Blockchain Firm Plans to Build Smart City in Nevada Desert
November 2, 2018 by Ian Edwards
Blockchains LLC has revealed plans to build a blockchain-based smart city in Nevada on a large parcel of land it purchased in the desert last January. But the firm has other plans as well: it has acquired repurposed nuclear bunkers and is looking to create a decentralized bank and Esports arena. A hologram of a child was also involved in the presentation.
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1,000 Acre (404 Hectare) Research Campus Planned
The CEO of Blockchains LLC, Jeffrey Berns, made the announcement on October 31st at an event in Prague, the same city where Devcon, an Ethereum developer conference, is being held this week. Blockchains LLC attracted attention earlier this year when it purchased 67,125 acres (27,164 hectares) of land in northern Nevada. The land surrounds Tesla’s Gigafactory, as well as an industrial park where Google, Apple and other tech firms have facilities.
The presentation, which was reminiscent of a tech company product event, featured a hologram of a 12-year-old girl who interacted with Berns, a former consumer protection attorney. During the show, Berns laid out an ambitious vision for a “smart city based on blockchain technology.”
A 1,000 acre (404 hectare) commercial research campus, dubbed “Graphene Valley,” will be built as part of the smart city in Nevada beginning no sooner than late 2019, according to the New York Times. According to Berns, it will be a:
“[H]igh-tech, high-security park, an R and D (research and development) facility that will incubate four life-changing technologies together. Those being: AI, nanotechnology, 3D printing, all using blockchain as their core.”
At the campus, projects such as clean water and energy would be incubated. This could potentially include a deal with a Nevada public energy utility, NV Energy, which announced it had signed a memorandum of understanding with Blockchains to work together on energy projects powered by blockchain technology.
Repurposed Nuclear Bunkers, Esports Arena Also Part of Blockchains LLC’s Plans
The ambition of Blockchains, which is also behind crypto news site ETHnews, doesn’t stop at research facilities. Berns also said that the firm is planning to build housing, schools, content production studios, and an Esports arena on the site.
The content production studios would create films, music, and games, and then use blockchain technology to distribute and monetize the content in a way that could be advantageous to content creators.
Beyond the Nevada site, Berns said Blockchains had purchased “nuclear-bomb resistant, EMP-resistant underground bunkers” in the United States, Switzerland, and Sweden, which would be used to hold custody of private keys for crypto wallets.
Buying a Bank and Turning It Into a DAO
Blockchains is also in the process of buying a bank, subject to regulatory approval. Though it wouldn’t be just any bank–Berns told the audience he detested traditional banks. Instead, the bank would become a “distributed collaborative entity (DCE),” which sounds very similar to another proposed blockchain idea, the distributed autonomous organization, or DAO.
Berns claims that Blockchains has $300 million USD in assets, with no debt. The proposed DCE would distribute out to five or six stakeholder groups the ownership and voting rights of the firm. These stakeholders, one of which would be for developers, would be able to create their own form of governance and distribution models, undoubtedly involving a blockchain of some sort.
Permissioned Blockchains Have “No Benefit Whatsoever”
In explaining his motivation for the project, Berns pointed to what he saw as the shortcomings of the internet and how blockchain technology could presumably solve its problems. He said that:
“Our goal is to create a place that will showcase the true power of the public blockchain. When I look at the internet and I look at what happened, we traded our privacy for free email, we traded control for free games. And those very same companies and entities are trying to insert themselves into this ecosystem with centralized, permissioned blockchains… [that] will serve no benefit whatsoever.”
Statements like that directly challenge companies like IBM, R3, and many others who are working on private blockchains for applications ranging from payment systems to supply chains. Many would argue just the opposite of Berns, and say that public blockchains are incapable of handling the number of transactions that would be necessary if widespread adoption were to occur and pose security risks.
And then, of course, there are those like Nouriel Roubini, who argue that there is no use case for blockchain technology outside of running scams. Jeffrey Berns, on the other hand, appears to be a true believer in blockchain technology, and is placing a large bet on its future.
What’s your take on Blockchains’ proposed smart city in Nevada?
Images via YouTube, Pixabay, Blockchains LLC