Weekly Updates

New Frontiers, New Norms

Vitalik Buterin was on the Bankless podcast recently. Of course he brought the fire. The overarching topic of the conversation was his blog post The Most Important Scarce Resource is Legitimacy. Give the whole podcast a listen/watch when you get a chance. 

I’ve written about legitimacy before and will again many times. It’s that important of a concept. Today, I want to draw attention to a specific exchange during the conversation about legitimacy, property rights, and the opportunity to bootstrap new norms

Vitalik raises the example of Antarctica. Currently, it’s a non-rivalrous space (aka no one is fighting over property lines there). But that unfortunately isn’t likely to be the case forever. With climate change, some parts of Antarctica will eventually be habitable by more than just intrepid scientists. People will move permanently there. They (we) will need a way to manage property rights.

As it stands today, there is no clear answer to what the legitimate way to do this is. Some countries will undoubtedly try to claim the land by force (already are). Some may try to retain a “utopian,” non-rivalrous system. Vitalik offers up a solution near and dear to our hearts—Harberger taxes. 

We refer to Harberger taxes as partial common ownership, but they’re the same thing. The system appeals to people (i.e. establishes legitimacy) through fairness. As Vitalik points out, Harberger taxes have the potential to create an interesting, better result for the world. We won’t get there passively. We have to actively pursue it to make it happen.

That’s what we’re doing on the Geo Web. Augmented reality land is non-rivalrous for now, but there are strong intuitions about fairness (which differers from VR). There are some projects that are staking claims to AR digital land through force (race to be first, big venture capital rounds/ICOs, recruiting through speculation, etc.). We choose to appeal through fairness and the opportunity to define a new, better world.

A new frontier, whether physical land or technology, offers an opportunity to redefine norms. That opportunity doesn't come around all that often. Without the baggage of legacy systems, we believe it’s our responsibility to attempt to implement “radical” new systems that can dramatically improve our lives. That’s the rallying cry for the Geo Web and the best crypto projects IMO. We hope you’ll join us on the Geo Web frontier.

On to the updates…


  • Added loading effects and user prompts (no content, unclaimed parcel) to the Spatial Browser (https://github.com/Geo-Web-Project/browser/pull/9).
  • Completed the Community & Governance Section of our docs site.
  • We’re diving in deep on ETH L2 and researching the current offerings. Scalability of L2 will allow us to have a finer grain coordinate grid while keeping land claim/transfer costs in check. We’ll only launch the Geo Web’s Digital Land Registry on one network (it is self-defeating to spread the network effects of the registry out across networks), so it’s a big decision. We’re weighing the developer experience, transaction efficiency, roll-up trade-offs, and network effects before making a call.


On Deck

  • Update the Cadastre to Ceramic 1.0 + update supporting tools
  • Return to IDX + Textile Buckets integration with the Cadastre
  • Ceramic multi-query for the Spatial Browser
  • More developer docs

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