The BauDAO is a technical model that uses Web3 financial instruments to crowdfund and collectively own architecture. While the vision for collective architecture is not a new political project, the obstacles to its realization are constantly changing, as are the means and mechanisms for achieving it.
The BauDAO, short for ‘Building DAO,’ is designed to enable communities of people to exit the rentier and credit-based mortgage models of occupancy. American homebuyers are currently facing the most competitive market in decades, and paradigmatic models exacerbate this issue through the concentration of wealth in the hands of managing intermediaries such as real estate developers, corporations, or banks. The model makes use of new software mechanisms for socio-economic organization to decrease the capital barriers to ownership in urban markets by replacing extractive entities with the capital of crowds, orchestrated by smart contracts and a new kind of Architect. The BauDAO stack can realize what was hitherto infeasible – the thoughtful and equitable management of the complexity of fractional ownership of architecture.
The goal is simple, but the mechanisms for achieving it are fairly complex. In each context it will necessarily assume a different form. We use approximate numbers to model an example in a major American city, but the intent is to imply a parametric flexibility that can be adapted to many contexts, each with different tax rates, building regulations, construction costs, land values, cultural will, and so on.
It is important to parse out hype from the legitimate affordances of programmable money, smart contracts, DAOs, and blockchains. The hype can often obscure some of their affordances for the distributed ownership of assets. On their own, the technologies of DAOs do not guarantee any kind of socio-economic outcome. However, fractional ownership was historically a prohibitively complex bureaucratic obstacle, which is now generally feasible for tangible asset management and capital formation in the range of millions to billions of dollars.
Our first batch of reports is done. They're very detailed and required a lot of care to complete. The batch is called Future Systems and Models. Links to the pdfs can be downloaded below. We look forward to hearing your thoughts.
Report 1 – The BauDAO by Pierce Myers
Report 2 – A Problem of Memory in Digital Minds by James Douglas Boyd
Cope is a research service. It's built on the premise that crowdfunding will open a new economy of ideas. In a model like this, feedback from supporters is vital. So the community will help steer our lines of inquiry by commenting, suggesting topics, and offering financial support for work they find valuable. Our research can then be decoupled from the conditions and agendas set by institutional funders. We imagine it as a new forum for future thought, as Research for the Hive.
The futurist profession is nominally dedicated to the formulation of new ideas and models for studying future possibilities. But in practice, the work of professional futurists is conducted for a single employer or funder. The ideas are only valuable insofar as they help realize a predetermined outcome. It's increasingly uncommon for anyone to be paid to think outside of an agenda.
We model the future from scratch. When we make assumptions, we state them. Otherwise, we presume that the future could unfold in many directions. We methodically piece together plausible scenarios, step by step, using systems theory and applied mathematics. Our findings are compiled in detailed reports and released promptly to the community. Here's a shortlist of what we're currently researching: