owned by teA radical experiment is being considered in the US state of Nevada. It would allow new local governments to be formed on landch firms. Jeffrey Berns, the cryptocurrency millionaire who proposed the idea, is convinced of its revolutionary potential. The challenge now is changing the minds of sceptics who are not. For some, one man's utopia is their dystopia.
Loosely translated from Ancient Greek, utopia means "nowhere". A place that doesn't exist.
For now, this is an apt description of the place Mr Berns and his software company, Blockchains, believe could become somewhere extraordinary.
That place is a barren plot of land spanning 67,000 acres (271 sq km) in Nevada's rural Storey County. Mr Berns bought the land for $170m (£121m) in 2018.
On this site, he hopes to develop a "smart city" from the internet up.
Named Painted Rock, it would include all the trappings of a typical city - homes, schools and businesses - but with one fundamental difference. Residents would use the city's services and cryptocurrency on digital applications built with database technology known as blockchain.
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Unveiled last year, the plan envisions a city of more than 36,000 residents, 15,000 homes, and 11 million sq ft of commercial space. Blockchain estimates that, eventually, the city will generate $4.6bn in output annually.
For this to happen, Mr Berns says a new model of local government is needed in Nevada. This government would have powers to raise taxes, enforce the law, and administer public services such as schools, utilities and transport.
"There are some really cool things we could develop if we had the area and the flexibility to do it. That's what this is about," Mr Berns told the BBC.
A graphic showing the land owned by Blockchains in Nevada
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This vision has found favour with Nevada's Democratic Governor, Steve Sisolak. Within the next few months, he will seek to pass a law that would permit Blockchains and other companies to create self-governing "innovation zones" in the state.
Under the proposal, only high-tech businesses with at least 50,000 acres of land that promise to invest $1.25bn would be able to form innovation zones. These zones would initially be overseen by three supervisors appointed by the governor. Elections for this supervisory board would only be held once 100 residents live in the zone, which would be subject to state law.
To Mr Sisolak, innovation zones represent the blue-sky thinking needed to revitalise Nevada's tourism-reliant economy after the coronavirus pandemic.
"There's no doubt about it: this is a big idea," the governor said during a briefing in February. "But our state is not afraid of thinking big."
An artistic impression of Painted Rock
image captionBlockchains has made artistic renderings of what its proposed smarty city could look like
Big thinking has begotten big money. Blockchains has made $60,000 in political donations to Mr Sisolak and his campaign fundraisers over the years.
From the start, the company has been inextricably linked to the governor's legislation, which seems tailor made for its smart-city project.
While political contributions are not unusual in the US, they raise questions about the motivations of the donor.
So, what is the philosophy behind this project?
"I'm not anti-government," Mr Berns said. "But I do think the government has stuck its nose into our business too much. I think corporate America is worse than the government as far as sticking their nose in our business is concerned. So I'm trying to create a place where they can't interfere."
For Mr Berns, "they" are an impediment to a future without risk-averse politicians who stifle innovation, or unaccountable tech firms that harvest our data for profit.
Blockchain, Mr Berns argues, will help us invent that future.
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