Weekly Updates

Why Digital Land

A common criticism of the blockchain space is that it creates (false) scarcity for the sake of scarcity. Any attempted limitation on the inherent abundance of the internet/digital information must be a skeuomorphic cash grab, right?

That reaction is especially strong if you're "selling imaginary land" out from under the "rightful landowners"...

I talk about the superior efficiency and fairness of our proposed partial common ownership system relative to traditional property rights systems all the time here, but in this post I just want to establish pragmatic reasons that property rights (i.e. scarcity) can be useful even on the internet.

From a technical standpoint, the Geo Web will never have a monopoly on the creation of digital land. There can always be different horizontal "layers" and vertically siloed applications that will compete to serve different augmented reality opportunities.

Users should always have the option to tune in and out of their network/app of choice.

So why would the Geo Web attempt to create horizontal scarcity through property rights if parallel duplication is so easy? There are two pragmatic reasons (and many more philosophical ones):

  1. Humans have finite time and brainpower
  2. Network effects

There is effectively infinite real estate on the internet. The World Wide Web doesn't require payment to create and host a webpage. Yet, domain names can go for millions (top-level domains=”layers”!), and there's a discipline dedicated to getting to the top of search engine results (after the auction-determined ad slots, of course).

The internet and the web's core protocols don't create scarcity. But the humans that use the protocols embrace (and even need) imposed scarcity to make sense of it all. Whether it's an indexing algorithm, an AI assistant, a proprietary app store, or a market solution, a mechanism either needs to be designed or one will emerge to make the chaos of a world without constraints legible.

History has shown us that the emergent mechanisms in these scenarios start by providing a valuable service to users and grow in usefulness as more people use them (i.e. network effects) until their power in a market is effectively unassailable. In the last several years, the unintended consequences of this concentration of power have started to come into view.

Network effects are perhaps the most powerful force of the digital age. Shouldn't we make strategic, value-based decisions at the foundations of our internet infrastructure that harness scarcity and network effects instead of trying to pretend the inevitable away?

Using digital land property rights on the Geo Web is our pragmatic design decision to help make the infinite possibilities of geospatial augmented reality meaningful while creating alignment with humanist values. We believe that an efficient, transparent market that funds public goods instead of private profit is our best bet at sustaining decentralized power and governance in the next computing paradigm.

The legitimacy of the Geo Web is a societal choice. Yeah, it would be great if we could have a free (as in beer) and infinite system, but we should know at this point that just devolves into selling our attention to the highest bidder and extractive digital monopolies.


  • Lots of new pieces and features coming together this week. Cody has been on fire. Here are a few highlights:


  • Cobie isn’t just a crypto influencer/entertainer. He knows how to write and to cut through all the smoke and mirrors. His latest article is about the dilution/highjacking of the term “staking” for degen games. When it comes down to it, communities/projects/currencies need to create real value through action not just conjure it from nothing.
  • Our mainnet launch is still pending zkSync 2.0 dependencies, but we’re thinking about new use cases and ways to support adoption before AR glasses. I’m pretty bullish on geo-anchored AR whiteboards. In the medium- and long-term, we believe the org/people maintaining the protocol should be separate from those developing applications to maintain credible neutrality and focus, but in the short-term we’ll likely need to show the way. If you have ideas or what to riff on any of the other use cases, jump into the use case section of the forum. We’d love to support you.

On Deck

  • More tooling and plumbing clean-up
  • Documentation

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