CODY — A 40-acre parcel west of Clark will be the new home to a blockchain community.
Although the newly created CityDAO may on its surface look no different than a single-family home residence or a vacation rental from the road, what the property represents means much more for the decentralized finance movement.
Inspiration for the project came from the Wyoming Decentralized Autonomous Organizations Law that was set into law on July 1. The law made Wyoming the first state to legally recognize decentralized autonomous organizations as limited liability companies.
Shortly after that passing, CityDAO was set into motion with a Twitter post made by Scott Fitsimones, a San Francisco startup founder. Fitsimones is the town’s unofficial founder and its “First Citizen.”
“It’s the first time a real-world asset has existed on a blockchain,” Fitsimones said.
The organization is a Wyoming registered business known as CityDAO LLC.
DAOs are a blockchain-based cooperative collectively owned by its members, with rules set and executed through code. DAOs replace centralized management structures with more of a democratic approach where decisions are only voted on by investor stockholders. It is designed to be the opposite of a real estate trust, Fitsimones said.
Fitsimones said “a couple thousand” of these stockholders have already signed up.
“It’s the craziest thing I’ve ever seen happen,” he said. “It’s a blueprint for building an entire city from scratch.”
The 40-acre piece of land is accessed by Hail Basin Road west of Clark and has a well. A look into the city’s message board didn’t show a high concern for the infertile soil or cragged nature of the parcel, but more pride in co-owning a parcel that was purchased completely with crowdfunding.
“We acquired this to test the waters,” Fitsimones said, stressing the community will be concerned with conservation and will likely have no more than one structure on site. No buildings currently exist on the residential vacant-zoned land.
“We know the thought of 100 new neighbors might scare people,” he said.
Fitsimones, who said he visited the area in late summer, said the community originally preferred setting up in the Jackson area, but found it too expensive. Similar considerations and conclusions were made about Kanye West’s $11 million ranch up for sale south of Cody.
He said the proximity to Yellowstone Regional Airport and Shoshone National Forest and Yellowstone National Park sealed the deal.
A basic form of citizenship can be purchased for the equivalent of $1,000, which offers the citizen access to a community message board, voting rights, and the ability to settle land as a “First & Founding” resident. Additional rights are extended to people who invest more in the community reaching the level of a “Founding Citizen.”
DAOs rely on blockchain technology, a code set that traditionally runs as a public ledger of all trading taking place on digitally-based currency systems, known as cryptocurrency- financial units decentralized from any government. The blockchain will determine how things operate on a particular infrastructure, much like a roadway with stop signs and speed limits. City DAO will be based on the cryptocurrency Ethereum.
Cryptocurrency uses this distributed ledger to track the exchange of money, but can also be used in many other ways, in the same way a centralized intermediary like a bank, utility company, real estate deed or governing body would track and enforce a ledger.
What the community will physically do is still hazy, but Fisimones said it will serve more of a long-term investment asset for its residents. The CityDAO website claims it will, “build the future of real estate ownership,” “find adjacent communities and share the gospel of the City,” determine appropriate uses for its land, “make dank memes,” and determine how to build “more sustainable communities.”
Fitsimones said the land was purchased for “around $100,000.” The land had been earlier listed online for $125,000 and its registered owners are Keith and Jenni Kirschbaum of Rigby, Idaho. The deal for the land that the community refers to as “Parcel 0” was officially completed on Oct. 29 but the Park County Assessor’s Office still has no record of this transaction. In the City message board, one user referenced a holding company physically owning the property.