In today's episode, Will Holley (Founder of 721 Labs), Graven Prest (Co-Founder of the Geo Web project), and Kevin Seagraves (CEO of NiftyApes) are three mission-focused entrepreneurs who join host Matt Prewitt in a roundtable discussion on the topic of Plural Property — RadicalxChange's umbrella term for Partial Common Ownership, Harberger Taxation, Self-Assessed Licenses Sold via Auction or SALSA, and Common Ownership Self-Assessed Tax or COST.
In today's episode, Will Holley (Founder of 721 Labs), Graven Prest (Co-Founder of the Geo Web project), and Kevin Seagraves (CEO of NiftyApes) are three mission-focused entrepreneurs who join host Matt Prewitt in a roundtable discussion on the topic of Plural Property — RadicalxChange's umbrella term for Partial Common Ownership, Harberger Taxation, Self-Assessed Licenses Sold via Auction or SALSA, and Common Ownership Self-Assessed Tax or COST.
NOTE: This is a regular season episode of the RadicalxChange(s) podcast. Our mini season of "A New Era of Democracy" will continue following this episode.
Links for Today’s Episode:
RxC Plural Property Concept Page
Harberger Style Lending Auctions
Will Holley (he/him) is the founder of 721 Labs, a research and development company focused on Ethereum token standards and mechanism design. He is also the founder of CityDAO’s Network City initiative, the first IRL experiment using Partial Common Ownership, Harberger Taxes and Quadratic Funding to coordinate efficient private market funding of public goods. Will first engaged with Radical ideas and Web3 in 2020, after selling his last startup, a collectibles marketplace. A software engineer by training, Will previously worked in the fine art world, building machine learning models to predict auction results for Sotheby’s and Christie’s.
Graven Prest (he/him) is an entrepreneur and mechanism designer in the Web3 space. He's the co-founder of the Geo Web project (@TheGeoWeb)—an open protocol that creates consensus for browsing digital media anchored to physical locations (i.e. geospatial augmented reality). The network protocol uses partial common ownership to administer its digital land market and fund public goods.
Kevin Seagraves (he/him) has been building in the Ethereum ecosystem since 2017. He was the lead engineer of Gitcoin Grants v0, co-author of EIP-1337, and a co-founder of the ETHSecurity community. Later he went on to lead product at Charge before returning to the Gitcoin family and contributing to the Moonshot Collective and Scaffold-eth. He is now the CEO at NiftyApes, building tools for NFT traders, and is the creator of Harberger Style Lending Auctions.
Matt Prewitt (he/him) is a lawyer, technologist, and writer. He is President of the RadicalxChange Foundation.
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This is a RadicalxChange Production.
A Panel on Partial Common Ownership
Matt Prewitt: All right. Welcome to RadicalxChange(s). Happy to be talking to you all today. I think, let's start with introductions before we get into the conversation. I'm joined today by Kevin Seagraves, Graven Prest, and, Will Holly we're going to talk about Partial Common Ownership/ SALSA/Harberger Taxation/new ways of thinking about Private Property. Yeah. Would love to hear a little bit more about who you are and what you do for the benefit of the audience. Let's start with Kevin.
Kevin Seagraves: Cool. Yeah. Thanks, Matt. So my name's Kevin Seagraves. I'm the CEO at NiftyApes which is an NFT collateralized lending protocol. And we've implemented Harberger-style lending options. So we've turned loans into a public good and applying Harberger taxation in that context. Previously I've worked on Gitcoin.
A couple other projects in the space got to be the lead engineer on Gitcoin grants C zero. Yeah, that's what I'm doing now, and my cred in the space, in the past. So that's probably good for now.
Matt Prewitt: Great, welcome. And Will.
Will Holley: Hey everybody. My name is Will Holley. I'm originally a software engineer who came into the space from the art world. When I was opening up a gallery in New York city last I was exploring partial common ownership in the context of leveling the power differential that's traditionally existed between the gallery and the artists, and that led me down this amazing rabbit hole. I was already working on projects within web3. I lead an organization called 721 Labs and we've run experiments around quadratic funding and quadratic voting, how to represent real-world assets on the blockchain, and partial common ownership is kinda the logical extension of that.
And since then I've been developing token standards and working with some of the guys here in order to get a better understanding of how partial common ownership will work in the real.
Matt Prewitt: Super thanks, Will! And Graven.
Graven Prest: All right. Yeah, I am Graven Prest. One of the co-founders of a project called the Geo Web. Which is a fair property rights system for anchoring and digital content to physical land and a buzzword version of that might be an augmented reality metaverse but the fair part is we use partial common ownership or Harberger taxes to actually administer our digital land. I entered the crypto space in 2019. Didn't really know what I was doing and had worked in tech startups, but knew that there was a lot of smart people in this area and went down the rabbit hole. One of the, my co-founder introduced me to RadicalxChange and the idea of Harberger taxes and been working on the Geo Web and in this space ever since.
Matt Prewitt: Super. Super thank you all for joining me today. I think that so full disclosure for the benefit of the audience is that the four of us have been talking and working together at various capacities. And for quite a while, thinking about this thinking about the concept of what we're calling partial common ownership or Harberger taxation or SALSA or self-assessed taxation, there's a, an extremely messy, confusing jumble of vocabulary here, which we've already jumped into. And so I think it would be useful to take a moment to clarify it for the audience. Talk, clarify what exactly we're talking about. And I can start at a high level by saying that the general idea that we're talking about today and that we're working on in, in different capacities is a way of rethinking private property.
It's a way of rethinking the way that control or possession of property or of some scarce resource governance, or something like that. A way of thinking about basically rethinking how control over something is shared or allocated. So it's, that's very abstract but basically, we're talking about rethinking property here. And we've got this kind of alphabet soup, a jumble of vocabulary that we're using all to name basically one idea, but one idea that has various different permutations. So with that said, I wonder if I could invite one of you to take a stab at defining a few of these terms, defining let's say partial common ownership, Harberger taxation, SALSA. And is anyone brave enough take a stab at that?
Graven Prest: Sure I'll say I'll start off by saying, I, I look at 'em all as the same thing. They might have different contexts that they're used in, but I think of, they basically all have the same rules and the idea is to create a property right system where someone can control a scarce thing. Like Matt was talking about, control a scarce thing, and the rules for controlling that scarce thing, require them to 1) set a self-assessed value that they're willing to sell that asset at.
And so crypto's great. You can enforce these sorts of things. And so you set your self-assessed value. That is your for-sale price, but it is also the basis for the calculation of tax or a fee or some sort of percentage assessment on top of that. So that's called it like that's people talk about as a self-assessed tax. So the idea is that those two incentives, you wanna set a really high price because you don't wanna sell it for too cheap, but you don't wanna overprice it because you don't wanna pay too much in fees and taxes. Those two balancing forces are like the very simple, but very impactful thing that gets rolled up into Harberger taxes, partial common ownership, SALSA, COST, whatever you want to call it.
Kevin Seagraves: And I'll, I'd like to add just why it's cool or basically in the, in a more traditional ownership sense with just private ownership, you maintain a high level of investment efficiency. If I invest something I'm gonna receive all the returns from that investment, but I have really poor allocation efficiency.
And that, for example, you could have a parking lot in the middle of Manhattan. That's just sitting as a it's a parking lot, but it could be a hundred-foot sky rise, it could be a massively more productive use of this resource. And so with a Harberger taxed system, you're able to more effectively allocate these resources while maintaining some of the investment efficiency as well.
Whatever I put in and invest in this to build the sky rise, for example, someone's gonna have to pay me that same amount when they wanna buy me out. But I couldn't just squat on it as a parking lot. So it's a little bit of like, why is this valuable?
Will Holley: I think it's also important-
Matt Prewitt: Thanks, Kevin. Oh yeah, go ahead.
Will Holley: It's also important to note the class of assets, which we believe partial common ownership should be applied to. There's probably someone out there right now who thinks we're a bunch of socialists saying we should end private property and that's not the case, but there's certain types of property where the value is based on the network that property. Some quintessential examples of this are land. You can take an apartment within New York city, you can say that as the neighborhood becomes more desirable, better restaurants, art galleries, close to schools, you name it. A subway stop. The value of the apartment increases, but the landlord might not have actually made any material improvements to the apartment itself.
And so the becomes, if you think about fairness, does the landlord, in turn, owe something to those surrounding businesses, right? And the landlord's obviously paying taxes, but those taxes don't necessarily benefit the network. Another example is taken from the art world, where if you look at the value of an artwork, a painting, for example, it's not the oil and the canvas, it's the reputation of the artist.
It's all the people who have, within a larger network, built up the reputation of that artist, the collectors, the galleries, the fairgoers, the museum directors, the curators, the other artists. And so, for example, when a painting sells at auction for a million dollars. Does the collector or the seller, in an ethical sense, owe something to that network because that's where the value's being derived from. These are the type of questions that partial common ownership provides a new answer to. And essentially it says yes because you just don't think about that network value, but if you really want to get down to the soup and potatoes of it, you really do have to think about where this value is being derived from.
And it's not strictly from either the private ownership or, some form of public ownership in the abstract.
Matt Prewitt: Super. Thank you. So partial common ownership. When we talk about partial common ownership, Harberger taxation, and or SALSA, which is an acronym that you might find out there on the internet that you're reading about this that stands for Self Assessed Licenses Sold at Auction. All these things are basically referring to the same. Which is what we're talking about here today, which is where basically you have sort of interests that the possessor of which, sort of, self-declares the value of that property interest, pays a tax, calculated as some percentage of that self-assessed value. But in that self-assessed value is also a sell offer.
So in other words, it's not really the same thing as a normal private property interest It's not the kind of thing that you can just hold onto forever if you want to. For this kind of possession of an asset, it's different kind of asset, because if you want to hold onto it forever, you have to set a high price for it so that nobody else will buy it and therefore pay a high tax on it in perpetuity. And so that, and the word "tax" is also, I think, quite confusing here, right? Because a better way of think of it about it might be like a fee that the possessor of something is paying to some community or that we might define in different ways. That is, like around the asset, participating in some network, that's creating the value of the asset. So I think another kind of dimension of this where people get super caught up is, has to do with, the ambiguity and the word "tax." because for example, we might think of partial common ownership as a system that we would apply to like land, like legal interests in land so that these sort of quote unquote "taxes" on them would be similar to like property taxes. And if that's, what was, if that's what we're talking about, then we're basically imagining a very different system of private property in land than the one that exists in the normal legal system.
We don't have to be talking about land. We don't have to be talking about, tearing up the state law regimes of Colorado and California and Canada and whatever. This is really just a formal way of understanding a possessory interest or a property interest, that could just as easily describe like a license. So for example, we could just write up a contract that would assign. Some kind of a possessory interest from an owner to a possessor or a licensee, if you will, that would have this same sort of a structure. So in other words, this is it's kind of an abstract way of rethinking a property interest. And it's important to keep that in mind when we may use the word tax or you may use the word license, or you may use the word fee. I think it's, it's extremely confusing and I just wanna put a pin in that, and I hope that this little discussion helps any listeners who are new to this, kind of pick their way through what we're talking about here.
Graven Prest: Yeah. And I started off by saying they're all the same. They're the same mathematical mechanism, but the context really should have different terminology. Vitalik tweeted about Harberger taxes as he does occasionally and stirs up a lot of conversation. And the most recent one was in context of artist royalties on secondary sales and we use the word like secondary sales royalties, but the math for that, like the math mechanism, that's used to reward artists that we call that other word is the same as a sales tax, right? Like you're taking a sale price, charging a percentage, but the money isn't going to a government. So we use different words. And so I do think as this gets more, as people understand the mechanism first, just understand the math and why it can be powerful, then start to apply it in different contexts and the different implications and the different reasons why it's a good fit there. Then hopefully we can start to have different language to separate them because where those fees, taxes go, think can produce very different income, outcomes.
Matt Prewitt: Yeah, absolutely. For me, this idea, this quite abstract sort of complicated idea about how to rethink a property interest has been really influential, like thinking about, thinking about property interests in this way, or shifting into thinking about property interests in this way, from the more sort of default mode of thinking about property interests that I think, most of us are like brought up in has really, really changed my perspective on a lot of things and been quite a fruitful intellectual path for me to walk down. and I wonder if any of you all would like to say a little bit your journey with this idea? Like how did you first encounter this thought, this, this idea of partial common ownership. What grabbed you about it? What, why have you spent a substantial part of your time, professionally and personally thinking about it and working on it?
Why is this something that anybody should actually care about? If they're not just, wonk of some sort.
Kevin Seagraves: I can jump in first. Yeah, my first exposure was through the Ethereum ecosystem, especially in 2018, it took up a lot of esteem and mind share in the community when "Radical Markets," the book by Eric Posner and Glen Weyl came out. Around that same time, like DevCon. So it kind of October late fall in Prague Glen Weyl and Vitalik had just released the quadratic funding paper.
And so it was all the buzz at DevCon. It was like, ah, I gotta figure this out. And I think even Glen gave a talk at the conference and that was kinda my first exposure to some of the ideas. And then I read the book and there's an example where he's talking about Harberger taxes in the context of Rio de Janeiro and how all quote/unquote "best real estate" is, all the views,
it's, they're all slums on the Hills. And all the rich people live down in the middle of town where you would think it would be reversed, they would, they should be up on the Hills. But there's these kind of different incentives that keep each of the groups where they're currently located. And if you implemented a system like Harberger taxes, it would it would change that dynamic.
And so that always grabbed me. But around that same time I was building Gitcoin grants. And so quadratic funding really grabbed my attention first. And that was really where I engaged more with these radical market ideas. Things happen years have gone on I've moved different projects. And now I'm thinking about loans and how to have, find a true market valuation for a loan or a derived true market valuation for an asset.
It's really hard to do price valuations for NFTs, cuz it's a small collection of assets. It's pretty low volume and low liquidity in general, compared to most asset classes. and having this kind of self-assessed valuation for the loan, that's always on auction that any other lender can buy at any time provides this really useful data set and allocation efficiency of capital, which isn't really possible before.
And so it I fell a little bit, I fell into that architecture and that ability to like, oh, this is a Harberger thing. This is awesome. But that's I started with it and why I'm working with it now. And honestly, it just has always been really value aligned, thinking about what does it mean to be a radical revolutionary and push the boundaries and challenge the status quo?
How can we create a better world? Like I think it, it offers the opportunity to, yeah, have a more egalitarian equitable world. So that's why I'm into it.
Matt Prewitt: So Kevin, the way you described that so in, in Rio the slums are in the Hills and the rich people are living in the, not as good real estate. The way you describe that would be is that there were Harberger taxation, then it would switch. That actually sounds like a bad thing to me. I don't want that.
So why is that a good thing?
Kevin Seagraves: It was a good thing because it doesn't allow people to squat on the real estate that they're currently in. So it's yeah the rich people could then buy out the nice real estate in the Hills, but then it doesn't allow them to, they can only use so much of their capital towards different assets.
And so it actually frees up this real estate to be purchased by people who have less value. They can't hold on to where they currently live, right, as well. So it actually offers the opportunity for people to move around to where its most effective use can be realized. Is that helpful?
Matt Prewitt: I think so. So the, think that I think that what I just wanna point to is that in this mechanism, it is a complex thing, right? The reason it's a complex thing is that there are two sides to it. One side is looking at things from the perspective of assets themselves, thinking about how does this asset flow to its most efficient use?
And if we just think about, if we think about assets flowing to their most efficient use, that is going to look like like on average, that's going to be the better assets flowing to people with more resources, right? But that's not. And this and I'm speaking for myself because I actually do think that this is, that this thing is kind of a crystal ball or something so that, you can see people, different people can see different things in it, and I'm, so I, believe that, you know, whatever, sort of, side you look at the crystal ball from, it turns out that there's something attractive in it, but that can be, that can be, and often is like lost in translation. When we talk about it in, from only one perspective. So what I mean by that is if you if we had, if more assets were managed through partial common ownership, instead of through private property there would be many cases where high value assets would flow into the hands of wealthier people, but that's not all that's going on. That's not even close to all that's going on here. Another thing that's going on here is that assets are flowing into the hands of people who are better positioned to use them productively. Often that is not going to be wealthy people. Often wealthy people are like squatting on things because they can afford not to sell things and they're earning passive income from things despite doing nothing productive. There's a lot of wealthy people doing that in our economy.
That's like a major force in our economy, actually. So there's also that, but then that's not all, right? There's more in this crystal ball. Some of the other things going on are, one and one of the other super important things that's going on, that I think you just can't understand this idea if you don't have this before your mind, is that this form of asset possession is generating a constant stream of fees. So first of all, it's basically it's weakening the grip on private property that anyone who's possessing something has. So, right now, like wealthy people own things permanently, forever. Nobody can do anything about it. This weakens that, right? So this is a weakening of what we traditionally think of as a property interest. And it's generating a constant stream of fees, which is being redistributed. So that constant stream of fees, which is being redistributed is not primarily being redistributed to like wealthy, who might occupy the high value real estate. It's primarily being redistributed to the non wealthy. Who are, through their labor, through their work, through their participation in networks, creating the society around assets that is basically breathing value into those assets. There's a deeply redistributive thing going on here in addition to you know, all these other complex things that are going on here.
Kevin Seagraves: It's it redistributes, but it's like it's redistributing in a way to those who are doing work, right? The more work you put it into the system, the more value you derive from the system.
Matt Prewitt: Exactly. And so that fact, the fact that it's redistributing _to_ people doing work is a progressive thing, not a regressive thing, right? Because what, one of what capital allows you to do is to earn money without working. This is like one of the main things that capital is good for. The more capital you have, the easier it is to earn money without working. And this makes that harder, not easier.
Kevin Seagraves: And I would say it doesn't take it away as well. So it's not like completely tearing down the system, as we currently know it, it just makes it that you have to continually provide input, to maintain position.
Like for example, in my context,
If I have a lot of capital, I can provide a lot of loans and I can make a lot of money doing that because I already have a lot of capital, so I can still succeed in this world.
But it also offers opportunity for someone who has much less capital to play the same game and benefit in the same ways. There's not so much of the same barrier.
Will Holley: I think a decent reframing of this is around the original premise of the book, looking at the world instead of seeing left or right, rich versus poor, whatever the political default is, looking at it as markets versus monopolies. And what we're describing here is the inherent monopoly in private property rights, where it doesn't matter how productive you are. You can own the asset, you can squat on the asset, regardless of your productivity. Private ownership just has no measurement within that context. And I think the fundamental innovation here is saying that the person or the persons in whatever who are able to be the most productive with the asset will be the possessors of the asset.
And so I think it's, in practical terms, to get hyper-focused on the capital aspects or the money aspects of things, risks alienating people, where we all can agree that there should be less monopolies in our society. And if you look around and you start to think about what constitutes a monopoly, we can start to see them all sorts of interesting places. And so for me, it's really about how do you use this framework to start thinking about where monopolies exist? And ultimately, a monopoly is just the opposite end of a, of an efficient market, and so if we want more efficient markets and we believe that efficient markets are better for creating wealth for everybody, just regardless of who you are, then we should all want more efficient markets, regardless of where we sit, we left right elsewhere, politically.
Matt Prewitt: Totally. Yeah. And to be clear the four of us have thought about this a lot, and I think we all see the shading and the complexity and the multi-faceted-ness of this. But one thing that I'm very cognizant of is that, a lot of people, for perfectly understandable reasons, when they're approaching a new idea like this, are trying to figure out: who's the winner and who's the loser in this idea? How does this idea map, track with the politics of X or the politics of Y? So if you say it's gonna be more market and less monopoly, then it's people hear that and they're like, alright, what does that mean? Are we helping the poor or are we helping the rich? And, basically, I get why people think that way because most ideas out there most, policy proposals out there are like trying to do one of those things, they're like trying to help the rich or they're trying to help the poor they're throwing smoke in front of what they're doing and, trying and, making it complicated for people to see which one they're doing.
So people are trying to sort through that and figure out, okay wait, what are we really doing here? But I think that partial common ownership is one of those rare things that really isn't, really doesn't track that, it really isn't on, on the side of this is not like a secret way of trying to help the rich, nor is it like a secret way of trying to redistribute to the poor. It's actually like a very kind of deep reimagination of some fundamental institutions that actually could make everyone better off, which sounds like an insane, sounds like an insane thing. And it's not without its complications. It's not, you could, we, a reasonable people could disagree with that. We can talk about some of the challenges and some of the difficulties of this idea, but if we could make this idea work, if we can figure it out, it would do that.
If we can figure this out, it would be the kind of thing that would, that theoretically could make every different sort of quadrant of society better off.
Graven Prest: And as Will said in the context of networks and networked value or value that comes from networks, partial common ownership as a system and a mechanism, more accurately reflects where value is produced. And when you say what is fairness? It's a, it's about: put in work, put in capital, put in whatever, and then get your fair share back. And so being able to, at the very bottom layer, rethink reimagine how property rights can better match reality is why I think it should be apolitical. Unless you just don't want fairness. And I think that's obviously, maybe some people won't, but they won't admit to it at least.
Will Holley: Oh, I think the conception of fairness that we have usually falls into gray ethical areas. And it's not usually quantified, if I give you a dollar, more or less expect a dollar of something in return, that would be fair. You are not treating me as a means to an end, your own end.
You are treating me as an end in and of myself, right? One of the fundamental premises of the enlightenment, and if you believe in that, then you treat people fairly, you give them what you expect in return. And so concept here is really just about establishing series of incentives that promote that.
And to keep, let's use a really practical example to ground this for a sec, you might go to your local sports stadium, you'd catch a baseball game. If nobody showed up to that baseball game, then how much value does the baseball player, create, right? If they're hitting the ball, but there's no one there to see it, is it a $10 million contract? Probably not. If a tree falls in the woods, no, one's there to hear it, does it make a sound? And so, the question then becomes are you receiving, or is the city or collective of people, the community receiving $10 million worth of value when the baseball team pays this person that contract, or do the people deserve more?
How would you even start to measure that relationship? And that's the fundamental premise here when we talk about fairness, it's about measuring what you receive and what you're giving. Now not to reduce everything to numbers money, cause I think there, things go a lot deeper than that, but even in relationships, even friendships, you do wanna give what you get and get what you give.
So we're really trying to enforce that and create a, a stronger system to do that on the number side and the money side, and hopefully see it seep into other parts of society once you can, more clearly think about it and more clearly see it in practice.
Matt Prewitt: I think another sort of mental model for what partial common ownership is doing that has often been useful to me, so I wanna make sure that we throw it out there in this conversation, is that it is a mechanism that, that tries to capture the negative externality of exclusive possession of something. And then redistribute that negative externality to the people who are harmed by the exclusive possession of something. So, for example, if I, own in full and a block of real estate in Manhattan and hold it as a parking lot or just a vacant lot and don't let anybody else on it, there are basically millions and millions of people who are a little bit harmed by their inability to use that piece of real estate for, to connect with one another, to start a business, to exchange with one another, all of the many valuable things you can do with a block of land in Manhattan. There are millions of people who are harmed by my exclusion of them from it.
Will Holley: I think we should, you should stop for a sec there.
The idea of harm here is a little bit of a misnomer. Perhaps a more accurate description would be the, there's an opportunity cost that's imposed. You're not going out and stabbing people.
Matt Prewitt: Well... We could, I could break down the term. I don't know, actually to me that the term harm doesn't feel, mean that the, you could use the, you could define harm the way that you're defining it and it wouldn't be crazy, But I do think it's actually a form of harm to exclude people from land, let's say. Like the argument that it isn't depends on the, like this, actually, this goes back to John Locke. Maybe we should talk about John Locke for a second. So because John Locke I'm gonna botch this. I apologize to, philosophy buffs, but John Locke had an idea of just ownership of land.
So like what, what makes it just to own land? John Locke's basic thing was, if you mix your labor with the land, then you, if you, so if you have like unowned land, which is already this like abstract concept, and he was a colonialist and he was like, imagining the Americas as this, like unoccupied, there's already all that stuff going on here, but, let's modulo that for a second. John Locke's point was if you have unoccupied land how, could you, could a claim to possession of it arise? And his answer was if somebody mixes their labor with the land, then, just claim of ownership of that land would arise. That was basically his theory. And that kind of makes sense, but even he admitted it, he said, so it's this famous sort of Lockian proviso, which is like a little asterisk, basically on his theory of just ownership where he says, but that depends on there being enough and as good for everyone else to do the same thing. So in other words, that theory of just ownership arising in land depends on the assumption there's still just like an infinity of other land that is just as good as that land, where everybody else can do the same thing and make the same move and mix their labor with land and get their claim and land. And that asterisk turns out to be pretty problematic, because there isn't an infinite amount of land. And especially if you zoom in on the phrase "as good," "enough and as good," there's not even close to an infinite amount of land that is as good as a block of Manhattan real estate, or as good as any valuable land in a population center or whatever like that is scarce. So, you know, Locke's, logical construct really breaks down. And I think that that reason traditional libertarian theories of just ownership, they're based in the Lockian thing. Like they have a real problem,
Graven Prest: The shorthand that I like to use for what Matt's talking about is like resources that ought to be in the commons. And I borrowed that from Simon de la Rouviere, who's done a lot of Harberger Tax stuff. He's probably the first person that comes up when you Google this sort of stuff in the blockchain sense.
But he used that shorthand of "ought to be in the commons." But for practical reasons we created private property, rights so we could get investment efficiency, private property rights didn't always exist. And they didn't exist in every culture. We created this new technology and we got away from what ought to be because there was advantages, economic advantages to people investing and overcoming tragedy of the commons. And I look at this as a swing back in the pendulum back towards ought, but still get the economic benefits of investment and, balancing incentives for people not to just deplete or squat on, on these scarce resources, because we do live in a scarce world.
Matt Prewitt: So just on the point of back to the point of harm, like I totally get that, having a, one plot of land when there's like the whole rest of the world, isn't really okay, that it's a little bit of a stretch of a concept of harm to call that harm, but if you bring it to its logical extreme. If you claim one piece of land and then another piece of land, another piece of land, and then eventually you've got, 99.9% of the world, and then everybody else has, 0.1% of the world then that is harm. So there is some kind of little bit of sense in which I think it, it does make sense to, to think of exclusive possession of a scarce asset as a harm on others. Does make sense, Will?
Will Holley: It does, but, my concern with using the term harm without a big asterisk is that comes across as an active decision to harm by excluding, whereas exclusionary behavior is also one of the fundamental roots of investment efficiency in creating surplus wealth that overflows beyond just the capitalist into people that work for them and, how society as a whole can grow more productive and more wealthy. So to, to, I think it's important to really talk in specifics there. When you give that example of the person who owns all the land in the world, except for that one plot realistically, everyone else is gonna go kill them. So, I don't necessarily buy the argument, but a little bit more fundamentally there is an opportunity cost that's imposed, from a non-financial perspective where if this one person is making everybody else suffer They're not gonna be necessarily a happy person.
They're not necessarily be a loved person or have those more foundational human connections. Now the relationship here between the financial allocation and harm and the exclusion, I think it's a little bit more murky than talking about what happens when you do implement this. And the idea of the allocation of the Harberger taxes is something I think we should discuss a little more because you can get into a scenario where, and you were talking about this before in excludable goods.
You can get into a scenario where private markets can actually better fund collective goods that benefit everybody without costing the private market as much money as they would be spending, if they just went out and gave their taxes to the government. And so I think it's a little harmful to just state one claim or the other The big asterisks here is that all this is highly theoretical. And this group here, we're all really focused on actually going out in the real world and building in a whole host of scenarios, private property, public property, brand new property that has no legal status and figuring these things out.
Matt Prewitt: Yeah. No, absolutely. If, and there's another, should we talk a little bit about some of the work that we're doing, like how we're thinking about this form property interest in our various projects. Great. Okay. Why don't we start with Graven, you wanna talk a little bit about the work you're doing at Geo Web?
Graven Prest: Yeah, sure. The idea for the Geo Web started with a first principles look at what can blockchains actually do right now? They're slow, expensive. What can you actually do? It's hard to bridge real world assets, Oracles. And so in evaluating that, I came to this idea of augmented reality, it's self-contained it's, you can just create a digital world or virtual reality, basically augmented or virtual reality. And so a blockchain could be good at maintaining the property rights for such a system. And I focused on augmented reality because I had seen some technology demos of it and was super excited.
And the idea was like well, the, I live in Denver Broncos have a stadium. How, if we're gonna try to get everyone to communicate and have this world where we're seeing augmented reality everywhere. I would want the Denver Broncos to have control of that airspace. And so the conflict starts there.
It's like, how can you ensure that you have this blockchain, that's good at keeping these property rights but the wrong people have them, then you did a really good job of creating a bad land registry and so we were, I was banging my head trying to figure out ways, obviously we want this to be decentralized and all the sort of buzzwords, and we're like, okay we're gonna have to interface somehow with physical property rights, we're gonna have to onboard that. We're gonna have to give them the land for free because this isn't a cash grab. And then my co-founder when I just happened to meet him at a conference, and I talked to him about this idea and he's have you read "Radical Markets" or heard of this thing from Glen Weyl? And, fIrst time he said it to me, was even maybe a little too radical for me, but it was like, oh those two balancing mechanisms actually mean we can get fairness. I probably overused that word so far today, but we can actually end up with the people that we want. We like, and it's, there's public land there's places without property rights.
There's no property records. There's all these sorts of things that make it an impossible thing to say, this is the right person to have it in like an objective sense. And so when he explained that to me, I was like, okay this is like some good rules that can get us close in all the use cases. but it took me a little while to warm up to the idea of other people warming up to it. but once we did, I really just started going down the rabbit hole of what the implications of this are. We are starting with kind of a Greenfield-ish property, right? Obviously the physical world is pretty much chopped up and doled out. There are other augmented reality blockchain projects out there that are basically auctioning off land and lots of speculation and people are gonna squat on it. But with a Harberger tax, we can actually implement these rules, open up the whole globe, start the adoption cycle, get people experimenting, building, doing all these sorts of things, but not to the total detriment of late adopters. So that just really started clicking and we've ended up modifying in different ways through feedback from users and different things. Our auction system has a bidding system where there's a little bit of owner forgiveness, you set your price, someone matches or exceeds it, you have an opportunity of seven days to match that price and raise payment accordingly, but also pay a penalty so you can't just get unlimited free rolls at systematically underpricing your asset. And so we think that the generally it's like the equilibrium point, if we're successful and people adopt this, the person that is physically occupying a space is probably the one that can put digital land best use, because they can put up their art and entertainment.
They can decorate their restaurant. They can provide digital information to travelers, whatever those sorts of use cases evolve to be. We think we naturally end up in the place we want, but through a mechanism that aware of the physical world at all. And so that was really cool. And then the next part and Will said like where these,
Matt Prewitt: When you say isn't aware of the physical world at all? I just to be clear, what you mean is it's not linked to like ownership registries of land. You know, that's an important distinction, I think. Yeah.
Graven Prest: It is based off of Lat Long sort of idea, like
Matt Prewitt: Right.
Graven Prest: the world, but it doesn't pay attention to any sort of legal regime,
Matt Prewitt: yeah. Yeah.
Graven Prest: it's Greenfield-ish that's why I say it's, obviously there's a little bit of overlap, but we're able to do this.
And I think it actually has an opportunity to be a way that physical property rights can actually be like, Hey, that actually worked. Maybe we should do some more experiments plan with partial common ownership.
Matt Prewitt: And just to pick up on one interesting part of what you said, one of the things that attracts you to it is that by organizing property interests in the ecosystem, like this, you're creating a situation that doesn't just like massively disadvantage, latecomers.
Graven Prest: Yep.
Matt Prewitt: And that's really important.
I think that's a design pattern that a lot of ecosystem builders are not paying enough attention to. So for example, I think a lot of people, when they're building a digital ecosystem of some kind, they think if I give some big advantage to the first movers, then I'm gonna create a massive rush and that's gonna be great. But actually that is not true. If you think bigger, if you have a little bit more ambition than that, you realize that creating some massive, early rush does not create a sustainable ecosystem. It disillusions people in the long run. And if you get a few whales that grab up the whole ecosystem that you create early. Then a few years into your project is gonna suck. Basically. This is a way of letting it breathe, letting it be a healthier ecosystem, long term. And there's just something there's just like a much more real kind of ambition in that. Then creating a quick rush.
Graven Prest: Yeah. And I would say we are like, people jokingly say we are so early in blockchain, but like I'm talking about augmented reality. No one even has no one wears augmented reality glasses around. So there's a long ways to go. And so it is this toy that us nerds are hanging out, messed around with stuff.
Hopefully we get, get it right. We're trying to think long term. The piece that gets me most excited now is it's almost like the property rights is kind of solved and there'll be tweaks and there's maybe some social input and some things to balance out the rough edges of the market.
But for us, we're early, we believe land _should_ be in the commons. So the fees that we collect for the taxes should be reinvested into public goods. And so the idea that we can actually help spur this technology forward in a way that raises it for all and allows all to participate is the really exciting thing. Allow people to... cuz you can pay out like a UBI or something with the taxes.
We're not gonna be on that sort of level. And there's all sorts of Sybil things that Sybil-resistance and things that make it tough to do UBI on the internet. But if we invest in public goods that are non-excludable and anyone can use them, that's like a UBI for everyone, right? If you create more software that more people can use or creates more abundance, that's a good thing and help, can help our ecosystem go forward. So I'm really interested in the feedback loop of what Harberger taxes, partial common ownership, what those fees can then do for the public, the commons as well.
Matt Prewitt: Super. Super Kevin, could we zoom in for a second on how partial common ownership functions in the context of NiftyApes.
Kevin Seagraves: Yeah, absolutely. So NiftyApes, I said earlier, was a NFT collateralized lending protocol, which really NFTs are just the certificate of ownership. And they can represent nearly anything. So right now in the blockchain ecosystem, it's mostly like pictures of monkeys and crypto punks and stuff like that, but it could be items in a video game.
It could be, billboard space in augmented reality. It could be the title to your car, deed to your house, commercial real estate, corporate assets. It's really an open ended thing. It's just a registry for ownership. And that's really powerful, right? The global lending market is hundreds of trillions of dollars with lending on all of these types of assets.
And so instead of having a, in the traditional finance world, like taking a mortgage, for example you have like your county registrar that holds a certificate of ownership, and then you need like a title company and an escrow agent and a mortgage agent and the bank and the borrower and the lender all coordinated through a human set of rules to coordinate a loan on that asset.
With NFTs and with blockchain, we can basically collapse all of those actors into simply code, right? So a registry of ownership, which is now inherently linked to the financial system. So that's really cool. And then we get to write those rules of the game for people to play out the, these lending interactions and agreements. And so for us, it was originally a way to find, as I said earlier true market valuation for the loan itself, like what, what is the most effective terms for this loan on this asset? And that's also finding a derived true market valuation for the asset itself.
And then we realize, oh, this is a Harberger thing. And what it actually does is it creates a more egalitarian value optimal debt market. So in the traditional world, again, let's take mortgages, once a lender gives you a loan, they own that loan, and typically, if you take a house, the value of the house generally goes up and every month you make your mortgage payment, the risk on the loan goes down.
So more value, less risk over time. The lender's just squatting on that value, gaining more value over time, exposure to more value in the asset appreciating and less risk, they can resell and repackage that loan making more money on it, if they choose to, or they can hold onto it while the borrower kind of experiences that harm we were talking about and have a hard time getting any exposure to that.
That's, time, effort, money, friction, to refinance the loan and gain exposure to the value that's accrued to them. And so what we've done with NiftyApes is we've turned loans into a public good and that no banker, lender ever owns the loan and any lender can at any time provide better terms and buy out the loan, they're not buying out the loan, but they have the right to receive the interest payments from that loan and the right to seize the asset should the borrower default.
Matt Prewitt: Yep.
Kevin Seagraves: So you're basically making capital compete for the right to receive that interest payment and the right to gain that value from that public good while they're doing the work of pricing the asset, pricing the loan, and providing capital.
And the borrower now has an automatically refinancing loan that improves over the duration, right? So it's not an adjustable rate mortgage. It's just a better rate mortgage. And as your asset appreciates in value, your terms get better. And so we have positive externalities for the borrower and for the ecosystem, cuz now there's pricing data for these different assets.
And so it's really a it's a win-win-win game is how we've designed it. So lenders can at first be like, oh, I'm getting rugged. Like I can't squat on my capital. Yes, that's how we've designed it, but you do have a guaranteed minimum of how much money you might make. You now have access to loans that are active.
So you can come in, take a loan that, you're gonna get a return from, and you have a guaranteed minimum. Again, borrowers have access to that, those better terms, larger line of credit, lower interest rate, a longer duration. And then the ecosystem has this high fidelity data set.
So that's our context and how we've applied it. We don't really have the tax part as much. So we're still big believers in public goods, right? Like a Gitcoin person over here, quadratic funding, I helped build the fund distribution system. And so I really wanted to include that as a piece.
There is still lenders are providing the self assessed evaluation and providing the capital. To back that self-assessed evaluation. And that's how it's working there. There is value flowing to the other actors. So that's a positive. But what we're doing, in addition, is that the protocol itself is, in this case we're calling it a donation.
We're donating 1% of revenue to public goods. You had to create a meme through which to do that. We didn't wanna just give it all to Gitcoin, cuz there are other experiments happening for funding distribution. So we created a it's basically right now it's a multisig, but it's really a meme called the Regen Collective.
And the goal is to get as many web3 protocols and platforms to programmatically donate 1% of revenue to public goods as possible so that we can fund these other funding distribution experiments. And so that's how we're closing that loop of redistributing value. Yeah, go ahead.
Matt Prewitt: so the taxes is basically set at 1% and that goes into this fund?
Kevin Seagraves: So it's not a tax, it's not a tax on the lender. It's a tax on the protocol, right? Because the protocol is a public good itself as well. It's essentially riding the subway or or like paying your water utility bill, where they're paying for the upkeep and maintenance of these protocols.
And so that's what revenue the protocol makes. It's essentially equivalent to that. And then the protocol is taking 1% of that revenue and giving it back to public goods. So if the global lending market, it did $7 trillion in revenue in 2019, if we took 1% of that revenue and gave it back to public goods, it'd be $70 billion a year for the planet potentially. So that's how we're tying it back.
Matt Prewitt: What prevents, though, a lender from overvaluing their loan so that nobody buys it from them?
Kevin Seagraves: So they totally can – the risk there is to do even better.
So you're able to find there's a game-theoretical equilibrium in that you don't want to overprice your loan because you might put yourself into a risky position where the asset actually drops in value. And now your loan is underwater and the bar is not gonna repay the loan. They're gonna be stuck with the asset. I..
Matt Prewitt: Oh, okay. But so the re what the actual check on it though, is that the self-assessed value is the actual value of the loan also to the borrower,
Kevin Seagraves: The risk there is that the asset might not, at least right now, it's a very volatile market, right? So they can overvalue the asset if they're providing really good terms and everybody's really happy, then that's a good thing, right? That is the borrower's getting great terms and there's no other actor in the marketplace who's willing to do even better.
Matt Prewitt: okay. But so the re what the actual check on it, though, self-assessed value is the actual value of the loan also to the borrower.
Kevin Seagraves: Correct.
Matt Prewitt: Not, Got it. There isn't like a private valuation.
Kevin Seagraves: No. It's if you're providing valuation, you're staking the capital upfront and someone can walk away with it. So you have to have an accurate valuation of the asset and the risk on the loan. So that you're not yeah. Losing money along the way.
Matt Prewitt: Cool. Interesting.
Kevin Seagraves: So yeah, that's me.
Matt Prewitt: yeah, it's a super exciting model and you can imagine, obviously, you can imagine that someday it would be interesting to see that kind of model being applied to different kinds-
Kevin Seagraves: Totally so.
Matt Prewitt: of assets in the financial system.
Kevin Seagraves: Right now it's JPEGs, but it could be the housing market, imagine like right now interest rates are going up. It's let's just say it's, 6% right now. And over time I wanna buy a house. So I take out my loan, but over time the interest rates dropped and in the current system, I'd have to wait or try really hard to refinance at some future date.
But in this system it's oh, okay, my house is probably going up in value over time. And as interest rates drop, like other lenders are going to want to take over that loan in order to receive those interest payments. And so I, now my opportunity cost for taking out a mortgage now is diminished because I know in the future, I'm likely to get refinanced and it will reach that market equilibrium through game theory rather than through forced private actions.
And you can also do amazing things with this protocol. So it's like I can offer a loan on an, on any asset in existence, at any time, even before that asset has been minted. So I always love these examples, there's a neighborhood here in Boulder, Colorado called Martin Acres.
And as a lender, I can make a loan on every asset in the entire neighborhood, all at once. So anybody who owns a house in Martin acres can come and get a loan for $300,000 at 5%, for 20 years, just blanket statement, it's just sitting there, standing offer. They can come execute the loan which is a pretty amazing value prop for a lender, instead of having one on one transactions that have to go through all these steps with all these different actors, you now have a protocol that can execute one offer, standing capital, and then once it's executed, it goes into this always-on auction. So yeah, it's pretty fun stuff. There is a white paper out there.
If anybody wants to dive in whitepaper at So yeah...
Matt Prewitt: And Will, would love to hear a bit about how you're thinking about this stuff in your work as well. Could I, we could talk about art or we could talk about your work on protocols, whichever you prefer to focus on.
Will Holley: Yeah. The, the big thing right now, and this is, gonna be one of the first public announcements, so I do some work with CityDAO and myself, and a small team just passed a proposal in order to test out partial common ownership and quadratic funding in the real world. The basic hypothesis that we have is that if you apply partial common ownership and take the Harberger tax revenue, put it into a quadratic funding matching pool, you can thus incentivize a positive sum feedback loop to create a city from scratch. And the way we're gonna go about doing this is by purchasing land that has no economic value and bootstrapping value on it. Cultural value by bringing in fine art, world-class fine art. People will go out there, be able to stay on the land, experience it. One of those get off the grids. You're under beautiful starlit night with sculptures and your family and friends.
It's just something very unique in the world. Now, rather than having private leases for the surrounding land. We're talking about purchasing a couple hundred acres here. So perhaps one acre will be used for this core value proposition. All those surrounding acres will be leased out under partial common ownership. And the idea here is that teams from within CityDAO or outside of CityDAO, anybody really, can come in and take on one of these leases to improve the overall user experience. So our V-0 is gonna be pretty minimal amenities, some luxury tents, a clubhouse where you can wash up and eat something.
But there's really not much more than that. Teams will come in and build on top of that, capture, excess or unrealized value that nobody else is capturing. They will then pay some Harberger taxes into the pool. Those Harberger taxes are an incentive for other projects to come in. And because we're talking about the desert here, it's pretty expensive for the delivery of a lot of services.
It's known as a high last mile cost. And so we wanna subsidize, lower that last mile cost. High-speed internet, better facilities, easier to get to from the nearest airports, we're looking at land that's about two hours from the closest international airport, easier to get there, all those basic infrastructures that a make it more desirable, just get the word out there, make it easier to come to.
So make it more accessible, resulting in better margins for the projects that are already built on it. More customers which increases the Harberger tax revenue. And again, using the perpetual auctions in this allocation mechanism, we should get to an equilibrium where the most productive projects are the ones servicing these tourist needs, which ultimately just means a better user experience for the people coming out there to experience this, and all in all increasing that funding pool for the next round of quadratic fund matching.
So my prediction here is that in turn, this should get a positive sum growth feedback loop. The type we would see if we were going 300 years ago to New York city or San Francisco. Ultimately, this is completely experimental. the people of CityDAO voted overwhelmingly in favor to run this experiment and we're really excited to do so. So that's gonna be something we'll be working on over the course of the next two years. This all just happened in the past week, but the ideas have been cooking for about nine months now. And the logistics of trying to get 10,000 people behind a single
Detached audio: proposal
Will Holley: took about three months. Especially when we're talking about partial common ownership, which is a whole case of ideas in and of itself that needed some good explanations.
Matt Prewitt: super, super exciting! And you've also built like tools and smart contracts that people can, I guess you'll be refining them in the context of this project. But you've already got some pretty great resources out there for people who are interested in picking up on this template and integrating it into their own, to their own work.
Will Holley: Yeah.
Matt Prewitt: Yeah.
Where can people find out about that?
Will Holley: Yeah, it's on GitHub. github.com/721labs/partialcommonownership. When I got into this, I was describing the idea to people and trying to get them excited as well, cause it was very clear to me how it could impact their businesses and the projects that they're working on, originally in the art world, and then I realized, wait a minute, even if people understood this thing and they wanted to implement it, it would be really hard for them _to _implement it. Those upfront costs are way too high. And I looked around at some of the existing implementations and just saw that, again, they were way too complex for somebody who wasn't familiar with this concept. And so, I forked some work that was done and refined that, made it much more mature, than it was back then. And as you probably guessed, there's so many different variants of what we're talking about. There's so many gray areas and unknowns and trying to support as many of those as possible.
So you can really plug and play your flavor of partial common ownership and make it work for you without needing to reinvent the wheel, here.
Matt Prewitt: Super. I think some of, there, there are a lot of different sort of permutations of partial common ownership that I think we might wanna, might wanna say a few words just to help accelerate listeners' understanding of what are some of the different things to think about with different kind of ways of doing this. Some of these are enabled by the work that you or others have already done. Others are maybe not, but I think it, it might make sense to just point to some of the kind of trickier issues that we're all still thinking about in the context of this quite new sort of institutional thing. One of them is, and, You should all feel free to jump in and supplement what I'm about to say here, but like one of these, one of the issues with partial common ownership that, in a practical implementation needs to be thought through, is this issue of basically bundling. So, for example, you might, and you might imagine a, sort of a grid of a whole bunch of different parcels that are all just seperate and they all have their own separate partial common ownership interest associated with them. So we just are buying and selling each one separately. You could imagine another world, in which, you're able to bundle a bunch of those interests together into one and have a self-assessed price for the combined thing. And then the other side, you can imagine being able to buy one partial common ownership interest, and then subdivide it into lots of different pieces. And both of those two things that sort of bundling thing or the subdividing thing, present issues and complications in the management of partial common ownership interests. To save the listener a whole bunch of thinking about this, I will, I'll state my view on how to think about it.
So basically I think that these issues, the bundling and subdividing issues are issues that need to be decided collectively. So basically the partial common ownership interests are, these are individual interests. If I own one thing, and I'm, self-assessing the price on it, I'm acting as an individual, but when you take that turn into the bundling and the subdividing of interests those decisions shouldn't be unilateral.
They need, There needs to be some kind of other democratic mechanism for making those kinds of bundling and subdividing decisions. One other one: continuous auction versus periodicity. The way, like the way that partial common ownership is described in the book, "Radical Markets" is as a continuous auction system.
And most of the experimentation that's out there now, having to do with partial common ownership, conceives of it as property interests that are up for continuous auction. In other words, that third parties can buy them at any time. There's another way of, a tweak on how to think about it is to think of partial common ownership interests, as up for auction, not all the time, but periodically. So in other words, if you could buy a partial common ownership interest in an auction, and then that interest, like just by default lasts for six months or a year or something like that. and then has to go up for auction again, then you can win it again. Or if you lose the auction and the winning bid goes to you, as opposed to the auctioneer or whatever, that's another way of thinking about partial common ownership, interests as these sort of periodic interest.
And that I think that, that option of periodicity. That variation on this is an important thing to keep in mind in a lot of practical situations, because in many practical situations, just the idea that something can always be bought on no notice is like a non-starter. But if you reconceive of partial common ownership interests, as these periodic things then owning one would feel basically the same as owning like a lease and, having a certain amount of time an asset which opens up a lot of things.
And then you can start to think of it as, basically, a hybrid between a rental interest and an ownership interest, that has, attractive advantages over both of them.
Graven Prest: Okay. We went pretty far down the line with periodic options for a lot of the reasons that Matt said, I would, the one thing I'd flagged for people that are in the blockchain world, thinking about this, blockchain transactions are transparent. Like, you could see a bid like that's the standard. And so you start to have, if you have these periodic auctions and you need to collect bids, you start to have information leakage, and there's ways you can obscure how much a bid is, but it's gonna take more capital to basically hide the money. So we ended up not doing periodic auctions and I think there's definitely, they will, they _need_ to become more accessible because people worry about losing their object overnight. And so we end up having a different solution to that, but there's some things that just require certainty to make the sort of long-term investments that we still want to encourage. And so depending on use cases and all that sort of stuff having periodic auctions will be really important, but I think it'll probably require some sort of commit/reveal scheme or some sort of shielded transactions or something like that, so that you can have a fair auction where the incentives for people being honest about their evaluations, going into the auction, aren't undermined. Yeah.
Kevin Seagraves: Yeah, man. I'll jump in. The biggest problem that we're coming up to. Right. So, we're about to launch. Feels really exciting. It's great. But, there's this question around, when we talk to lenders oh, I could get rugged anytime? Like what? It's a, it's the paradigm shift, right? Yeah, we're turning loans into a public.
Good. Yeah. You could to continually put in work and provide a true market valuation to continue to receive those interest payments. Why would I ever wanna do that? It's this is, we're ideally we're gonna be attracting a lot more borrowers. So it's how do we get that five oh spending and how do we get people to buy in and start that cycle?
We think there's a lot of attractive things about being a part of an ecosystem like this, for all the reasons we've talked about in this whole show. But that's the biggest one that I see is convincing people. We basically have to demonstrate to them through usage of the protocol that it is worthwhile to be a part of and there's value to be had.
And in many different ways. Yeah, I'm not sure exactly the answer of how to do it. We're gonna go try that's where we're at.
Matt Prewitt: Yeah. I think all of this stuff is, we're really still in very early days here working on a, working in a vein of innovation in a really fundamental institution. There are gonna be some, there's gonna be lots of difficulties and like little fits and starts to work through, but I think we can all see that working through those difficulties, working through the unfamiliarity that a lot of people have with this kind of system is worth it. Because if we can figure out a, we can figure out a way of, essentially managing shared interests in scarce stuff.
It's like, there is not that many things that are more fundamental to like the functioning of society than that. So, any incremental improvements to the, to property systems that we can get going, through, this kind of work are gonna be, gonna be a big deal.
They're gonna be really transformative to fundamental, like whole sectors of the economy and, potentially transform a lot of lives and make important things work better.
Kevin Seagraves: Oh, it's just as far as pitfalls, one thing I've realized is that when you're working with abstract things, so like alone is just, it's just an agreement, right? It's not a physical piece of property or advertising in the metaverse or augmented reality.
Those are easier things to, easier systems to seed and get moving. And especially with a loan, it's much easier to be like okay, the banks I on loan, like haha banks you actually have to do work now. Those are easier systems to get people to buy into and to start, it seems like in the conversations I've had.
So if anyone's looking at starting a system like this, consider something that's a little bit more abstracted than a physical reality, cause people don't want to have their homes, you know, rugged quote unquote from underneath them. That's one thing I've come across.
Matt Prewitt: Yeah. I just to, dovetail with that, I agree. In all of the conversations that I have had about this idea with people the thing that comes up again and again is this idea of homes, right? Nobody wants to lose their home. Homes have this emotional connection, for perfectly good reasons, and are therefore, probably just the last place to think about this radical of a rethinking of an institution. But in the context of commercial real estate or in the context of loans or in the context of any of these other kinds of things where the stakes are just a little bit less personal, it becomes more, you people are more open to a different way of thinking about things. So, that's right as a pragmatic matter, but I do want, one of my Sysiphean tasks is that I really do want people to understand that, even in the context of emotionally sensitive things, even in the context it's like better way of sharing power that isn't just some kind of a "Market Maxmalist to help the capitalists exploit everybody" thing.
It really isn't that. It's a way sharing power better and helping people who deserve a seat at the table have one in a way that our inherited institutions, which, by the way, were invented by like feudal lords, and things like that don't do.
Graven Prest: Yeah, it goes back to the earlier conversation, like when you were talking about the financialization people just worried that oh yeah. Like financialization: bad. It's really hard to imagine the second, third and fourth order effects. So, we start with. Things that aren't as emo-, that there's not as much emotional attachment, but we prove that it works and help build people's intuitions about the impacts and nothing is perfect, but like the trade offs in this case, I think are good. And if we can prove that, with things that aren't emotional, aren't home, shelter, things like that, people will have better intuitions about what the impact would be if we took this thing and applied it to say housing. And yeah, for sure, if we can build a few examples, then like we can gain some momentum and start to see this in more ambitious and bigger markets.
Matt Prewitt: Yeah. It's been great to, to talk to you all. Thank you for taking the time for the conversation. if there are any sort of closing thoughts or reflections, we'd love to hear
Graven Prest: I'm obviously I enjoy talking with you guys, working with you guys on this sort of thing. Hopefully we convert one, one or two other people out there. Come join us, work on this stuff. I really do believe like what Matt said about this can change economies, this can change the trajectory of where we're going. And so yeah, it can be silly, little metaverse and ape loans and sorts of things like that. But, I do think we're on to something. So come join us.
Kevin Seagraves: Yeah. Just wanna say thanks for having me on allowing me to be a part of the club. I feel we talked about Locke and a lot of those ideas that a lot of the people in that era came up with, they were just sitting in like pubs and talking about, oh what if this happens?
We did things this way? They were just a small group of people talking about crazy ideas. And that's what this feels like. And so it's super fun to be a part of. So thanks for being my friends and working on this kind of stuff with me. And as, as Graven said, if anybody wants to come join us, there's a discord, we hang out every week or so, and we love to have more people in the conversation.
Matt Prewitt: Amen. Thank you for all the awesome work that you are doing. And, yeah. I hope anyone listening, take a moment, reach out to one or all of us join the conversation. There's really a deep, well of interesting work to be done here. And we need as many people as possible to pitch in.