Nevada, the state of legalized gambling, prostitution and marijuana, is about to add another layer to its Wild West reputation: Desert cities formed by companies and run entirely on blockchain technology.
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak held a press conference on Friday to lay out his futuristic plan to open “Innovation Zones” on thousands of acres of privately owned desert that would allow private corporations specializing in emerging technology to form local governments complete with the right to impose taxes and create school districts or even courts.
It was Sisolak’s first time discussing the plan, which has not yet been introduced to the leg islature. He said the cities would be run entirely on blockchain technology, the digital ledger primarily used to transfer cryptocurrencies, allowing residents to buy goods, pay bills, transfer property deeds and obtain marriage licenses all using cyber coins.
One big winner would be Jeffrey Berns, the founder and CEO Blockchains LLC, who purchased almost 70,000 acres of Nevada desert east of Reno in 2018 and said he wants to found a blockchain-based community.
Elon Musk’s massive Tesla battery gigafactory is also located in the same county as Berns’ recent landgrab. While there’s no indication billionaire electric car tycoon wants in on the plan, he would seem to be an ideal candidate given Tesla’s surprise and market-moving $1.5 billion investment in Bitcoin earlier this month.
Of course, for Tesla to build its own autonomous zone, Musk would need to add almost 48,000 acres to meet the 50,000 acres of contiguous, uninhabited land required for a company to meet the rules of the proposed legislation. The rules would also require a $1 billion investment over 10 years.
During a Friday afternoon press conference addressing the plan, Sissolak said