February 22, 2018
The Guardian newspaper has long been known for its typos, and thus anyone clicking the following link https://www.theguadrain.com/technology/2018/feb/17/bitcoin-city could be forgiven for thinking that The Grauniad, as it’s sometimes referred to, had made a mistake its URL. Indeed, a look through some online forums suggests that many people are taking the story headlined “Slovenian crypto millionaire just opened the first Bitcoin City” at face value, although anyone who lives in Ljubljana will see something off in the accompanying photograph, as BTC City is in fact a well-known shopping mall in the capital of Slovenia.
The story is a curious one, as the webpage looks exactly like The Guardian’s, and clicking on many of the links will take you to the correct site. The article also claims to be written by Angela Monaglan, and while no such person seems to work for the newspaper there is an Angela Monaghan.
The story claims that:
Slovenian artist The Miha Artnak has come forward with a public proposal of some of his ideas on how to build a decentralized future city where citizens are entitled to a universal basic citizen income. With the support of the Slovenian government and University of Ljubljana he managed to put some of those ideas into rebranding the whole city's district.
It goes on to state:
The so-called BTC City already counts around 4000 citizens and populates a total gross area of more than 250,000 m2. It includes a city council, a university, local businesses, an art center, the main market, a sport center, a waterpark, shopping malls and hotels as well as two high rise office buildings, one of which is also the tallest building in Slovenia.
This remarkable story presents a vision of a techno-utopia on the sunny-side of the Alps that, as your correspondent can attest, bears no relation to reality.
The basic idea behind this concept of a city is that its whole economy runs on Bitcoin. Paying taxes happens automatically and functions somehow like paying fees to a payment service – only in this case the “fees” go directly to the city’s operational capital. Citizens then decide where they’d like to invest their tax money through the process of participative budgeting. … Basic citizen income is provided daily to ensure the people’s basic needs but citizens are already considering creating their own cryptocoin due to Bitcoin’s extreme volatility. The new coin would be equally distributed to all BTC citizens, so that in theory everybody would have the same starting position.
I contacted the artist The Miha Artnak, who happily confessed to being behind the page, and directed me to an earlier, similar piece on a painting made of dove droppings selling for $1.2 million, as shown below.
Those interested in more such projects can visit the artist’s webpage, or follow ZN Media on Facebook. Meanwhile, readers who can understand Slovene may enjoy the following video more than those who do not.