Ueberschlag Leila on Fri, 30 Sep 2016 09:17:40 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> MoneyLab latest blog post: "Terra0: The Self-Owning Augmented Forest"

In its latest blog post, MoneyLab presents Terra0; an ongoing art project
whose goal is to set up an alternative economic unit on the Ethereum
Blockchain, while exploring the relationship between art and capital by
functioning as a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO).

Here is the link to read the full article: < http://
owning-augmented-forest/ >

*Terra0: the self-owning augmented forest *

Terra0 is an ongoing art project whose goal is to set up an alternative
economic unit on the Ethereum Blockchain, while exploring the relationship
between art and capital by functioning as a decentralized autonomous
organization (DAO).

The idea behind the project is to create a scenario in which a forest
creates capital by selling licenses for the logging of its trees through
automated processes, smart contracts and blockchain technology. Originally
developed by Paul Seidler and Paul Kolling for a course at the University
of Berlin, Terra0 is still at an early stage of development.

“At the moment, we are getting more people involved. We are also looking
for funding, because even though we will do a crowdfunding campaign, we
want to get backing from an institution just in case any kind of legal
issues may come up,” explains Max Hampshire, one of the project members,
who joined the team 6 months ago. “We need someone to give us advice on the
process of giving property to an non-human entity ”

The core concept behind Terra0 is the creation of a piece of capital in
which no humans are involved and to observe what is happening. “It’s like a
transgression of the current human controlled capital system, because you
have a piece of capital completely self-controlled but, it is still part of
this system” continues Max Hampshire.

*How it works concretely*

After a "massive amount of coding", as Hampshire called it, a smart
contract on the Etherum Blockchain will control the inputs as well as the
outputs of a piece of land. The plan is to buy a piece of forest in Germany
where, every 6 months, the smart contract will interact with a satellite
imagery system to get information about the forest. The program should then
determine how much wood could be sold without diminishing the tree
population too much. The plan is to create a function that makes it
possible for the system to buy additional properties and thus to expand.
Simply put, the forest performs an ongoing analysis of it’s resources and
can sell and buy back it’s own wood, using smart contracts and dynamic

Even though, Terra0 reflects on the dichotomy between culture and nature
and wants to break it down, “we really want to stress that it is not a
nature preservation project,” explains Max Hampshire. The forest serves as
a very simple system for the smart contract to sustain itself. “It is an
art project that gives us the proper space for the speculative aspect of
what it is, it is a way to see what would happen with a DAO, if you could
just make one, what it would do, in a conceptual level as well.”

Terra0 reflects on ownership, personhood and autonomy. According to the
project's initiators, blockchain technology and smart contracts enable
non-human actors to administer capital and therefore to claim the right to
property for the first time. “Property is discussed now as something which
is not separable from a natural or legal entity. Terra0 begins in this
legal grey area, originating in the technological change brought about with
the invention of blockchain technology and smart contracts,” adds

The question Terra0 raises is whether the influence of the coder on the
autonomous capital system really can disappear after a certain point. A
technology always reflects the interests, preferences, and ideologies of
those who created it. The project's initiators explain that “the forest
would extend itself with the accumulated capital, and, since the forest
acts as (or rather is) an economic unit, it simply expands because that is
what economic units aim to do.” But is that really the case? Or is it
already a human assumption applied and projected on the decentralized
autonomous system?

*Leila Ueberschlag | Intern MoneyLab#3*
Institute of Network Cultures
Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences | HvA
MoneyLab <http://networkcultures.org/moneylab/> | 1&2 Dec 2016 | Pakhuis de
Zwijger, Amsterdam
@INCAmsterdam  <https://twitter.com/INCAmsterdam>

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