Caretaker's Notes: Winter 22
Jon Hillis
0xbeC2
January 3rd, 2023

In 2022, Cabin evolved from an experimental residency program into an organization actively building a network city.

We entered the past year with a treasury diversification and formalized operations that represented these ambitions. Initially, we focused on building out Neighborhood Zero as an embassy for DAOs. We accomplished an incredible breadth of divergent explorations, including retreats, residencies, build weeks, conferences, three in-house software products, and some of the best content about DAOs on the internet.

As the market corrected over the course of the year, we focused on what was most important: building coliving neighborhoods to form the backbone of our network city. We completed top-notch coliving experiences at potential Cabin neighborhoods, which has given us confidence to focus on building coliving for deeply rooted communities in beautiful natural locations.

Summer in the Sierras
Summer in the Sierras

We came together to build our city from the ground up. We grew Neighborhood Zero from a single structure to a compound featuring community-built amenities like a sauna, plunge pool, bath house, outdoor gym, pergola, fire pit, park, and tiny cabin. We gathered in California and Puerto Rico to build out new cabin neighborhoods and planted the seeds of a strong culture of people who find joy in creating a built environment designed for communities living in nature.

our first Build Week, February 2022, was somehow less than a year ago
our first Build Week, February 2022, was somehow less than a year ago

And, of course, we got together and vibed. From DAO Camp to dinner parties, we grew our culture through meaningful IRL time together.

DAO Camp 2022
DAO Camp 2022

Through conversations across the community, we’ve identified several opportunities going into 2023. Our community wants clearer ways to engage IRL and URL, including:

  1. more experiences at neighborhoods

  2. clearer roles within the community

  3. better ways to earn and use ₡ABIN

  4. opportunities to start and build neighborhoods

We’ve synthesized this community input into an ambitious new roadmap for Cabin’s next year. Our focus and execution has put us in a position to dream big for 2023, and we are thinking about some wild ideas that feel closer at hand than expected. These are themes that feel alive for 2023:

10x cheaper and better housing

New cities will need to solve a problem current cities are failing at: providing affordable housing. At Cabin, we believe that by building coliving communities in nature, we can provide 10x cheaper and better housing options for people. We have a long way to go to accomplish this mission, but we’re taking big steps in the right direction.

First, we are now offering free housing via work-stay exchange programs for each of our roles. If you’re a builder, naturalist, host, or creator who wants your housing expenses covered: check out our programs here. We are excited to continue exploring these types of definancialized transactions, which have potent intrinsic value that remains largely unrecognized in modern economies.

Second, we completed our first low-cost housing prototype, the Tiny Cabin. For $25k we have a beautifully designed studio unit by our Builder in Residence, Charlie Frise. Partially prefabbed and finished on site, it can be installed easily anywhere in the United States. In 2023, we will continue developing prototypes and building more housing.

the first Tiny Cabin
the first Tiny Cabin

Third, we will continue to bring the community together for Build Weeks, where we deepen our culture by creating permanent improvements at neighborhoods. We flex our build skills, learn from working together, find satisfaction in our shared results, and build deep relationships with each other and neighborhoods. Our next Build & Grow Week is in the Portuguese Azores (!) and we’ll have a slate of them throughout the year.

If we keep playing intrinsically motivated games through shared experiences, pushing the limits of housing cost reduction, and exploring definancialized forms of exchange, we can start to build the basis of a new kind of economy. If it works, it will be an economy very different from our current one. It won’t produce the exact same externally fungible value that our current economy is designed for. But we hope and expect immense value will emerge.

Choose Your Character

Cabin is starting to imagine the first civilization-scale game that is played both online and offline. This IRL RPG (in-real-life role playing game) is a wild experiment in bringing together the best and brightest of the internet in-person to solve some of our biggest problems through novel, emergent bottom-up human coordination. This game starts with you selecting a role. There are six of them to start:

  1. Caretaker: Operator of a neighborhood. Jack-of-all-trades responsible for a space.

  2. Builder: Maker of physical things that improve neighborhood built environments.

  3. Host: Space-maker in residence, building containers and culture.

  4. Naturalist: Grower of plants, animals, and human systems to support nature.

  5. Creator: Very-online producer of art, novelty, content, and experiments.

  6. Resident: Remote worker living across the neighborhood network.

the initial six roles of Cabin's IRL RPG
the initial six roles of Cabin's IRL RPG

Our onboarding process will help new members find the right path into each role. Roles will have a guild to connect with like-minded members, levels you can earn, and work-stay exchange programs at neighborhoods. We’re building a directory of member profiles around roles, stamps, and other on-chain data from our community. Here’s an alpha leak on some early design explorations of the Cabin passport:

concept mockup of the Cabin passport
concept mockup of the Cabin passport

Cabin passports are the profile you use to play games with us, IRL and URL. We’ve already begun distributing stamps, roles, and levels to community members as NFTs. These tokens of identity, reputation, and participation get added to your passport and serve as a collective vibe check. But creating your profile is just the start of the games.

In 2023, we’re kicking off our biggest game yet. It’s called the Neighborhood Race, and while it takes place online, its impact is IRL.

The Neighborhood Race

We believe that network cities will grow by crowdfunding new neighborhoods.

Crowdfunding is a useful mechanism, because it creates a focused pool of people with skin-in-the-game towards a specific goal. The original creator residency program taught us that every crowdfund completed on-chain has the starting ingredients of a DAO. It’s no surprise that crowdfunding territory is the core action completed by Balaji’s definition of network states—they are potent coordination mechanisms that can be harnessed to create impact in the real world.

The Neighborhood Race is how the Cabin community will come together to select and support new neighborhoods. Members of the community can pledge support and make contributions. Winners of the race get access to crowdfunding tools, advising, and matching funds from Cabin.

In 2023, we’ll run our first race. If it goes well, we’d love to turn the race into a recurring event. We’re making a big bet on this game, because we believe it could be a factory for local, self-sovereign, land-centric organizations. These are exactly the kind of organizations we hope will thrive in a regenerative solarpunk future.

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