Digital Property Rights
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"...
We'll further explore the superior efficiency and fairness of our proposed property rights relative to traditional systems in the next section, but let's first 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 will 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 are analogous to 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 aligning with prosocial 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 coming 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.
Last modified 3mo ago