CityDAO blog post

edit of citizen nft

Posted on December 30, 2021

This post was written for a CityDAO bounty

listen while you read for a more pretentious experience

Whenever I think about something interesting, I find it helpful to zoom in, then zoom back out. I work in foresight, and this is honestly the biggest takeaway I’ve learned from my time in the industry. Zoom in, then zoom back out. That’s all you need to do to evaluate. Everything else is frills.

I consider CityDAO to be something interesting. Ever since an influential friend turned me on to crypto in 2020, I’ve been looking for projects that go beyond just the finance side of it. The finance side is cool, don’t get me wrong, but it doesn’t interest me. What interests me is tangible real-world applications of crypto governance.

CityDAO, Zoomed-In

Admittedly, my interest in CityDAO is particularly selfish. When I joined the discord early this summer, I was in the midst of upgrading the truck camper my partner and I live in. While we planned to head east next, we had loved the time we spent in Wyoming last year. I saw my slice of the first parcel (back when we still thought it would be subdivided) as a permanent parking spot – a piece of equity in the earth that I didn’t have to rent. The fact that it would be on-chain was icing on the cake.

But as I said earlier… zoom in, then zoom back out. I was zoomed-in. I saw the DAO as a vehicle for putting my vehicle in a space I owned myself. I saw the DAO as a place for these two tiny insignificant humans to live for a couple weeks instead of bumming around on public land in Wyoming. Sure, I thought eventually the DAO could build an actual city, but I thought that was really far off – I wanted something I could use now. I was almost too zoomed-in.

So I zoomed out, and that’s where things get weird. And where things get important.

CityDAO, Zoomed-Out

If I zoom out far enough, I see a tautology: humanity either builds itself into a utopia (or a protopia, or a pseudo-utopia, or whatever else)… OR it doesn’t. That captures all of our potential futures. Of course, I prefer the future with the “utopia”, so that’s what I focus on. Might as well manifest what we want while we’re zoomed out – we can worry about the alternatives later.

What exists in this future utopia? Well, there are people, sure. The people are happy, fulfilled, actualized as a species. Social arrangements and culture aside (because that stuff is harder to tautologize), these people still live on land. Unless you’re literally living in space for the rest of your “days”, you’re going to have to deal with the land. This is why I majored in real estate in college: no matter what happens to humanity, we’re going to have our feet on the ground.

In this future utopia, something has to help us agree on the state of the world. Personally, I believe this is where blockchain-based governance comes in. Those future humans will probably want to achieve consensus in some immutable, transparent, permissionless way – this is a utopia, after all. 

I believe CityDAO is the project that will build the platform with which this future utopia manages their land. It’s going to be blockchain – immutable land governance, no funny business! What else would a reasonable group of self-interested, community-oriented humans want to use to govern themselves? Why not use something incorruptible?

IF we achieve this utopia / protopia / schmotopia / whatever you want to call it, they will use the blockchain to govern. They will need to govern their land use. CityDAO will build the platform (or the direct predecessor of the platform) that these people will use. That’s why I’m interested in this project. What could happen? What will happen? Zoom in, zoom out, zoom in, zoom out, zoom in…

And, while you’re zoomed in, pick up a citizen NFT while you’re at it. Governance was built to be exercised.

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