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One of the factors driving market adoption in the early days of Bitcoin before there were reliable exchanges and user-friendly wallets was people meeting up in person to exchange Bitcoin. Peer-to-peer meetups took place in hundreds of cities, including Berlin, New York, Accra and Tokyo.
Ethereum and DASH also had grassroots community movements from the outset. Bitnation may be the first blockchain application startup to engage real life communities in the development process. Bitnation’s ambassador network is active in over 30 countries worldwide, providing advice and support for users interested in testing the Bitnation blockchain jurisdiction software and experimenting with self-sovereignty.
Bitnation was founded in 2014 and has developed over 100,000 lines of code drawing from an impressive array of decentralized technologies. Its core infrastructure is a smartphone chat-based polylegal jurisdiction known as Pangea powered by a ERC20 Ethereum token, the Pangea Arbitration Token (PAT).
An early version of Pangea 0.3 allows users to create and join Decentralized Borderless Voluntary Nations (DBVN). Each DBVN has its own Constitution and operates according to its own code of laws. Eventually Pangea will facilitate group and personal chats where users can write peer-to-peer smart contracts, resolve disputes and access governance services provided by third-party decentralized apps. Contracts are enforced by an artificial intelligence driven reputation system powered by the PAT token.
The first Bitnation meetup was organized in London on October 10, 2014, where Janina Lowisz became the first world citizen recorded on the blockchain using Chris Ellis’ ID protocol. Meetups soon spread like wildfire as the Bitnation community experimented with all sorts of pilot blockchain governance projects, including marriages in the US and UK, land title registration in Ghana, the first blockchain birth certificate and the registration of the Bitnation Constitution on the blockchain in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Catherine Bleish, DASH Community Organizer, explained how DASH meetups have helped develop the DASH ecosystem: “Our meetups across the country allowed us to set up individuals with wallets and send them their first DASH. This gave new users a tangible experience while helping the network grow in an organic way.”
In 2015 Bitnation helped refugees by developing an emergency blockchain identity protocol which won the prestigious UNESCO NetExplo Award and in the same year built a Public Notary in partnership with Estonia’s e-Residency program. This technology has been used by tens of thousands of people to record agreements and feedback from their experiences has informed the design of Bitnation’s jurisdiction software, Pangea. In 2018 the Bitnation community meetup program has exploded. So far this year events have been held in more than 15 cities on three continents, including Botswana, Barcelona and Buenos Aires with another 50 already planned for later this year, including events in the Middle East, Russia and East Asia.
The next scheduled major meetup is at Bitnation’s home base in the ‘Crypto Valley’ of Zug Canton, Switzerland, on April 3. Members of the team will review the latest Android/iOS release of Bitnation’s blockchain jurisdiction..
Erik Vollstaedt, Bitnation’s Community Director commented on the explosion of Bitnation’s meetup program: “It’s been amazing, we’ve always had a strong interest in our meetups but this year we’ve been approached by groups all around the world because everyone is super excited to be able to use Pangea to create their own Nations.
Typically during our meetups people learn how to download Pangea on their phones, setup wallets, and create their own nations and everyone has really cool and crazy ideas about the Nations they want to create and it’s fantastic to see the demand already there.”
Voluntary Nations on Pangea are Ethereum smart contracts (the governance service equivalent of a Decentralized Autonomous Organization) created on the Bitnation mobile client. An intuitive smartphone interface makes this easy and a native ETH wallet allows users to pay miners fees on the app. In the future the wallet will also hold Bitnation’s PAT token and other cryptocurrencies.
Pangea’s backend is a distributed mesh network which integrates the InterPlanetary File System offchain storage technology and can potentially write smart contracts to any blockchain. Bitnation’s development roadmap includes the integration of elements of EOS, Lisk and Bitcoin through the Rootstock protocol in due course.
Throughout 2018 Pangea’s functionality will be progressively improved to include a fully distributed and encrypted chat, the ability to write smart contracts from chat to the Ethereum blockchain, emojis, the PAT-powered reputation system and a native human arbitration system to resolve disputes.
Bitnation says that development of the AI for the reputation system is already well underway and that an early version is expected to be ready by the end of June 2018 if testing is successful. Since Bitnation releases updates in three week sprints, users can watch and experience the evolution of Pangea in real time. Bitnation says this model locks user feedback into the development cycle.
Bitnation’s founder and CEO Susanne Tarkowski Tempelhof is excited about Bitnation’s open source and community driven model for embedding feedback into the development process: “I wonder if other crypto projects with end user applications will follow suit by building both online and real life communities? Our meetups and feedback from public software releases significantly influence product design work.”