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A cryptocurrency millionaire, Jeffrey Berns, has bought a a huge plot of land in the Nevada desert, intending to turn it into a blockchain based utopia. Berns intends to build a community on the land that will cover over 100 square miles, and it has cost him $170 million to buy. His idea is to build a community where the community has control over their own digital data, rather than their data being at the mercy of the traditional institutions. Everyone’s digital data will be kept in blockchain wallets that they have full control over.
Berns, now 56, plans to create a high-tech park named “Innovation Park” as well as a college campus and an e-gaming arena. The running total of the project is currently over $300 million, spent on land, planning and 70 employees. This is certainly an ambitious project which has the potential to economically transform a county that at present only has a population of around 4,000 people.
Berns said, “This will either be the biggest thing ever or the most spectacular crash and burn in the history of mankind… I don’t know which one. I believe it’s the former, but either way it’s going to be one hell of a ride.”
The issue of personal privacy has been gaining significant traction in the last 5 or so years. As we have evolved to having apps and services at our fingertips, people have been giving information away to companies and governments much more freely than would have been possible in the past. Although people have become more skeptical about who is getting their data and how they are using it, the majority of people still feel powerless when it comes to taking control of that data. Sure you can delete your online presence and try and disconnect from the system and your digital footprint going forward will be reduced, but you’ll also be signing out of a modern experience that unifies all of us. Because of this, there hasn’t been a realistic alternative to taking back this control, that is until blockchain came along.
Blockchain has massive potential to impact every area of our lives and isn’t just destined to stay in the cryptocurrency world. Berns is trying to push blockchain technology into a different direction with this ambitious project, and in doing so is sending a strong message to companies and institutions that people are getting tired of their digital information being in the hands of thousands of faceless companies.