In An Age Of Technological Megacities And Silicon Valley, Why Are So Many Entrepreneurs And Innovators Planning A Move Into The Jungle

Author image

Alexander Belov   Contributor

In An Age Of Technological Megacities And Silicon Valley, Why Are So Many Entrepreneurs And Innovators Planning A Move Into The Jungle

Most modern megacities have clearly been influenced by twentieth-century science fiction, but something is luring brilliant entrepreneurs into the jungles. It begs the question: what do work and life look like outside of these traditional structures?

In March 2020, tech-obsessed entrepreneur Steven Alber found himself stuck in the mountains for seven months, eventually ending up in the town of Cusco, Peru. Thinking about the future of the planet, he envisioned a network of technologically advanced ecovillages and soon launched Elmas.Land.  “I’ve had this idea for ten years,” he recalls, “and I was waiting for people to understand that we need to build a new world.”

The Impact of the Digital Nomad

The Hirtentreu family call themselves digital nomads. Veronika and Alvar are self-employed in the field of information technology and lead a mobile lifestyle. While they’re originally from Estonia, they have traveled and worked in 35 countries. As soon as their daughter was born, they began to think about settling down and the principle of “modern, but close to nature” was core in their decision.

Veronika and Alvar aren’t the only ones who live this way either - in January 2022, A Brother Abroad study showed that there are 35 million digital nomads in the world who spent about $787 billion a year. The core of their value is freedom: while 17% of them are remote workers, the rest are self-employed with 66% identifying as entrepreneurs. 

While the nomadic lifestyle is exciting for many, most typically want to anchor somewhere after about four years. After that, it’s shown that 35% of those former digital nomads invest in real estate, with an eye on their retirement. 

A fusion of digital and natural

Globally, the eco-trend is gaining momentum. The pandemic has forced people to contemplate a lot: the future, security and ultimately, their own well-being. A simple way to track this trend is to see how consumers are spending online. According to GWI in 2021, 60% of users were willing to pay more for organic products than those that were processed. “Eco is health and health is the most important thing in life,” explains the founder of Elmas.

Steven estimates that there are about 10 000 ecovillages in the world. A core feature of an ecovillage is an emphasis on natural living and reasonable consumption. The Hirtentreu family was very firm on what it is they wanted for their new lives: clean air, natural beauty and conscious neighbors. “We are more productive when we’re closer to the earth, closer to nature.”

Steven was deeply inspired by Mexico and began building his network of ecovillages there in Tulum, eventually expanding into Scandinavia and Mexico. “This is just the beginning. Soon, we’ll be in other countries too,” he says. He envisions the Elmas Land network as a global and autonomous ecosystem. With its own economy built on a foundation of cryptocurrency, the ELMAS token, comes the right to vote on decisions and a horizontal management system.

In essence, the Elmas Land network is a DAO, where the human factor in the system is made obsolete due to blockchain technology. “A DAO is a philosophy of a new society where people live by new principles.”

The future is high-tech, free and eco-friendly

As a tech geek, Alvar Hirtentreu is fascinated by various technologies like cryptocurrencies and blockchain. It’s no surprise that 10% of digital nomads invest in cryptocurrencies, according to A Brother Abroad.  

Digital nomads like Veronika and Alvar Hirtentreu are confident that this is exactly what the progressive communities of the future will look like, with DAO at the intersection of ecology and technology. 

Elmas Lan will develop communication security technologies and stations that will allow  each village to produce their own electricity. In keeping with the autonomy Elmas strives for, some of the materials for building houses are printed in-house on a 3D printer. The founder has also paid a lot of attention to Agritech, using laboratories and teams of scientists to help complete the task.

The infrastructure needed for a full family lifestyle is there: schools, kindergartens and gyms among others. Of course, infrastructure for work and business is also critical and comes in the form of research and development centers, laboratories, offices, co-working spaces and acceleration programs. All medical and spa centers in Elmas ecovillages use rejuvenation and life extension technologies, because Steven's passionate about health and well-being. 

The towns and villages of the future will look like Silicon Valley but in the jungle, Alvar believes: “In the future, it doesn’t really matter where you live. What matters is the community and metaverse.” In his opinion, it’s key that people unite through their values and lifestyles online. 

Wrapping-up

Is Steven’s model of Elmas Land and it’s community utopian? At first glance, a little. But consider this: each year since 1986, on the last Monday of August, thousands of people gather from all over the world to come to rest in a spot in the desert of Nevada. These people build a new world with their own hands, known now as The Burning Man festival, a place for “free consciousness, free thinking and free ideals”. In 2019, Burning Man attracted 80 000 people alone.

Author image

Alexander Belov   Contributor

Alexander Belov is a writer specialized in Blockchain and decentralized finance field. In 2020 he was included in the list of the top 30 most Influential People In Blockchain Industry by Hackernoon.