Bitcoin applied to Real Estate.

Exploring the properties and principles of Bitcoin as applied to real estate development, design, construction and use.

Image credit, h/t @WrathofGnon; Beacon Hill, Boston, MA

Introduction

Bitcoin changes everything it touches; here we explore how bitcoin’s monetary properties will effect current models and practices of how society develops, designs, and constructs it’s built environment. This subject is dear to me - it’s what I do for a living. I work in the family office doing residential development and construction (<50 unit apartments and condos).

Entitlements. City approvals. Consultants. Utilities. Subcontractors. Construction. Leasing. All of it. We’re a one-stop shop. I’m too young have this much gray hair.

I like what I do, I just want to do it…differently.

I’ve long wondered why society builds cities the way they do, why the US is so different from other countries, and why I have to drive everywhere. I grew up in Scottsdale, Arizona - the northeastern suburb of Phoenix - which basically didn’t exist prior to World War 2.

I asked myself in early 2018: “Why does Scottsdale look so different from older cities?”

Thus, the journey began. I found Strong Towns, @WrathofGnon, the Congress for New Urbanism, and books. Lots of books.

The picture started coming together.

Traditional development models worked for specific reasons. Cost of municipal services. Financial productivity. Private property rights. Ancient planning wisdom. Evolution a la Trial and Error. Mixed use. Walkability.

Old cities and towns are nearly identical. Why?

Queue: Bitcoin

I discovered Bitcoin after graduating college. It was all the rage in 2011 as the price eclipsed $1,000 per bitcoin. I even tried mining on my gaming computer for a month. Which, as I found out, was a very expensive endeavor living in an apartment.

I paid my electric bill and moved on.

Then came the wild run up to $20,000. I owned some bitcoin and watched it skyrocket in value. Then I watched it fall back to $3,500.

Between those events I did what I normally do with subjects of interest. I read.

Little did I know, bitcoin would change me more than I could ever change it.

The intersection of my two seemingly disparate interests, weren’t so disparate after all. Wearing the traditional development and bitcoin lenses at the same time gave me the clarity for answers I was looking for.

Traditional Development, meet Bitcoin

Advocates for traditional development have re-established fundamental arguments for why the car-centric designs and models have failed. Government policies, siloed disciplines, “greedy” developers, and NIMBYs all share the blame.

Unfortunately, those seeking to right the wrongs have arguments which usually fall in line with “well if we just enforced this new policy instead of that old policy…it will all work out fine.”

I am here to rain on your parade. The same logic that created the problem cannot fix the problem.

To share my vision, I will dive into economics, money, trade, regulation, evolution, architecture, planning, and history. The flavors of these subjects will not be what you learned in school or popular books. Lots of complexity.

I’m no genius and no one person can comprehend complex systems. I’m just a guy who wants to build mixed-use Main Street buildings and mid-rise towers.

Bitcoin is the missing the link for proponents of traditional development and new urbanists. Probably not in the ways they want, but ways I’ll attempt to help others understand.

There Goes the Neighborhood

When I was a kid, my three brothers and I would visit my paternal grandparents’ cabin. Probably because my Mom got tired of us at the ranch and needed a break. Depending on which grandparent was in sight when the four of us burst in the door, there were two reactions:

Grammie: Hello, boys!

Papa: Well - jeez, there goes the neighborhood!

Midwest farmers charm being what it is, one reaction is a better name for the context of this newsletter. I loved them both very much, and it’s to them I dedicate my attempt to make a dent in this little corner of the universe.


Going forward, the goal is to post every few weeks to explore bitcoin applied to real estate development, generally. Both current and traditional methods.

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