is to use an array function that “tests” cells and returns an array of TRUE/FALSE values that we can then match with MATCH. Now MATCH looks for FALSE inside the array and returns the position of the first match found, which, in this case, is 2. Now the INDEX function takes over and gets the value at position 2 in the array, which, in this case, is the value PEACHES.

As this is an array formula, we need to enter it with CTRL+SHIFT+ENTER.

We get the results below:

Additional Resources

Thanks for reading CFI’s guide to important Excel functions! By taking the time to learn and master these functions, you’ll significantly speed up your financial modeling and valuation analysis. To learn more, check out these additional CFI resources:

How Php Ucwords() Works With Examples

Introduction to PHP ucwords()

Ucwords() in PHP is a built-in function. It is helpful to convert the first and foremost character of a string into uppercase. The ucwords() only supports PHP 4 & above versions. ucwords() function takes a string as an input value and it outputs the string by changing the first letter/character of the string into uppercase. Other than this every other character remains the same as the previous time. The ucwords() function in PHP returns converted to string by changing the first letter of all words to uppercase.

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Syntax Ucwords($string, $separator)

The ucwords() syntax accepts just two parameters.

1. $string( string mandatory ): Between the parenthesis of ucwords() function, string input is required. It is a must and mandatory to this function declaration in order to specify the string which is to be converted.

2. $separator ( Optional Parameter ): Separator is the optional parameter of ucwords() function. It contains words separator characters. The separator used in the input string for the words. The listed characters which are listed below are by default:

t for tab


r for Carriage return

n for newline

v for vertical tab

f for form feed

$Separator parameter added in 5.5.16, 5.4.32 versions of PHP.

How PHP ucwords() works?

PHP ucwords works when the text/words contain mixed types of letters/characters inside words. Only the first character of the word/ first characters of all the words which are in the sentence will be converted to capital letters. It works using a string value that contains word/words and it also uses one separator/delimiter value but it is optional. No issue with the separator variable.

Examples of PHP ucwords()

Given below are the examples

Example #1

How the basic program works by using ucwords() PHP function.


<?php $input_string = "hey buddy, pavan sake is coming just wait."; echo "Before:". $input_string; $result_string = ucwords($input_string); echo "After: ".$result_string;


Example #2


<?php $result_string1 = ucwords($input_string); echo $result_string2;


Example #3

This example here is to use ucwords() function on arrays which has a list of names/strings by removing delimeters/parameters “–“ and “”.


<?php function ucname($string1) { $string1 =ucwords(strtolower($string1)); foreach (array('-', ''') as $parameters1) { if (strpos($string1, $parameters1)!==false) { $string1 =implode($parameters1, array_map('ucfirst', explode($parameters1, $string1))); } } return $string1; } <?php $names1 =array( 'SAKE-PAVAN KUMAR', 'ANIL O'KUMAR', 'MARUTHI PRASAD', 'surendra la gandham', 'rAjAsEkHaR KAtUbaDi' ); /* Sake-Pavan Kumar Anil O'Kumar Maruthi Prasad Surendra La Gandham Rajasekhar Kattubadi */


Example #4

This is one of the sample programs of ucwords function.

This program has features like:

Multibyte/bytes Compatability

It handles delimiters even if there are multiple


<?php function ucwords_specific1 ($string1, $delimiters1 = '', $encoding1 = NULL) { if ($encoding1 === NULL) { $encoding1 = mb_internal_encoding();} if (is_string($delimiters1)) { $delimiters1 =  str_split( str_replace(' ', '', $delimiters1)); } $delimiters_pattern11 = array(); $delimiters_replace11 = array(); $delimiters_pattern21 = array(); $delimiters_replace21 = array(); foreach ($delimiters1 as $delimiter1) { $uniqid1 = uniqid(); $delimiters_pattern11[]   = '/'. preg_quote($delimiter1) .'/'; $delimiters_replace11[]   = $delimiter1.$uniqid1.' '; $delimiters_pattern21[]   = '/'. preg_quote($delimiter1.$uniqid1.' ') .'/'; $delimiters_replace21[]   = $delimiter1; } $return_string1 = $string1; $return_string1 = preg_replace($delimiters_pattern11, $delimiters_replace11, $return_string1); $words1 = explode(' ', $return_string1); { $words1[$index1] = mb_strtoupper(mb_substr($word1, 0, 1, $encoding1), $encoding1).mb_substr($word1, 1, mb_strlen($word1, $encoding1), $encoding1); } $return_string1 = implode(' ', $words1); $return_string1 = preg_replace($delimiters_pattern21, $delimiters_replace21, $return_string1); return $return_string1; } <?php mb_internal_encoding('UTF-8'); $string1 = "PAVAN KUMAR-SAKE d'alltechscience şŠ-òÀ-éÌ hello - web"; echo ucwords_specific1( mb_strtolower($string1, 'UTF-8'), "-'");


The main parameters which are involved in the above program are $string1, $delimeter1, $delimiters, encoding. Delimeter/Delimeters are the parameters that are an option but needed In the development. The string is the parameter that is to be converted. The encoding parameter is to know the character encoding. Internal characters encoding value/values will be used if the parameter don’t omits.

Example #5


<?php $title1 = 'PAVAN "THE KING" SAKE - (I WANT TO BE YOUR) SERVANT'; echo ucwords(strtolower($title1)); <?php function my_ucwords($string1) { $noletters1='"([/'; for($i=0; $i<strlen($noletters1); $i++) $string1 = str_replace($noletters1[$i], $noletters1[$i].' ', $string1); $string1=ucwords($string1); for($i=0; $i<strlen($noletters1); $i++) $string1 = str_replace($noletters1[$i].' ', $noletters1[$i], $string1); return $string1; } $title1 = 'PAVAN "THE KING" SAKE - (I WANT TO BE YOUR) SERVANT'; echo my_ucwords(strtolower($title1));


Example #6

This is the example of the code below which will convert all your words into small letters except the first letter. They will be a capital letter. Here ucfirst() function is used. It is also a part of ucwords() function.


<?php $text1 = "What Buddy ? No 'parameters',shit! "happening" chúng tôi solves many problems now???"; for ($i = 0; $i < count($data1[0]); $i++) { $data1[0][$i] = ucfirst($data1[0][$i]); } $text1 = implode("", $data1[0]); print $text1;


The above program’s output contains the same text which is under $text1 variable but just the first characters of the words which are listed in the variable will be changed to the capital letters remaining ones will remain as small letters.

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How Can Artificial Intelligence Be Implemented In Recycling Startups?

Nielsen’s study found that consumers globally are adapting their purchasing habits to prioritize convenience, affordability, and sustainability awareness. 81% of respondents worldwide believe that companies have a responsibility to contribute to environmental improvement. This commitment to corporate social responsibility is seen across all age groups and genders, with Millennials, Gen Z, and Gen X expressing the most support, followed by older populations.

Challenges in Waste Management Nowadays

The world is currently facing challenges in waste management due to rapid population growth and urbanization, leading to an increase in waste generation. The World Bank reports that the world produces 2.01 billion tonnes of municipal solid waste annually, and at least 33% of it is not processed in an environmentally friendly way. On average, a person generates 0.74 kilos of garbage per day, with high-income nations accounting for 34% of the world’s waste despite making up only 16% of the population. 

Waste management involves waste collection, transportation, treatment, and disposal, all of which require substantial investments in infrastructure and changes in behavior and policies. These activities demand appropriate infrastructure, such as waste collection vehicles, treatment facilities, and landfill sites, which can be expensive to build and maintain. This can be politically challenging, particularly in countries where there are competing priorities for limited resources.

How Recycling Startups Implement AI

According to Statista’s report, in 2023, the market value of global waste recycling services was $55.1 billion. This market is expected to experience significant growth in the future due to rising consumer awareness about the environmental consequences of waste. By 2028, the global waste recycling services market is anticipated to attain an estimated value of nearly $90 billion, with a compound annual growth rate of 4.8% predicted during the forecast period of 2023 to 2030.

AI technology will undoubtedly play a role. Recycling startups implement AI in various ways, here are some examples:

Using AI-powered sensors and cameras to sort waste more efficiently. Machine learning algorithms can analyze images of waste and identify different materials, such as paper, plastic, and metal. This can help improve recycling rates and reduce contamination. 

For example, MobiDev company created an AI-based mobile app for recycling. The app uses AI algorithms to detect the waste type and give recycling recommendations. This solution helps people to sort waste properly. 

CleanRobotics uses AI to identify and sort recyclable materials from waste. The company’s flagship product, the TrashBot, is a smart waste bin that uses AI to separate trash from recyclables.

Since recycling equipment is generally expensive and breakdowns can be costly, artificial intelligence can be used to monitor equipment performance in real-time and predict when maintenance is needed.

Greyparrot, the UK-based startup uses AI to monitor waste sorting equipment and predict maintenance needs. The company’s software can detect issues in real-time and alert facility managers to potential problems, reducing the risk of equipment failure.  This helps them to reduce downtime and save money on repairs.

Recycling startups can use AI to forecast demand for recycled materials. This can help them plan their operations more effectively and avoid over- or under-producing recycled materials.

Bin-e is a Polish startup that uses AI to analyze waste streams and identify opportunities for recycling. Designed for use in public areas, Bin-e is a smart waste bin that utilizes AI technology to streamline the process of recycling. The bin automatically sorts and compresses waste monitors its fill level and collects data to facilitate efficient waste management.

Recycling startups can use AI to optimize their collection and transportation routes. This can help reduce fuel consumption and lower emissions. For example, the US-based Rubicon company uses AI software that can analyze data on waste generation and recycling rates to create efficient routes for its trucks.


How Does Mongodb Unique Works With Examples

Introduction to MongoDB Unique

MongoDB’s Unique Constraint makes certain that the fields indexed in it, do not store duplicate values for the same field, i.e., making sure the uniqueness of fields. By default, MongoDB enforces this unique constraint on the “_id” field, while inserting new data. One of the major responsibilities is to ensure no duplicate data has been stored in a single key. We also have restrictions here, like MongoDB will be unable to establish a unique index on any specific field, in case if the collection somehow has already stored any data that would breach the feature of unique constraint for the index.

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Now that we have understood what Unique Constraint in MongoDB, let us learn the standard syntax to write this Unique method.

db.collection_name.createIndex( {field_name : 1} , {unqiue : true} )

How UNIQUE Constraint works in MongoDB?

The Unique Index allows the insertion and storing of the values in a document into a collection IF there is no other document in the same collection with the same index key and value. The unique constraint can be implemented on compound indexes. This helps MongoDB to implement uniqueness when combining the index key values.  Unique Constraint over separate multiple documents is possible in MongoDB, and it is an essential function in avoiding storing of same values for the indexed key in a different document.

Unique Constraint in MongoDB will allow only a single document with the same value for the indexed key. If we attempt to insert the same value for a single indexed key, it will result in an error.

Query #1


This returns every document in the collection.

Query #2

db.code.insert( { name:”kumar”, city:“Pune”, code:19 } )

This is an attempt to insert a record with the same code.




Explanation: Here, we have implemented the unique index for “code” key, and so when we try to store a document with existing code, it results in “duplicate key error”.

Unique Constraint for Null Value

When we store any document, we store values for the respective keys, and it is stored as per indexing. But in case, if we attempt to store a document that has no specific value or data for a key, for any uncertain key, the document will be stored, and the empty value will be stored as a null value in that document.  In MongoDB, only on the document is allowed to be stored with a single index field missing.

Examples to Implement UNIQUE Constraint in MongoDB

Implementing Unique Contraint on separate documents to not store the same value for the indexes key, in two different documents.

Example #1

We will attempt to insert and store documents with duplicate values. We have a collection named educba, which we will check with find method: db.educba.find()




As you can see in the above image, we have a collection named educba, and the document has one default unique “_id” and two more keys. We will now implement the unique constraint on the “Name”, which will make it unique, duplicate insertion proof.


db.educba.createIndex( { “Name” : 1 } , { unique : true } )



db.educba.insert({ Name : "Sulaksh" ,  City : "Pune" })


First Query:db.educba.insert({ Name : "Sulaksh" ,  City : "Pune" })

The above query will be successfully inserted.  Then we attempted to insert the same query, i.e. same document with the same values, but it resulted in an error that states, “terms”: “E11000 duplicate key error collection: test.educba index: Name_1 dup key: { : ”Sulaksh” }””. This makes our unique constraint applied over the Name field successfully.

Example #2


db.educba.createIndex( {email : 1},{unique : true} )


We will not attempt to insert a document with a different name but an email id that already exists in another document. Expectations are that the insertion operation will not work and through us an error of duplicate value. We have another document with a slightly different name: Sanket1, for the test purpose, and now we will attempt to update the document with an email: [email protected]


db.educba.update( { “Name” : ”Sanket1” } , { $set : {email : “[email protected]” }})

Above query will aim to search a record with Name: Sanket1 and will update the record with adding an email id to the document, here $set will add a field for the document.


As you can see in the above screenshot, when we attempted to update a record with the different Name field, the email was the same as one existing document. It threw us a write error, which means an error occurred while writing the document. The error states “duplicate key error collection: test. educba index: email_1 dup key”. The error points to the issue and makes things clear for us to understand.  Like in our case, the email with the value of “[email protected]” is duplicated, already stored, so it will not store again due to unique indexing on the email field. In case you want to know, I’ve used the update with $get to add another field for existing records.

Use Case for this example: Is the New User Registration where we have to ensure that a single mail id is not used to create multiple accounts.


Implementing Unique Constraint will restrict the database from storing duplicate values for the same indexed key to wrap it up. This feature helps in storing documents with uniqueness. We learned and understood the syntax followed by the working of it. Then we implemented the unique constraint with example and understood the same along with screenshots, respectively.

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Neal Stephenson Reveals How He Created The Metaverse

When New York Times bestselling author Neal Stephenson first coined the term metaverse in his 1992 cyberpunk novel Snow Crash, he set a high bar for other science fiction authors to come, including the worlds subsequently created in films like The Matrix. His immersive literary technique and attention to detail in each of his works – Seveneves, Anthem, Reamde, and Cryptonomicon – have created a world that, today, we are actually working to build: this next-generation information era, dubbed Web3.

As one of the most popular sci-fi books of all time, Snow Crash’s first inception was a graphic novel undertaken by Stephenson and artist Tony Sheeder in 1988 called Dioxin Posse. However, the publisher rejected its manuscript, as the printing costs were upwards of $20,000, forcing Stephenson to write Snow Crash as a novel. 

Fast forward to 2023, and Stephenson’s vision of the metaverse is finally taking shape, where questions of identity and infrastructure are finally front and center. What better way to celebrate than by looking back to where it all began? On February 27, 2023, Sotheby’s will recognize the author with Snow Crash, an auction of six physical and digital items connected to the revolutionary novel. This sale also includes Infocalypse, an open edition collection of digital art designed for, or derived from, Dioxin Posse.

Stephenson sat down with nft now to talk about this upcoming sale at Sotheby’s, in addition to how questions pertaining to identity, fashion, and metaverse infrastructures are beginning to take form. 

nft now: How did the idea of auctioning off some of the original Snow Crash manuscripts come to be with Sotheby’s? 

Neal Stephenson: The project started early last year and has been in the works for about a year now. We were talking about doing some NFTs, and at that point, the field was wide open in terms of where we might sell those. That led to the idea of auctioning off the original manuscripts, which is a different kind of auction, obviously, that makes you think of the classic auction houses like Sotheby’s and Christie’s. Also, the owner of the original artwork for the cover of the mass-market paperback of Snow Crash approached us, wanting to auction it off, so that has also been rolled into this. 

The original typesetting manuscript for Snow Crash. Credit: Neal Stephenson/Sotheby’s

nft now: One of the more unique items that will be available at Sotheby’s is a katana sword, dubbed “Sword 1” – what can you tell us about it?

NS: Since late 2023, we’ve been working on the Snowcrash sword project with Weta Workshop, the New Zealand craftsman guild that created all the props and weapons for the Lord of the Rings trilogies. The idea behind “Sword 1” and the one I own, “Sword 0,” is that it was meant to be an actual physical recreation of Hiro’s sword as described in Snow Crash.

“Sword 0” started in 2014 and finished in 2023. However, “Sword 1” is a new creation and the one that will soon be available for auction. The sword is a physical object and a work of fine art; it’s a magnificent object that deserves to be sold in a traditional auction house like Sotheby’s. 

Weta is incredibly particular in that they want to know every detail of the backstory of it before they start designing and working on it. And you can see that in everything that they have made as movie props. So, for “Sword 1,” I had to supply Weta with new information about the background of the families involved and how this sword came into Hiro’s possession. As a result, it caused me to begin writing some new original story material in the Snow Crash universe during 2014-2024. 

The idea that both Richard Taylor at Weta and I came up with was: why not make more of these, use some of the new story material from the Snow Crash universe that nobody knows about, and use it as the basis for creating new swords? Even more elaborate and magnificent than the one I’ve got. 

“Sword 1.” Hand-Forged Tachi and Saya with Digital Twin as NFT. Credit: Sotheby’s

nft now: Let’s turn to your generative NFT art project, Infocalypse, which is also part of the Sotheby’s auction.

NS: In 1988, four years after the original Macintosh computer came out, Tony Sheeder and I started talking about a graphic novel project called Dioxin Posse, and we were going to use computers to do it. 

He had never used a computer with a mouse before, so he came to my house, and I fired up MacPaint and explained to him how to use the mouse. He sat down and drew this line-drawing cartoon of a face – and we named him Elmo. I loved the image, so I saved it and preserved it. We used it as kind of like a mascot or logo for a while, but the graphic novel project ended up going nowhere as a business proposition, and I later wrote Snow Crash.

Last year, we started thinking about this auction, and we were scrambling around trying to find the original artwork we produced circa 1989 for Dioxin Posse. Tony had printed out the artwork on a color printer and pasted it up on poster boards, but those had been destroyed in a flood. 

Surviving materials from the original graphic novel concept for Snow Crash titled Dioxin Posse. Credit: Neal Stephenson and Tony Sheeder/Sotheby’s

But, he was able to find ten 35 mm slides that we had shot of that artwork, so one of the lots in the Sotheby’s auction is going to be those slides and high-resolution digital scans of the slides that will also be sold as NFTs. One of those pictures was Elmo, so from that, Tony came up with the idea of doing this generative art project and using generative techniques to make thousands of unique variations of the Elmo face with different backgrounds and color palettes. 

nft now: What about generative art do you feel resonates with you most?

NS: It’s a natural fit with the digital ethos of the NFT marketplace, and where I think it gets interesting is in the editorial process, where humans are involved – not just running an algorithm and spitting out a bunch of images randomly. Rather, you’re evaluating each one and asking, ‘do I like this? Is it unique? Does it stand out from the others in some way?’

Over the last month, Tony and Sterling have been sifting through the output of this algorithm and painstakingly going over all of these things. For us, it’s a way to make artwork that addresses a broader market. It’s fine to do fine art and sell one thing for a lot of money, but at the same time, you don’t want to shut out collectors who want to get in at a more reasonable price point.

Infocalpyse NFT example. Credit: Tony Sheeder, Sterling Crispin, Neal Stephenson, and Sotheby’s

nft now: Where do you think our focus should be right now in the current NFT market?

NS: My interest right now is in the legal rights of both buyers and sellers in this market because right now, they don’t have any. We use the term ‘smart contracts,’ but they’re not contracts in any sense of the word. We also talk about how supposedly the artists are going to get secondary royalties and secondary sales, but that’s completely voluntary, and buyer’s rights are also pretty nebulous.

Normally, if you sell something to someone, one of the steps in that process is having to prove that you actually own the thing that you’re selling. None of that is in place here, which is why we are doing an experiment with a company called V Copy, which is run by Josh Kramer, whose background is in entertainment law. In working with Josh, we hope it’ll be a step forward in addressing some of these issues.

nft now: Turning to Snow Crash, what was your spark for creating this “Metaverse” world that has come to define today’s “Web3” tech boom?

NS: When we were working on Dioxin Posse, I ended up writing a lot of code with image processing software that was intended for making art. I ended up buying a lot of shit, including a very expensive computer monitor. The impression I came away with was that the potential of computer graphics was incredible, particularly 3D-rendered scenes that you can interact with. 

However, it was incredibly expensive and hard to use at the time, which is where the science fiction idea came in – what would be the TV of 3D computer graphics? You made the analogy to Grand Theft Auto, which obviously didn’t exist at the time, but it’s not a bad analogy. And that’s the vibe that you see. It’s that Starsky & Hutch, A-Team, and The Dukes of Hazzard style content.

The original painting used as the cover art for the 1993 mass-market paperback edition of Snow Crash. Credit: Bruce Jensen/Sotheby’s

nft now: Today’s visualization of the metaverse seems to impart that certain mechanisms or rules are made to be broken. Can you speak to that?

NS: Starting with the premise first, I think we have to have the rules, otherwise, we can’t make a coherent metaverse. And the thing that weirdly got me thinking about this was a book published by Apple in the 80s called The Apple Human Interface Guidelines. 

This handbook captured the reason as to why all Mac applications had common features, including the way the buttons behaved, the menus worked, etc. And some people ignored it and did whatever they wanted, but for the most part, Apple understood that they were going to get greater uptake and reach the market better if their app looked and behaved the same as all the other apps. So, I did the science fiction thing and asked what the metaverse equivalent of that would look like – and that’s where I came up with the idea that there would have to be certain rules in this metaverse, such as gravity always in one direction. 

nft now: Let’s talk about these rules as it pertains to the novel’s depiction of “avatars.”

NS: There’s some kind of general respect for the laws of physics, which must be present for a metaverse to exist at all. Since this was a cyberpunk novel, there had to be hackers who hack something, which is why we see Hiro and other characters finding ways to circumvent these rules and make their own workarounds. 

nft now: With these avatars, there seemed to be an element of tangibility attached to them throughout the novel, such as the ability to go and purchase “Brandy” at the local Walmart. Does that same element of tangibility exist with today’s avatar?

NS: I think there are some things that are no longer possible today, but we do have avatars in the form of two-dimensional PFPs, and names in a Slack channel or Discord. And people care about those a lot and put a lot of effort into finding avatars they like – even if it’s just a thumbnail man in a three-dimensional environment.

When we think about avatars, we think of some crazy, non-realistic ones. However, for these people who design and sell fashion, having realistic avatars that actually looked like the owner was really important because what they want to do at the end of the day is sell clothes.

The leather jacket meant to be worn by Y.T. in the original graphic novel concept for Snow Crash, featuring the ‘Elmo’ logo used by her group, the Dioxin Posse. Credit: Sotheby’s

nft now: So, we aren’t necessarily missing the mark?

NS: I think all of that is going to happen…even the situations where people don’t want to look like themselves, whatever the underlying reason is. I think people are going to have wardrobes of different avatars that they can choose from. And from there, that’s where we get into all kinds of questions about how to implement and actually make that work.

nft now: How would you explain the current tension between IRL and digital identity?

NS: There has been tension between anonymity and the potential for abuse. We now see that bot accounts and fake accounts online have been weaponized by sophisticated, well-financed actors as a way of distributing misinformation.

We’ve also seen innovations that have happened within the last month with AI-driven systems, which make those weaponized systems much more. It’s been an ongoing source of trouble, which is probably going to get worse – and that is a clash between the original idea of the 1990s idea of the internet, which is the kind of idealistic, academic hippie who wants to improve the world, versus what happened when bad actors realized how powerful the internet could be.

nft now: With tech innovation at its highest right now, will we see a single metaverse – or will we continue to see multiple metaverses that are built “bottom-down” by decentralized infrastructures? 

NS: I don’t think it’s super complicated. If our vision of the metaverse is something that millions or even billions of people use happily in a productive way, then there have to be experiences there that people enjoy. So who’s going to make those experiences? Right now, the people who know how to make experiences that are actually fun are, by and large, a group of people who work in the gaming industry – and those experiences tend to be artistically rich, nice to look at, and fun to interact with.

nft now: Does the gaming sector have it right?

NS: One major roadblock when it comes to creating VR or AR experiences is asking how to break through these markets – commercial, industrial, military, medical, and educational – and make them interesting to a vast consumer market. I think the gaming industry is just miles ahead in actually achieving that. 

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