In the chatter about the “decentralization of all the things,” one hears about many exciting ideas: self-owning cars, peer-to-peer lending networks, and even mesh nets. The demands for replacements of existing centralized systems grows stronger by the day.

But less often discussed – the real elephant in the room – is the decentralization of arguably the most centralized system of all: government.

A recent partnership of Bitnation (“the world's first virtual nation”), Horizon (the first fork of the cryptocurrency NXT), and Blocknet (an Internet of blockchains) hopes to bring the big elephant out of the corner and into the light.

And namely for those without much access to governance services to begin with.

The Stuff That Makes the World Go Round

Bitnation already played host to the world's first blockchain-based wedding, as well as the first World Citizenship ID. Founder and CEO Susanne Tarkowski Tempelhof says that the organization is a:

“[. . .] revolutionary idea, an idea which we believe will radically change the world for the better. However, being the first in the world to challenge the nation state construct head-on through providing better services using blockchain technology, it is not always easy to implement [. . . ]. Hence, partnering with Horizon and the Blocknet provides a very solid foundation.”

Bitnation governance page

And just what role do Horizon and Blocknet play in offering this “borderless, decentralized, and voluntary” governance?

The answer is apparently twofold: it comes down to how people interact with blockchains, and how blockchains interact with each other.

“Yeah, But is it Binding?”

A challenge that many have run in to when trying to negotiate contracts amongst themselves comes from that very question: is our agreement “legally” binding?

But what is or is not legal changes from nation-state to nation-state, and not everyone is happy with the particular state setup of their local central government. So the question then becomes, how can you incentivize others to recognize a different form of legality, on a per-contract basis?

Bitnation bets that the answer is in reputation leverage:

“Physical goods, and the conduct of human persons, do not occur on blockchains, and this results in a fundamental limitation of blockchain-based technology [. . .]. Horizon’s solution is to weave blockchains into the non-digital world through algorithmic reputation-scoring that sufficiently incentivizes people to honor blockchain-based agreements.”

Just How Big a Chain Are We Talking About?

The size and storability of blockchains is where Blocknet comes in. The Bitcoin blockchain, for example, is already too large to be stored on a smartphone. With Bitnation seeking to store the contracts, agreements, and records of potentially all of humanity, a single blockchain won't suffice.

And so Blocknet will act to make multiple blockchains work with each other, ensuring that no chain becomes unmanageable, and that the benefits of one chain can be transferred to another. Blocknet core member Arlyn Culwick says:

“Bitnation is a groundbreaking concept, and we're very excited to provide a platform for it to be developed upon. Horizon too is a powerful Blocknet-enabled project with the highest node count of all cryptocurrencies, except Bitcoin. We believe that the Blocknet, by enabling open ended inter-chain services, unlocks the full potential of blockchain-based technology.”

‘Boots on the Ground’

As an undoubtedly global undertaking, Bitnation offers ambassadorships for those who want to get involved and/or have complimentary ideas of their own.

What central government service would you personally be most excited to see replaced? Dispute resolution? Ownership titles? Something else?

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