[Abandoned] A proposal for LAND left abandoned

Updated Mar/2022: This proposal has been abandoned.

Our current idea about how dead-land-ping would work follows:

  • Every address gets a “timer”. This timer resets to zero whenever one of the LAND owned by that address gets transferred, either by itself, or by an authorized Operator.
  • The rule for decaying LAND is not related to Content Deployments. Those are off-chain, thus it can’t be linked on-chain (although in the future something could be done regarding that)
  • Whenever the timer for an address gets to X amount of time (maybe 1 year, maybe 18 months?), all the LANDs owned by that address go to an auction. There’s plenty of time for warnings and notifications (calling a “ping” function would cost only ~10 cents of eth gas at current relatively high eth fees).
  • The proceeds of that auction would get distributed in the following way: 80% goes to the “inactive” address; 20% gets burned. So, if after 5 years you find your private key, you don’t get the NFT but at least you get the market price
  • The auction would be a decaying price Dutch auction. This has the advantage of being somewhat efficient at finding the actual market price for that LAND


  • if you transfer 1 LAND, or add it to a Estate, that resets the timer for ALL the LAND you hold on that address. That makes it very easy to refresh the timer. In fact, almost all active users deploying have transferred or sold at least one LAND in the last year

Development might not count (off-chain), but what about using other on-chain purchases? Purchases prove the address is being used. Then after that activity dries up the timer can start for the LAND.

Buying a wearable here and there would relieve active users from doing transfers that could impact their code or monthly routine.

For the record I’m not a fan of messing with other people’s property. So I am opposed to the idea. Other platforms are coming up with creative ways to let that land be utilized till an owner sweeps it clean with a verification or such. But removal of the property from someone who owns it opens up new ways to attack LAND owners.

1 Like

I’m new here, this is my first comment.
I would agree that if someone purchased the land asset, even is they are inactive for a year, or whatever time you set, I don’t think re auctioning their land would be the best call.
Maybe making it available for a public park type of build, and then if the owner comes back they can decide to scrap that build and build their own thing, or keep the “greenspace build.” If there were permissions given for a group of people that build on abandoned lots, for the communities benefit, that could be very coool. Peace


This idea has always made me uncomfortable.
I agree that there needs to be some way to deal with land that is truly lost.
Such as:

  • The land owner has died and nobody receives the account in the estate
  • The land owner has lost their wallet.
    But requiring land transactions to be made, even arbitrary ones that one might forget to do, seems like an inadequate measure of those. And it would be very easy to set up a timer contract to do a land swap to and from another wallet that would run on its own, defeating this solution as solving anything.

Here is a scenario that I could foresee landowners falling into:

  1. One builds a bunch of interesting and valuable content on their parcels (or a district does) and then operates them, even profitably or beneficially for others, for more than a year without changing any ownership or estate structure. The worst case of this is a district that typically will not be selling or buying land for more than a year at a time. This land is by no means lost or abandoned, just held long term by its owner.

A realistic example of the above is a landowner being a landlord and leasing their parcels out for multiyear leases that are being paid and are an obligation on the landowner to continue to hold the land, but they don’t sell it or transfer it. Doing so might even break their rental smart contracts.

Another reason this is problematic is that with nearly 10,000 land owners, how would we be sure that they all knew about this rule, knew when they were nearing expiration, and knew how to to the right thing to preserve it all?

This just seems really dangerous without a lot more ways that land can be determined not to be actually abandoned or lost.

Also, we really should develop a judiciary that can review cases where a person has lost a wallet, but has some strong evidence that the land was theirs and nobody else advances a claim. for a fee, and after sufficient passage of time, a judiciary should be able to accept the applicant’s request to have the land “auctioned” to them for a low price to a new wallet. Thought needs to be given to safeguards.


I think you have to look at the activity of the owning address of the LAND, rather than the LAND contract itself. If someone is actively doing anything at all, be that swapping coins, playing another game, anything that would indicate active use of the addresss then the parcel should be left alone.

If there is no activity on the address in one year or more, the keys are almost certainly lost.

In the real world this problem is handled by property tax. There is no such thing as abandoned land for this reason. If the taxes are not paid, there is an auction.

1 Like

What if instead of transferring the ownership of inactive LAND, we give transfer the Operator permissions (ability to deploy content but can’t transfer/sell)? So the community gets to use the inactive LAND, but the owner never loses it. If he shows back years later he can revoke the operator permissions if he wants to.


I support this approach-- base it on activity that the land holder performs with the land. It is unfair and dangerous to demand that a land holder make land purchases or transfers within a period of time-- or risk losing the land. I am concerned that a founder of DCL would propose such a half-baked idea. I for one will not be keeping my investment/ or growing my investment / in DCL if I continue to see founder-led proposals such as this one. I understand the governance is decentralized, but Founders hold much sway and influence.

This is a very philosophical question. One that should not be under-looked. The thought of losing one’s land just because they didn’t sell or transfer it is unacceptable. The mere act of buying sunglasses, logging into Decentraland, signing a transaction. Anything that demonstrates any form for output from the address that can only be sparked off by the owner should suffice to have the so-called land timer reset. The determinant should not be weather one transfers or sells land. As long as there is a signature on the address, the land should be left alone.
I know people would not like it, but the other suggestion could be a land tax as low as 1 usd every 6 months. (just a random guess)

This is the best approach IMO. I care about the contents on top of the land, not the land owners.

Also, rather than setting up new ownership rules, it’d be wiser to do this as a one-time event first (allowing abandoned lands’ content deployment to be delegated).

Another issue not addressed well enough in the original proposal is how this would apply to district land which would typically be either still in the passthrough lockup contract, which cannot trade land, or in a multisig wallet that would likely not be doing land transactions. This is about 1/3 of the land in Decentraland. Even the most actively developed districts would appear abandoned by the criterion of the owning account trading land. Better to do a test of whether the any of the role wallets (owner, update manager, update operator, land update operator) have had any activity on the blockchain. And provide a smart contract method for the owner wallet to call to prove it isn’t lost. That method should be callable through the district lockup passthrought contracts and should be callable by any of the roles.

Also, there needs to be a notice mechanism with adequate time. In the comparison with property taxes there are notices, appeals, etc.

1 Like

i like this. A good idea to keep the land used, and allows the owner to return to something cool, while still maintaining ownership

This is not a good idea. Selling off property based on recent usage is old world RE thinking. The value of the land is based on usage, we agree. That’s the point in a decentralized model like this. What comes with that is that no conditions can be put on it concerning this question. If nobody uses the land, then it’s just not worth anything. But that’s not going to happen here.

What about this draft idea we can maybe build on -

Each landowner will leave a “Will”.
After some time of no activity, the owner will be notified (email, phone, DM) about their land being unused, and given options (sell, develop, or lease).

If the owner does not answer after x times, the owners “Will” will be activated and it provides one or more email addresses and public keys for the “Beneficiaries” and backup “Beneficiaries” who will be notified by email, and asked if they wish to get the land for development, leasing, or selling. Offers in Fiat should be possible at a discounted rate.

Email or phone is suggested for reaching beneficiaries because the beneficiaries may not have a wallet or technical knowledge.

1 Like

“Abandonment” based on the transfer of land ownership alone seems short sighted.
An easy work around would be to transfer the land rights to an alternative address… (same owner).
Activity should come into play here, as in what kinds of txns this address is doing and how frequent… why isn’t the deployment of content on land not considered in the equation? How could land be abandoned if content is still being published on it by the owner?
Additonally, would this disrupt any type of long term renting an owner might want to deploy their land aswell.
I understand the need to ensure land is being utilised, but to strip owners rights to sell/hold property as a first course of action is ridiculous.

1 Like

I agree. And when reading more responses and thinking more about the abandonment issue, one other thing to consider is future scenarios, in a continued growth future where DCL continues to grow organically and reaches a critical mass for long-term sustainability, we will need to start thinking down the road about inheritance of assets, and it could take a LONG time for someone to figure out how to access digital land…

However, this issue overall is a very interesting one for the DAO to consider, particularly if we reach a critical mass point where more land is needed for growth. Maybe there is a one-time “revolutionary” type solution that creates more land liquidity one-time for plots that are still abandoned or in dead wallets. Just continuing to think out loud, not proposing this as a solution…


Not ok to simply repossess land. I may have bought a piece of land 5 years ago with the intent to retain and enjoy it’s undeveloped state. There was nothing against that at the time - nor should there be now.

However, it’s in the interests of the DCL community overall for as much land to be developed as much as possible, leading to an ever richer and more enjoyable world experience. One option I think worth exploring would be the idea of an inactivity score comprised of things like land activity, address activity etc, which could lead to a reversible ‘ignored’ land status at which point other users can register to ‘squat’ on the property (and become the operator) for a limited period of time or until the status of the land changes.

Given the demand for ‘squatters rights’ may be quite high, there could be a new contract to provide some sort of fair selection process, and there could possibly even be a cost to register (which comes with risk of loss if an owner returns). Any funds raised should go to DCL somehow.

1 Like

Offer the land owners a platform to sublease their property for a certain time with a contract.
That way we can make use of their owned land and it wont get wasted.

I’m sure that there are plenty people looking forward to list their property as a sublease rental.

i believe this is difficult under dcls current structure, i believe deployment has to be proformed by the owner of the land, i may be wrong on this (would love to be corrected and learn lmao) ig you could have a contract hold the LAND for both parties, althought this isn’t very decentralised and causes and leased LAND to be held by a single address (creates issues with DAO voting, eg someone could hold lots of VP this way…)

Under current rules deployment can be performed by a delegated operator (assigned by the land owner), or directly by the land owner, but more to the point - DCL rental marketplaces already exist. https://dclrenting.com/ is one example.

The DAO should rent out vacant land on behalf of owners. Land should not be appropriated.