From an economic perspective, an object cannot be separated from its purpose or function. Thus the means of existence of every object is based on its usability by third parties. terra0 examines a scenario whereby objects appropriate and apply utilisation mechanisms to themsevles, with the help of new technologies.
A forest has an exactly computable productive force; the market value of the overall output of the forest can be precisely calculated. Beside its function as a source of raw material, the forest also holds the role of service contractor. It produces not only wood, but serves as a protected space within which diverse species can survive, contributing to an overall ecological balance. Furthermore, it offers space for relaxation. The terra0 project creates a scenario whereby the forest, augmented through automated processes, utilitizes itself and thereby accumulates capital. A shift from valorization through third parties to a self-utilization makes it possible for the forest to procure its real exchange value, and eventually buy itself. The augmented forest is not only owner of itself, but is thus in the position to buy more ground and therefore to expand.
In the first phase of the project, a piece of ground is bought by the project initiators, and a smart contract is drawn up. The smart contract contains all contractual definitions from terra0 and passes of two parties: the human actors as a project initiators, and a representation of the forest as a so-called non-human actor (or 'NHA'). The bought ground is signed over to the NHA in exchange for debentures (later referred as terra0 tokens), which represent a stake of the project and the smart contract. At this stage, the forest owns itself, yet is indebted to its shareholders (the project initiators).
An economic model implemented in the smart contract controls the exploitation of the forest. The NHA sells licences to log certain trees. If a certain sum of money has been earned via selling these licenses, the NHA starts to repay its debts to the project initiators by buying its terra0 tokens back. Once repayment is complete, the original owners (the project initiators) hold no more tokens, thus the forest is the sole shareholder of its own economic unit. The forest, in economic terms, controls itself.
By appropriation of capitalist and cultural mechanisms, a piece of ground thus plays an active role in society, whilst at the same time avoiding direct influence by third parties, via removing the possibilities of economic interaction by them. terra0 can be seen thus as a prototype of an economic unit in a post-human future.