Land on the Blockchain
Back in July, Scott Fitsimons tweeted “Starting a DAO to buy and tokenize land in Wyoming, who wants in?”
That tweet spawned CityDAO which subsequently purchased a parcel of land in Wyoming under their newly enacted DAO LLC law. It’s a tangible step toward an idea that many (including the Geo Web) are keen on: managing land rights on the blockchain.
Although there has been a huge surge in interest in the CityDAO project, the path that the DAO/community takes from that first parcel purchase is very much up in the air (that’s part of the fun too). Every step of the way, CityDAO will need to be mindful of securities law, liability, zoning, real estate law, etc.
So while the Wyoming DAO LLC law provides a path for a DAO to control governance of a corporation (which can own land), it is not carte blanche to rewrite how physical land property rights are defined, controlled, and transferred.
CityDAO will continue to explore this frontier and hopefully provide a valuable public good by advocating for modernization of real estate regulations and systems. But the CityDAO approach—head-on engagement with legacy systems—isn’t the only way for us to get land rights on the blockchain.
The Geo Web shares many goals and values with CityDAO, but we’re coming at the problem from a completely different angle.
Our virtual land property rights are self-contained to the network. There’s no existing regulation on systems such as ours or really a practical way to add them. The Geo Web is opt-in for land licensors, publishers, and users afterall.
We can experiment with spatial object representation in smart contracts and push forward ideas about radical markets in a greenfield environment. We can move quickly (but still responsibly) because most view what we’re doing as a “silly toy” today. Many have never actually used an AR application and mainstream smart glasses are likely years away. Why would they grok what the Geo Web is doing today?
But if we continue to build and our toy accrues real value and utility, then all of a sudden the idea of land on the blockchain won't seem so crazy after all. We’ll have lessons learned, technical standards, and most importantly social muscle memory for physical land, mineral, water, and every other sort of spatially-bound property right to migrate to blockchain.
So, here’s to meeting CityDAO and other explorers somewhere in the middle of our approaches, but at the futuristic end state that we all envision!
- Released Cadastre changes to our Kovan testnet to allow uploads of different media types to a parcel gallery plus added a toggle for satellite/map views (https://github.com/Geo-Web-Project/cadastre/pull/90)
- Merged our new modular smart contracts into the main repo. Cody did an awesome job with tests, comments, and architecting these contracts so they’re easy for developers to follow and digest. Check them out: https://github.com/Geo-Web-Project/core-contracts/pull/31
- Added smart contract primitives to enable burning and recreation of land parcels for parcel splits and merges (https://github.com/Geo-Web-Project/core-contracts/pull/33)
- Gitcoin Grant Round 12 is live and runs through December 16th! We, of course, have a grant open for the Geo Web, so we’d appreciate your support through donations or spreading the word! The opportunity that we have during grants rounds is so much more than financial support. We’ve grown interest in our project by leaps and bounds during these two week sprints and plan to do that again this round!
- Every Monday at 22:00 UTC GitcoinDAO is hosting a public goods-focused Twitter Space discussion. Mark your calendars and drop in! Niran Babalola of Panvala was the guest of honor last week and it was an honor to listen to and learn from him. I’ve been aware of Panvala for some time and it’s definitely past due for the Geo Web to get involved. The way that Niran and Panvala see the opportunity of web3 parallels the Geo Web in many ways.
- Shilling our Gitcoin grant
- Experimenting with new file formats and browser use cases
- Exploring discrete partial common ownership auction schemes for digital land licenses (i.e., licenses only change hands at the end of the month)