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Slaying Moloch

Repost of the Geo Web’s MolochDAO Public Goods Funding Application


The Geo Web is an open protocol and fair property rights system for anchoring digital media to physical locations. 

The Geo Web’s digital land registry creates consensus for a *shared* augmented reality layer of the metaverse. The experiences it enables will become increasingly important counterweights to siloed apps and algorithmic content as always-on smart devices take over our field of view.

Geo Web land is administered under a partial common ownership system (aka Harberger tax, COST, SALSA, and depreciating licenses). It’s a fair and productive way to bootstrap a decentralized augmented reality network. 

All funds generated by the system will subsequently be used to fund public goods through permissionless market incentives and democratic allocation mechanisms. 

The Geo Web’s public goods funding focus is not only core to its mission but its competitive advantage.


Whether branded as “the metaverse” or not, the future will include immersive experiences delivered with field-of-view smart devices. We’ve already seen the negative impact that the attention economy (driven by the never-ending pursuit for corporate profits) has had on mental health, public discourse, and society-at-large through smart devices that we at least occasionally look away from. The stakes only get higher with ambient, continuous internet usage.

Our vision starts with making key infrastructure for the metaverse permissionless, credibly neutral, and accountable to the public good. With the Geo Web as a geospatial+web3 version of DNS, we can undercut the power of OS/app store monopolies, harness network effects for public rather than private gain, and ultimately create superior user experiences for AR/VR. 

We believe that the Geo Web’s impact on the metaverse and physical world can include:

  1. Helping ensure user-centric experiences, data control, and product choice
  2. Creating more permissionless economic opportunities for builders, creators, and users
  3. Elevating public goods entrepreneurship and funding
  4. Changing the world’s property rights to be more efficient and fair (i.e. inspire the implementation of partial common ownership systems beyond the Geo Web)


For augmented reality to reach its potential, it needs to become a social technology with persistence, hyper-accurate placement, and ultimately consensus. 

When we all have smart glasses, it will still look really strange if we’re chasing our own disconnected instances of Pikachu in Pokémon Go. Niantic and the other AR giants are working on technical solutions to enable persistence and accurate AR content placement that allows users/devices to coordinate within their walled gardens. But even when these technologies are fully deployed, each siloed app or proprietary ecosystem will represent a fragmented reality. (Not every AR experience needs to be shared, but the most interesting ones will be.)

Left to their own devices (literally and figuratively), our corporate overlords will battle over winner-takes-most network effects in geospatial AR so they can repeat the story of Web 2.0. 

We need a credibly neutral consensus mechanism to create a unified augmented reality. We need to leverage and encourage continued R&D pouring into AR hardware and software, but not at the expense of society.

Solving this coordination failure is a perfect use case for crypto, but naively launching just any land registry as a smart contract isn’t good enough. 

The metaverse mostly consists of hype/speculation at this point, and property is only another name for monopoly. First-come-first-serve private property rights result in ghost towns of squatters that squeeze out future productive adopters and/or 3D chumboxes for ads (these dynamics are particularly acute for AR, but can apply to VR too). 

Alternatively, trying to mirror existing physical land property rights in a smart contract requires effectively modernizing all of the governments’ related information systems (if they even exist) plus accepting an unhealthy dose of centralization.

The Geo Web’s solution to these challenges is to create a composable digital land registry parallel to the physical world that is administered with partial common ownership. In this system:

  1. Landholders must publicly declare an Always For Sale Price for each of their Geo Web land parcels
  2. Landholders pay an ongoing license fee to the network based on a percentage of their Always For Sale Price
  3. Any market participant can force the transfer of a parcel by paying the current landholder their Always For Sale Price

These rules make honest self-valuation the dominant market strategy and provide a path for the most productive landholder (in most scenarios, the physical land occupant) to control the space. In economic terms, it results in much more allocative efficiency of land while not sacrificing significant investment efficiency. The system will promote productive land usage and positive network effects for users and landholders from the bootstrap phase to global scale. 

The Geo Web’s core utility derives from landholders’ ability to anchor arbitrary content within the bounds of their parcels and users' ability to naturally discover it without explicit action or coordination. Use cases include anchoring art, games, NFTs, data streams, audio, websites, and more. 

The portal for these experiences is a spatial browser. Think of it like a 3D web browser that uses geolocation instead of URLs to resolve content. Like a web browser, spatial browsers are use case agnostic and promote the use of open standards (we’ve focused our development on Ceramic + IPFS for a p2p content layer, but adopted standards can/should evolve). Different spatial browsers can be powered by different AR hardware & software display technology. This will promote competition and innovation that benefits users while limiting the fragmentation of reality into proprietary apps and ecosystems.


Check out the rest of the application here.


  • Cody has continued the re-architecture of our core contracts to make use of new Superfluid functionality, move away from a monolithic SuperApp, and make payment stream management more tractable. They’re going to leverage a Diamond Proxy pattern. No PRs yet, but v3 (embrace iteration!) of our contracts will be rolling out soon. 
  • Tnrdd released new screens to support parcel foreclosure claim and reclaim screens on the Cadastre (https://github.com/Geo-Web-Project/cadastre/pull/203). These are the transaction screens used to get parcels that have had their network fee streams run dry/canceled back into the open market.


On Deck

  • Re-architecting
  • Cadastre-ing
  • Grant shilling

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