Bitnation is labelled as Governance 2.0, or more specifically "the world's first Decentralised Borderless Voluntary Nation (DBVN)". Similar to how Bitcoin is revolutionizing the way finance is conducted, Bitnation intends to revolutionize legacy forms of governance.
The project began in 2014, and the Bitnation platfrom has since hosted the world's first blockchain based marriages, birth certificates and refugee emergency IDs to name a few. The platform boasts the ability to broker peer-to-peer agreements and create one's own "Decentralised Bordless Voluntary Nations (DBVNs)" through the use of blockchain agnostic smart contract functionality.
What follows is an interview with Bitnation founder, Susanne Tarkowski Tempelhof, in order to learn more about the the platform and its value proposition.
1. Why did the Bitnation team decide to go the Token Sale route?
We had to create an ERC20 token to power the reputation system on the Pangea Jurisdiction. When you create a contract, execute a contract, or resolve disputes attached to a contract, you receive non-tradable reputation tokens. Once you accumulate enough non-tradable reputation tokens, you get awarded with the tradable PAT tokens. This creates an incentive network for reputation building through contract performance. We believe it’s important that reputation is built based on achievements, rather than on popularity, attention or purchasing power.
PAT is in no way a barrier to entry to Pangea, like charging people for something that would otherwise be free, like many other tokens are. On Pangea people can use whichever currency they wish that has been integrated into our wallet (Ether to start with, Bitcoin and others later on). In addition, everyone will be able to add their own ERC20 tokens to the Pangea wallet.
Since it was necessary for the reputation system incentive structure to create a token in the first place, and we need more funding to build Pangea and the ecosystem around it, we believe a token sale was only natural, and the method most in line with our vision of how decentralised societies should be built.
2. Authorities in the space believe that cryptocurrencies can co-exist with alongside legacy financial institutions. Do you believe it's the same case for Bitnation and centralized legacy forms of governance?
Many early users are using Bitnation to fill the gaps where their territorial nation cannot be of much help - say making an agreement to work online across national borders, or for those working in the informal economy, or stateless people who have no access to legal protections, or where some of the ways they want to live their lives are made illegal, like gay marriage in some countries, for example, and they want a secure jurisdiction in which to make a contract. We have also been approached by several nation states and local authorities who recognise that p2p governance service provision may save them a lot of money, and make services less monolithic and much more responsive and efficient.
As more voluntary Nations are created on Pangea, and service providers come to Bitnation as DApps, the effect will be like email on the post office, or Amazon for retail, more states will want to accommodate with Bitnation to benefit from the new value released by allowing people to make binding contracts cheaply and to the set of rules they agree with other contractees, not those prescribed for them by a one-size-fits-all state. Gradually opt-in Nations on Bitnation will offer better services than traditional territorial nations. So its Evolution not Revolution.
One advantage of Pangea is that if you remain wedded to the old system, you can still create a contract under a nation state jurisdiction and use legacy courts and enforcement if you prefer. In that sense we can both agree and disagree with legacy states and still both use Pangea, because its and order of magnitude cheaper than using legacy bricks and mortars lawyers, and because many of us will want to be self-sovereign and define our own jurisdictions for parts of our lives at least.
3. Related to the previous question, some would say that Bitnation is only effective insofar as it is recognized by "legitimate" authorities in the regulatory and governance space. What would you and the Bitnation team say about this?
Many existing states want to work with Bitnation. In recent days we have been approached by Kerala District in Deccan, India, and by the Ukrainian Association of Manufacturers to help their local and national authorities benefit from p2p governance technologies. We are advising the EU Observatory and Forum on Blockchain, and have advised Canada and of course collaborated with Estonia’s e-Residency Department to build our Public Notary in the past.
While Bitnation is developing a peer-to-peer voluntary governance system to replace the arbitrariness of birth as the decider of your citizenship, many states are also grappling with often insurmountable challenges in providing services, or looking to trade citizenship globally.
In these instances, p2p governance tech such as Pangea can help them solve problems, and trading some sovereignty for the boost in economic growth and governance quality that we believe is an inevitable upshot of adoption of our technology is probably in their long term interests. After all states are made of people, and ultimately is people who will benefit from a more configurable and flexible approach to jurisdiction and a return of sovereignty.
We are also running with the winds of change. There was a period in the late 20th century, when many people viewed the sate as a necessary protector and arbiter of stability, especially in Western Europe and North America, and in the context of a widely understood existential threat - nuclear annihilation during the Cold War. But since 1989 a combination of globalisation of trade and communications and the internet, and the use of new threats (actual or perceived) to justify deeper state intervention in our lives, this perception has begun to unravel. PEW, the respected polling organisation reported recently that trust in government in the USA had fallen to historic lows - 18% in 2017 compared to more than 77% in the mid-1960s. Smart nations will adopt to the changes.
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Thank you for the interview, and please check out the Bitnation Jurisdiction app on Android and iOS, and our ICO website: https://tse.