The Harberger Tax is a method of taxation proposed initially by Arnold Harberger as a way to fairly buy and sell assets from counterparties.
"Harberger Tax is an economic policy that aims to strike a balance between pure private ownership & total commons ownership in order to increase general welfare of society."
-Simon de la Rouviere
Pixel maps are a great way to visualize assets and digital real estate, and have proven to be a great testing ground for this revolutionary idea of taxation.
What it does
We have created a pixel map, similar to that of Million Dollar Homepage where people can buy and customize pixels (ERC721 tokens) on a canvas. Each pixel is always available to any buyer and is subject to a Harberger Tax. If a user is unable to pay taxes on their asset, anyone can force a sale, which will initiate a one day reverse dutch auction, open to anyone in the world.
Users buying assets for their perceived value and paying the appropriate tax on it leads to an ideal implementation of this experiment.
How we built it
We divided the necessary work into reasonable tasks given our timeframe.
We used Solidity to write our smart contracts on Ethereum, and the product is currently live on the main net. We took advantage of OpenZeppelin libraries and their ERC721 implementation to create assets for each pixel. The blockchain stores all user data and the state of each pixel and its relevant attributes.
In order to avoid timing issues when reading from the blockchain, we created a specialized block explorer in Go to read our contract's events and store them in a Postgres DB. The worker constantly keeps the rest of the app in sync.
To create a user-friendly pixel map, we use React on the front end of our app. The React hooks up to the database for any read actions. It writes to the blockchain any time a user attempts to buy a pixel.
Challenges we ran into
As with all hackthons, timing was an issue. We had to cut out features that we had originally planned, such as pro rata payment of taxes at any point throughout the year, as well as a modular auction system.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We achieved a full implementation of a Harberger Tax model on a medium that is widely understood and accessible by all. We have created an open forum for advertising and promotion with a fair, autonomous economic system.
Users are able to freely interact on our platform, making it a first of it's kind implementation and a testing ground that will add credibility to future implementations.
What's next for Radical Pixels
Create a more modular system with various options for different implementations. The grand vision is a generalized library that allows users to come up with their own economic system.