Letter #4 to citizens of BWO
Pivoting back to what matters
Back when I started BWO, I envisioned it as the first of its kind, decentralized, digital democracy that anyone can participate in and build. This was directly inspired by all of Balaji’s essays on network states, and a couple of other books I have read.
I was awed by how strong communities like BAYC, Crypto Punks, etc. are, and thought that to make a good entry point to BWO, a PFP NFT that is attached to your identity is a great start. I thought that this would at least take 10 years to properly come to fruition, but it was a viable experiment none the less.
This was during a time when there were very few PFP projects, even on Solana. Degenerate Ape Academy hadn’t launched yet, Solanart was the only NFT marketplace, and Solarians were thought to be a blue chip.
Things changed over the next few months. Tutorials on YouTube made the accessibility of generating generative art available to all, influencers and promoters capitalized on every project botting them up to inflate demand, and the “metaverse” somehow made everything more speculative.
If you were here since last year, you’ve seen “blue chip” projects fade away into oblivion. You’ve seen influencers hyping projects to sell their own bags. You’ve seen thousands of projects which promised a lot, but failed to deliver anything.
In a way, all that was valid. It is through experimentation and iteration that we learn and take the wiser path.
If you’ve bought a BWO Duck, and not at all interested in building a network state, you might think that BWO has failed to achieve its goals. But if you’re here for the long haul, it is easy to see that we’ve got a long road ahead.
Ask yourself these questions-
Which project swears by no marketing? Which project deliberately makes it harder to mint by placing the mint link behind a puzzle to stop speculators? Which project remains unfazed and doesn’t count a mint selling out as a viable metric?
The answer is BWO. BWO was never meant to be a NFT project. It is meant to be a country.
And it’s not meant to be my country. This country is ours.
To that end, we’re going to return to our roots and keep building what we’ve envisioned six months ago, while making sure our early believers don’t get left out.
I’m writing this at a time when Balaji’s 1729 lecture series is almost over. After carefully discussing my thoughts with him and learning more about network states than I could ever imagine, I think I have a good idea of where to take this.
I should also preface this by saying that I have done a couple of things wrong.
Expecting NFT-flippers to take interest in building a decentralized nation state was far from ideal, although I’ve met a few citizens who are actually interested in this. However, the incentives weren’t always aligned, and they should’ve been community first.
Taking on too much responsibility was also not ideal. I used to believe that I should build everything, but a country is built by the contributions of everyone, not one.
Over the next few months, we’ll try to bootstrap the country and try to bring people in who are actually interested in building this. We’ll build community and camaraderie first.
We’ll shy away from branding ourselves as a PFP project, and return to our main brand of being the first decentralized nation state on the Internet.
The mint will remain open, but I advise you to “NOT” spread the link to your NFT DAO and speculator frens. We need believers of a decentralized nation, a crazy idea that might never come to fruition, with us, and not “price-go-up” frens. This doesn’t seem to be a problem either, because if the current citizens could bring people to the nation, we’d have a much larger population than we do.
My guess is, by having quality citizens over, we’ll both safe-guard ourselves against the whims of the NFT market overall, and keep building what matters.
The 90% Royalty is also being scrapped. To ensure that we don’t reward passive hodling, and instead encourage active pariticipation, 90% of all the future proceeds of secondary royalties will be either added to the DAO treasury of most significant importance or towards the spending budget of the winning political party, whichever we arrive at first.
The discord citizen node will also be revamped and it’ll be primarily used to straighten our registration database.
Like always, we’ll be slow and deliberate. We’ll watch what’s working and observe what’s not. We’ll copy shamelessly from what is succesful in other network states, and we’ll use our collective genius to hone our own.
We have enough time to iterate, and while most would dismiss the idea of a decentralized nation as “crazy”, always remember that there have been those, 10 years ago, who thought the same about a little project called Bitcoin.
Thank you for reading, and thank you for sticking around, Quackamen.