Charter Cities: Crypto‘s Killer App?

Crypto economics – A vision

Five and a half years ago my co-founder and I got started planning a new city development in Zambia. After a year and a half of planning, we started marketing the new town development and got busy doing the actual work of development. Four years in, we’ve done quite a lot, but there’s still a lot for us to execute before the town starts to actually look and feel like a town. Part of what makes what we do interesting is that it’s an exercise in the sort of planning typically done by municipalities and central governments, we have to think about schools, utilities, home affordability, access to healthcare, sanitation, jobs etc. Starting from the ground-up, with resources we’ve built through aggressive pre-sales, and conservative financial planning—we typically have to approach everything from the basis of first principles. Further, given that the city is already self-funded, and with no external investors; we treat our development company like a lean start-up. The first priority is to get the minimum viable product ready, iterate and improve from there. It’s easy to be idealistic when the purse is unlimited, the opposite is true when you have to think of the best and highest use of every dollar spent.

That being said, part of what makes private city development exciting is the possibilities of what could be. What would a network of these private cities look like? Continue reading “Charter Cities: Crypto‘s Killer App?”

Zero to 1: Private Governance as a Service

By the turn of this century Africans will constitute 40% of the world’s population. At approximately 1.3 billion people Africa’s population is presently lower than that of China. Over the next 80 years that will change in an incredibly massive way. Whilst this transformation happens, something else equally impressive will be taking place; Africa will be urbanising at unprecedented levels. Almost 20% of the world’s urban population will end up living in African cities; that is some 2.5 billion people. Whats more, at that point in history, Africa’s total urban population is likely to only be 60% of its population versus ~86% in the U.S. today. I believe it’s urbanisation and population growth story will likely persist into the 22nd century; with population growth beginning to slow as Africa becomes more affluent, but with urbanisation likely continuing to be fairly rapid. In many ways the story of Africa over the next two centuries will be one of existing cities growing into mega-cities on the one hand, and completely new cities being built from scratch on the other. Lagos is expected to grow into a city of ~100 million by 2100, up from ~20 million today. Lusaka, where I live, may grow into a city of >30 million by 2100 up from ~3 million today. In both cases I’m doubtful that municipal or central governments will be able to finance the infrastructure rollout required to make such growth in populations sustainable. Financing the growth & the existing deficits at the same time would prove to be an insurmountable challenge. Rather I believe that the private sector will be the means by which the growth of city populations in Africa will be made not only sustainable but rather—possible. The alternate reality will be urban sprawl that consists mostly of shanty cities. A future I believe most people in Africa would prefer not to see unfold. Continue reading “Zero to 1: Private Governance as a Service”

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