Burners vs Bureaucracy

In the wake of the Santa Rosa fires, many Burners wanted to do whatever they could to help. The shelter situation was dire, with 3000 homes destroyed (5% of the total housing stock) and 100,000 people displaced.

Advanced Shelter Systems of Napa stepped up with SHELTERPODs for first responders.

Burners from Camp Epic raised $30,000 to bring their camp accommodation to Santa Rosa to create Oasis Village. 40-ft shipping containers decked out with power, lighting, insulation, and climate control. They got some land donated from a local weed medical marijuana grower, and shipped the containers out, set them up in a village ready for fire survivors to occupy.

And that’s when The Man stepped in to kill it.


Danger Ranger brought the first shipping container to Burning Man in 1997, a military psyops unit used during the Vietnam War.

Burning Man 2008

Since then, containers have become part of the fabric of Burnitecture.

ian ross container 2012

ekoVillages.com upcycled art container

We contributed several containers to the Burner-founded [free|space] project in SF, earning a commendation letter from the Mayor’s Office. However we were very careful to ensure the containers were not used for residential purposes.

freespace mission2

Thanks to Tim Lipton (pictured) for bringing this sad story to our attention

freespace missionst

ekovillages.com up-cycled art containers at [free|space]

 Read more about the [Free|Space] project here:

Temporary Autonomous Zone: Proof the Model Still Works (2013)


No Gifting for Santa

Shipping containers are heavy, expensive to move, and in many ways impractical forms of shelter. But they are solid enough to withstand windstorms, and much more comfortable for a family than sleeping in a car.

So what was the problem in Santa Rosa? They were fitted out in Nevada, not California. And they didn’t have windows. So the city said “no way”, leaving the Burners with a foul taste in their mouth, swearing to never do anything in California again – and leaving the families who’d lost their homes still sleeping in their cars. “Cars have windows”, said the building inspector.

Communal Effort and Gifting means Burners want to help others. This is why Burners Without Borders was formed in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Many Burners went to Haiti after the 2010 earthquake in the same spirit.

More recently, Burners have created a cryptocurrency for disaster relief and are rebuilding Puerto Rico as a crypto-Utopia.

Unfortunately it seems that in Burning Man’s home state of California “Civic Responsibility” is a buzzkill for the other Principles.

The project was initially lauded in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat and USA Today. Burners Without Borders promoted the fundraiser. Appeals to previous Burning Man supporters Gavin Newsom and Jerry Brown fell on deaf ears.

Here is the full story from the SF Chronicle (hat tip to Tim Lipton from Black Rock City’s Volunteer Response Team for bringing this to our attention).

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Screenshots from SF Chronicle, Feb 25 2018

Read more:

Exclusive Interview with SHELTERCOIN Founder Christian Weber

Burners Building a Crypto-Utopia in Puerto Rico

Burners Building Crypto-Utopia in Puerto Rico

Brock Pierce is perhaps the most famous person in the world of cryptocurrency. He got married at Burning Man, and has much more time for Burners than civilians. He and his friends are living in a Monastery and building a permanent city in Puerto Rico called Sol: a Phoenix rising from the devastation of Hurricane Maria.

See the whole interview with Brock and Tai Lopez here.

The New York Times picked up this story:

SAN JUAN, P.R. — They call what they are building Puertopia. But then someone told them, apparently in all seriousness, that it translates to “eternal boy playground” in Latin. So they are changing the name: They will call it Sol.

Dozens of entrepreneurs, made newly wealthy by blockchain and cryptocurrencies, are heading en masse to Puerto Rico this winter. They are selling their homes and cars in California and establishing residency on the Caribbean island in hopes of avoiding what they see as onerous state and federal taxes on their growing fortunes, some of which now reach into the billions of dollars.

And these men — because they are almost exclusively men — have a plan for what to do with the wealth: They want to build a crypto utopia, a new city where the money is virtual and the contracts are all public, to show the rest of the world what a crypto future could look like. Blockchain, a digital ledger that forms the basis of virtual currencies, has the potential to reinvent society — and the Puertopians want to prove it.

For more than a year, the entrepreneurs had been searching for the best location. After Hurricane Maria decimated Puerto Rico’s infrastructure in September and the price of cryptocurrencies began to soar, they saw an opportunity and felt a sense of urgency.

So this crypto community flocked here to create its paradise. Now the investors are spending their days hunting for property where they could have their own airports and docks. They are taking over hotels and a museum in the capital’s historic section, called Old San Juan. They say they are close to getting the local government to allow them to have the first cryptocurrency bank.

Read the rest at the New York Times.

This sounds like a great use of Burner power.

Why devote a year’s worth of energy to building something that is destroyed in minutes? I mean, don’t get me wrong, that can be fun the first few times you do it. Is that all there is though, the pinnacle of Self-Expression is destruction? What about other values, Civic Responsibility, Communal Effort, Immediacy? We can take all the creative and artistic talent, brainpower, networks, and newly minted crypto capital of the Burner community and use that to do permanent good, helping others in need. Gifting things that make a lasting impact to many.

BMorg might tell you “but that’s what we do, Burners Without Borders”! Unfortunately the most recent financial data we have says that they spent less than $8000 on these projects in 2015 and 2016, years in which they took in more than $80 million.

At this point the chances of Decommodification, Inc and their ever-expanding year-round crew saving the world are pretty slim. They would have to become something they quite clearly are not. Look at Flysalen, 2 years to figure out a vision for that, hundreds of people plotting world domination in the hot tub at Esalen…still nothing.  Burners, on the other hand? We know how to get shit done. We can make the world a better place. Many of us already are, like SHELTERCOIN. Puerto Rico needs our help, there are many other disaster-devastated destinations. Why destroy stuff when you can rebuild homes and restore communities?

Or, we can just do the same hedonistic debauched thing every year in the same way, the only thing changing is ticket prices going up and lines getting longer while the quality of the crowd goes down. Eat, sleep, Burn, repeat, forever and ever and ever…


How Much Do Burning Man Execs Get Paid?

For at least the Top 14 employees, year-round salaries are well into 6 figures. CEO Marian Goodell tops the list with an overall package of $267,839 per year – $22,320 per month. This is about average for an Arts-related charity with a $40 million annual budget.

From the recently released 2016 financial report:

Screenshot 2018-01-18 17.46.39

See our complete financial coverage here.


CryptoBeast #6 – A World of Infinite Love and Abundance

How do we make the world a better place? Is it by paying $1200 for Burning Man tickets, dropping acid and partying for a week half naked on a bicycle? Isn’t going to festivals just another form of commodification?

New technology is offering new opportunities to truly attain freedom – not just financial independence, but lifestyle independence. Burning Man used to be about rejecting the Default world and embracing something new and better. Now that action has shifted to the blockchain.


A fascinating new documentary created for the BBC iPlayer video platform features some great footage of a young John Perry Barlow. It traces the last 40 years of history through a counter-cultural lens.

“You were so much a part of the system that it was impossible to see beyond it…the fakeness was hypernormal”