New Valley of the Boom? – humanjets

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In January 2018 at Innovation Park, Northern Nevada, Storey County Commissioner and Tahoe-Reno Industrial Center broker, Lance Gilman, confirmed the sale of 67,125 acres of land (about half the size of Prague) to the then little known Blockchains LLC, worth in excess of $100m. [1] Putting that into perspective their new neighbours, Google and the Tesla Gigafactory (likely additional reasons for the choice of location) own 1,210 [2] and 2,864 acres [3] respectively. The Blockchains LLC land equates to an astonishing 64% of the entire industrial park.

According to Gilman, they had expected the sale of the whole park to take place over 3 generations, but in fact it ended up taking less than 20 years for almost all of it to be sold. [4]

So, much like Silicon Valley provided the location for the tech boom, will Blockchains “Graphene Valley”, as they have dubbed it, become the incubator for the next generation of blockchain projects and associated industries?

Image credit: Concept Architecture by EYRC Architects + Tom Wiscombe Architecture.

Who are Blockchains?

“A lot of companies say they are here to change the world. We’re here to do it”

– Blockchains LLC

According to the company’s website, they see the project as a movement. As a means to ensure blockchain technology is used to benefit everyone, not just the largest corporations with the biggest resources. Instead, they are dedicating their own funds to providing an incubation hub from which thousands of passionate, driven and like-minded people, ventures and businesses will be encouraged to develop their ideas, where numerous stakeholders benefit from a collaborative approach toward common goals and to help drive economic and social change in the process. [5]

The Vision

The Blockchains plan may be bold, but they are certainly putting their money where their mouth is.

At Innovation Park they are planning and have started to build a “Smart City” with a decentralised blockchain infrastructure underlying all interaction, keeping it honest, fair and democratic. This city will support future industry, with particular focus on:

Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technology

– Artificial Intelligence (AI)

– 3D Printing

– Nanotechnology

Image credit: Concept Architecture by EYRC Architects + Tom Wiscombe Architecture.

Harnessing the land available in what is the most digitally connected of US states, as well as Blockchains LLC’s approved application to provide high speed internet access to the Innovation Park and beyond, the Graphene Valley Smart City will provide the work, residential, retail and financial environment in which to showcase how business development, residential living and commerce can thrive alongside emerging technologies. [6] On the financial side, rather than rely on existing banking infrastructure that has a strained relationship with crypto-related businesses and projects, Blockchains bought a bank themselves, ensuring the financial services on offer in the city will be fit for purpose.

Beyond the infrastructure level, to enact this movement they are creating the world’s first “Distributed Collaboratorive Entity” (DCE). The ownership and control of this entity will be distributed to those various stakeholder groups (developers, investors, employees, community participants, and a charitable organisation to further benefit the ecosystem) on a collaborative basis, in a framework that’s somewhat similar to previous DAO attempts. [7] 90% of the ownership of Blockchains LLC and 100% of the voting rights will be distributed amongst these stakeholder groups.

Image credit: Concept Architecture by EYRC Architects + Tom Wiscombe Architecture.

The People

Jeffrey and David Berns hosted Blockchains LLC’s global launch event in November 2018 as its Founder/CEO and President respectively.

Jeffrey Berns
David Berns

Jeffrey comes from a consumer protection law background, having been a partner at Californian firm Berns Weiss LLP. He is also behind Berns Inc, who owns the blockchains.com domain. [8] Jeffrey was an early investor in Ethereum, as well as being the creator of ETHNews, so already has a number of years in the industry under his belt. His brother David, has also left his previous career to focus on running the project.

No doubt, they have been highly successful in their own right. Given the sheer size of the overall investment here however, it’s likely there are more unannounced partners involved. We know that through their company, NV Energy, Berkshire Hathaway has a MOU agreement with Blockchains LLC to collaborate on blockchain-based energy solutions [9], though that doesn’t necessarily point to any direct investment. Beyond that, their CEO has simply said in the keynote that many of the partners may surprise you. [10] Perhaps their Innovation Park neighbours provide a clue? That’s all speculation for now, though it’s not uncommon for big players to have their companies fronted by lawyers, so it will be interesting to see to what extent the Berns’s are actually driving this project and who else may be involved.

Image credit: Concept Architecture by EYRC Architects + Tom Wiscombe Architecture.

Blockchains LLC Own Projects

Custody Of Digital Assets

As we move further into a world of digital assets, their secure storage and management becomes paramount. Physical locations can cause fear of centralisation and therefore central points of failure. Blockchains LLC’s custody solution will combine a multisig application with decentralised physical storage as an optimal solution.

Their custody contract utilises a series of Executable Distributed Code Contracts (EDCCs), built on Ethereum, that will allow hot and cold storage architecture with multi factor authentication methods to ensure funds are safe.

To complement this, Blockchains LLC have acquired 2 US decommissioned military bunkers in Georgia and Wyoming. They are also building a third in Navada on the campus site. Internationally, they have purchased a granite bored ex-military bunker in the Swiss mountains and a similar facility in Sweden. These are all nuclear bomb and electro-magnetic pulse (EMP) resistant, allowing them to create unrivalled digital asset storage protection where customers still retain control over their assets. [11]

Digital Identity

Blockchains LLC are also developing NetID, a digital identity solution to store biometric data and personal information in an encrypted fashion, stored on the blockchain so that only you have access to managing it.

Specifically, it uses palm vein pattern recognition technology as a biometric authentication method far more accurate than fingerprint authentication. The system hashes and encrypts this pattern with other personal information and places it on the Ethereum blockchain so that a user can prove their identity to anyone with internet access, whilst retaining the control of and access to their personal information. [12] Peer-to-peer transactions can therefore be facilitated, even if with anonymous parties, by being linked to their NetID that verifies them without releasing data. This provides individual sovereignty over identity, keeping users safe from exploitation.

Image credit: Concept Architecture by EYRC Architects + Tom Wiscombe Architecture.

Information

ETHNews launched in 2016, covering blockchain technology and cryptocurrency breaking news and in-depth analysis as a non-monetising outlet. Whilst a related project, ETHNews has editorial independence from Blockchains LLC and seeks to “champion journalistic integrity, global and local ecosystem insights, and thoughtful coverage of this constantly evolving field.” [13]

Image credit: Concept Architecture by EYRC Architects + Tom Wiscombe Architecture.

The Sandbox

The Sandbox is where Blockchains LLC looks beyond its own projects and seeks to provide the infrastructure for developers, partners and investors to join a collaborative ecosystem with the common goal to push and harness this emerging industry forward, in a way that returns personal control back to the individual, not further away. Developers are the lifeblood of the projects in this space. Partners have the vision for how the new technology can be applied. Investors with a shared vision are needed to make it all happen. The Sandbox is also based in an Opportunity Zone, allowing you to invest capital gains in a zone business with no tax to pay on the gain for 8 eight years, then just on 85% of it. If you leave it in for over 10 years however, it’s federally tax free, plus there are no state taxes if you’re based in Nevada. [10]

Image credit: Concept Architecture by EYRC Architects + Tom Wiscombe Architecture.

Will it succeed?

Many of the partners and investors in this project remain a secret for now. This is an emerging industry, with many doubters of its credibility, which is still in the very early stages of its life cycle. They are therefore cautious. On the other hand, they see the potential for where this can go, to the extent that they are prepared to make a significant investment in both the infrastructure and projects set to be developed at Graphene Valley. By doing so, not only do they seek to build out their own solutions, but to provide the facilities, picks and shovels they and other businesses require to thrive in the space. Despite its own boom and bust cycles, no doubt Silicon Valley infrastructure builders have done well over the last 25 years. If the start-ups and new projects in this emerging space can collaboratively build out solutions, as well as having a share in the ownership and decision making of the surrounding ecosystem, it only adds to their chance of future success.

Image credit: Concept Architecture by EYRC Architects + Tom Wiscombe Architecture.

Disclaimer: Investing or trading in crypto currencies involves significant risk. It is important to research and carefully assess any such investments. All the information presented in this article does not constitute financial advice or recommendations of any kind.

References:

[1] https://thenevadaindependent.com/article/blockchain-company-buys-67000-acres-at-northern-nevada-industrial-park

[2] https://techcrunch.com/2017/04/17/google-acquires-nevada-land-for-future-data-center-possible-test-track/

[3] https://www.businessinsider.com/facts-about-the-tesla-gigafactory-2016-6?r=US&IR=T#the-factory-is-located-on-a-plot-of-land-that-is-more-than-three-times-the-size-of-central-park-1

[4] https://www.teslarati.com/elon-musk-boring-co-flamethrower-sales-ban-california/

[5] https://www.blockchains.com

[6] https://www.blockchains.com/city

[7] https://www.blockchains.com/about

[8] https://thenevadaindependent.com/article/blockchain-company-buys-67000-acres-at-northern-nevada-industrial-park

[9] https://berkshirehathawayenergyco.com/excellence/news/article.aspx?id=4422&p=cs

[10] https://www.blockchains.com/videos/#global-launch-keynote

[11] https://www.blockchains.com/our-projects/custody-of-digital-assets/

[12] https://www.blockchains.com/our-projects/digital-identity/

[13] https://www.blockchains.com/our-projects/information/

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