‘Crypto rich’ millionaire Jeffrey Berns has decided to build a smart city in the Nevada desert to give back to the cryptocurrency community. His recently revealed plans detail a utopian, people-focused urban playground run on the Ethereum blockchain.
He believes that the decentralized community could operate independently of the American capitalist system. Blockchains LLC, a company with a blank slated history, purchased the plot of land bigger than the city of Reno for $170 million in cash earlier this year. Locals have been curious about the land’s future ever since the mysterious purchase.
Now the mystery is no more, Berns is not mincing words about his plans for how he will be using the land to create honest, fair, and democratic systems according to the collaborating architectural firms, Tom Wiscombe Architecture, and Ehrlich Yanai Rhee Chaney Architects’ project description. They sum up the project mission with this statement:
“The city aims to showcase how business development, residential living and commerce can flourish alongside world changing technologies.”
Gov. Brian Sandoval has aptly named the 67,000 acres “Innovation Park.” Berns will be able to fund the project entirely on his own with his crypto-accumulated wealth. The entrepreneur is definitely an idealist telling the NY Times, “if we can get enough people to trust the blockchain, we can begin to change all the systems we operate by.”
He plans to break ground in late 2019 but is taking the planning stages and zoning laws very seriously. Berns says the park will feature a high-tech Blockchain Campus for exploring innovations in AI, 3D-printing, and nanotechnology. Big picture, Berns plans to have civic centers, schools, colleges, commercial areas, and a walkable thriving community-focused city.
The architectural planning mirrors these ambitions with communal civic areas and courtyards. It isn’t only meant to be a giant techie jungle gym, the city will have residential areas for homes and driveways for self-driving electric cars. The city is a human-first technological paradise run on the blockchain and renewable energy.
Perhaps Berns watched too many episodes of Westworld, or maybe this experiment in urban design and community building will set a precedent for how we will all live in the future.