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Smart cities are a rather popular trend of modern urbanistics, and it is possible that even people unrelated to modern technologies could have heard about it. In general, the "smart" prefix has become a kind of marker of modernity, adaptability, and rational approach to everyday life. People adopted the concept of “smart city” in several stages, eventually moving from “smart” houses to “smart” cities.
However, this is not the only direction where human passion for change and experiments with urban ecosystems moves to. Yes, there are the "smart" cities based on the foundation of technocracy, and there also are the concepts of private cities based on the idea of voluntarism and decentralization. And one concept not only does not interfere with the other but at the same time, they may well complement each other symbiotically.
Mysterious Norway as an area for experiments
Have you ever heard about Liberstad? If not, here is a summary: Liberstad is a recently launched experiment, a private city located in Norway. Liberstad is situated on 15 hectares of land purchased by investors in April 2017 and founded in June 2017, about 45 minutes from Kristiansand, Norway’s fifth largest city. According to the website of a first private city of Norway, the first 100 people who purchased the land of Liberstad come from 25 different countries, and 80% of sales were made using Bitcoin.
It is worth emphasizing that Liberstad does not claim to be a separate state and thus follows all Norwegian laws and regulations. The thing is, it is independently built on certain principles, including the philosophical approach stating that “all interactions between people should be voluntary,” with the core message on its website "Freedom to live the life you want, without large investments and costs." Utopian? By now, it sounds so. Nevertheless, this is a precedent which exists beyond skepticism. Moreover, it will probably serve as an excellent example of an ecosystem creation from scratch — and that includes the mix of political, economic, technological and many other concepts.
In a recent article, our columnist Paul MIZEL argued that the time has come for modern society to adopt the principles of decentralization not only in the field of technology but also in business and society. Liberstad has the potential to show the results of an experiment in the near future, while the whole world is watching. Currently, they are taking the first steps implementing crypto in their ecosystem.
Private currency for a private city. What's next?
Liberstad has already signed an agreement with City Chain Labs blockchain company to introduce City Coin (CITY) to become its official currency. People will be able to use CITY to "pay for anything ranging from haircuts, a dozen local eggs or an artisan loaf of bread," as it is stated in the press release.
Along with the fact that CITY would become the official currency of Liberstad, a partnership with City Chain Labs will boost the city’s voluntaristic ideas further — thanks to City Hub, a plug-in for applications or browsers on the blockchain. It will allow citizens to manage their identities, property, and automobiles, as well as "create city-wide initiatives or vote on existing ones." The voting system in the City Hub will be implemented in the Liberstad Incubator Program and “allow investors to vote on suggested applications to the incubator program.”
City Hub also has a function of wallets where citizens can receive passive income in the form of CITY. Everyone who works in the city even can get their salaries in tokens. Liberstad is supplied with 10 mln CITY; the city will also receive 200,000 CITY on a monthly basis. Also, the Liberstad Exchange has been created, where one can trade cryptocurrency.
So what’s the next step? The private city plans to allow the purchase of land with City Chain coin. It is entirely possible that the list of proposals will be updated regularly — the city is to be inhabited by initiative people.
Do private smart cities have a future?
If you think in a way like “Well, this is Norway, a highly developed country, they can experiment with anything,” then you would be surprised to learn that specific prototypes of private cities have long existed in the USA and even in India. The cities of Gurgaon and Jadshampur are an interesting example — the story in the New York Times presented it back in 2015, two years before the Liberstad was founded.
However, if private cities want to have a future, it is crucial for a “smart” prefix to enter this game. Liberstad demonstrates the enthusiastic approach: the achievements of the digital economy and technological evolution would give a tremendous impetus to this precedent. The trend is only emerging, but it is possible that society will feel its influence in the upcoming years already.
Image courtesy of Invest in Blockchain
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