Palatable Partial Common Ownership
Partial common ownership serves as the foundation of everything that we want to do with the Geo Web really. It creates a free market with more allocative efficiency. It allows the network to elegantly transition from early bootstrapping to global legitimacy. It offers the opportunity to fund more public goods. Those are three really big wins!
The challenge of course is getting people to adopt this radical idea that, on the surface, leaves property owners with less power (everyone looks at it from that perspective rather than as a buyer). People aren’t going to give up the idea of traditional property rights easily.
We’re committed to overcoming that resistance with education, a compelling “product,” and in the end a superior value proposition (more public goods in the ecosystem = more good for the public). That doesn’t mean the core partial common ownership mechanism can’t be refined to make it more immediately palatable for the skeptical adopter.
The common knock on partial common ownership is the lack of stability. In the “pure” implementation of partial common ownership, the forced transfer mechanism means that control of property can change hands at any time. The fear of the unknown is natural and strong.
The most blunt instrument to limit this looming threat is to utilize a lower network fee rate. Lower network fees mean that licensors can self-assess property values at higher rates naturally limiting the prospective buyers. Too low of a rate also means less allocative efficiency and a more advantageous market for speculators. The Geo Web’s network fee rate can and will be adjusted over time to maintain the right balance of incentives for the market.
There are more interesting mechanism design alternatives though that may promote the desired allocative efficiency while helping minimize the psychological burden of the market. The market can be designed to give the current licensor some version of a veto or take-back. Vitalik Buterin and Robin Hanson have each proposed versions in that vein.
Changing the Geo Web’s land auction from continuous to periodic (e.g. monthly to more closely match how rent & mortgages usually work) would leave the incentives for honest valuation intact, but limit disruption from “midnight transfers.”
There’s also potential to explore non-uniform tax rates. User-controlled content moderation tools will be a must-have for the always-on smart glasses experience. There may be ways that user feedback on the quality of published content can be used as an input for calculating a licensor’s assessed rate. This would not only encourage higher value content, but advantage honest publishers/licensors in the land market. Win, win.
Ultimately, the best way to balance the trade-offs and challenges of partial common ownership is to empower more localized self-governance and experiments within the overarching framework. The Geo Web needn’t be a monolith. We’re starting simple. But as we learn, we can improve our partial common ownership implementation(s) to address perceived challenges while embracing the attributes that make the system so exciting in the first place.
- The new modular architecture for our base smart contracts is ready (https://github.com/Geo-Web-Project/core-contracts/pull/31). For several reasons, we’re going to spin these up on Rinkeby rather than Kovan and make the other necessary changes for a functioning testnet (like https://github.com/Geo-Web-Project/cadastre/pull/86 & https://github.com/Geo-Web-Project/geo-web-subgraph/pull/14). We’ll let you know when Rinkeby becomes the official testnet!
- Pushed our new Media Gallery schema live (https://github.com/Geo-Web-Project/specs/pull/32) and are making final tweaks to the Cadastre to enable video, image, and audio uploads.
- Through RadicalXChange and Gitcoin, we’ve connected with a lot of people recently looking to build and experiment with partial common ownership NFTs. Beyond the Geo Web, we’re excited about the opportunity to apply this concept to digital and physical assets. We’ve been discussing it in our forum, but there’s going to be a more formal effort soon that we contribute to standards, templates, and promotion under the RxC umbrella.
- Checkout Vitalik’s post about “Crypto Cities” if you haven’t yet. I was particularly intrigued by CityDAO’s focus on land and property rights (naturally). This podcast with CityDAO founder Scott Fitsimones offers a good overview of the project. Hopefully we’ll get the opportunity to collaborate with some of these projects at the crossover between physical and digital land.
- Short notice and the agenda isn’t yet available, but they had me with the title: Funding the Commons. It’s a virtual summit this Friday, November 12th. See you there!
- Contributing to partial common ownership/Harberger tax NFT standards
- Composable NFTs research
- Re-writing the Geo Web litepaper