The Collective Purchasing Revolution
By pooling resources, communities have the power to change — and own — the world in new ways. NATION writer Elle Bland writes about that paradigm shift, present and future, in this article.
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What if the Knicks were owned by New Yorkers instead of the Dolan family?

What if instead of tearing down a local garden, the neighborhood bought and restored it on their own?

What if individuals could come together and collect resources they never could alone?

Communities are beginning to pool resources to make collective purchases. The next two to five years will be the proving ground for more and more group purchases powered by individuals of all means.

If the last few years brought a revolution in stock ownership (think: fractional shares on an accessible platform like Robinhood), the coming years will bring a revolution in ownership of all assets.

A few examples

Started by Slow Ventures, Sam Lessin and team created the Montana Land sDAO — a community that’s pooling resources to invest in plots of land in Montana.

Montana Land sDAO on NATION.

When a member contributes capital, they receive a token. That token symbolizes that a member has contributed capital to the fund, and therefore co-owns a percentage of the assets.  

Using a similar legal and token framework, one could imagine a group pooling money to invest in land for communal living. Once they have acquired enough real estate, they can use the same structure to raise money for housing, landscaping, and other improvements. Then, they can vote to decide which improvements take priority.

In theory, art lovers could raise money to buy and own rare paintings, statues, or prints. Since members are sharing funds to make the purchase, they also share ownership over each piece.

Imagine Van Gogh fans setting out to collect pieces currently sold at auction. Rather than leave them scattered around the world, the community can re-unite and display them as a complete collection.

Even a couple close friends have the tools to buy and own an entire organization. Krause House is a community of “hoop enthusiasts” raising money to buy an entire NBA team.

Krause House website.

The movement was selected by members of another DAO called Seed Club. According to Jess Sloss (Seed Club co-creator), “Krause House was an obvious project to back” because it shows how purchasing power skyrockets in the hands of a community.

Exciting possibilities, but how does it work?

Co-ownership is not as easy as it seems. Members fund purchases or organizations by transferring capital into a shared account, normally structured as a cooperative (or co-op). Once they have contributed capital, members either receive a certificate or token to represent their contributions.

This token is a symbol of fractional ownership over the organization, and subsequently, its assets. With most organizations on NATION, ownership entitles you to the right to vote on where and when funds are spent.

It’s a big shift from the traditional fundraising framework, which tends to restrict contributors from access to the funds they helped supply.

There are many different legal approaches to accomplish co-ownership in the US. For more information, see our Legal Tool.

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