The Network State
Balaji is probably one of the most original thinkers of our time. Recently, he introduced the concept of the network state - basically how to start a new country which some might think that it's a bit far fetched but it's often the craziest idea that comes into realization.
In today's issue, we will break down Balaji's idea of the network state 👇
What is the network state?
- A network state is a country you can start from your computer; a state that recruits like a startup; a nation built from the internet
- It's a social network with an agreed-upon leader, an integrated cryptocurrency, a definite purpose, a sense of national consciousness, and a plan to crowdfund territory
"Sounds just like another online community."
Well, you're not entirely wrong
- Technology so far has allowed us to start new companies, new communities and new currencies
- So why not new cities and new countries?
- The key here is to build in the cloud first and land last - but not land never - by starting with an online community and then materializing it into the physical world
Here's how we going to do it:
- Found the community. First, we need a founder, someone who can build an online community that's willing to follow him/her and motivated enough to create a new state
- Form a network union. Unlike traditional social networks, a network union coordinates the daily actions for the benefit of its members. Like moderators in a subreddit. If a corporation censors you, the network union has your back
- Build trust online and offline. Holding in-person meetups while building an internal economy using cryptocurrency
- Crowdfund the nodes of the network state. Once sufficient trust has been built, houses can start getting crowdfunding to bring digital citizens into the physical world while using web 3 and mixed reality to link both worlds
- Digitally connect physical communities. Finally, we network each citizen into the network state, a digital archipelago with pieces of territory distributed around the world, ranging from single-person apartments to in-person communities of arbitrary size.
The overall idea is to populate the land from the cloud and to do so all over the earth. Hence, the physical footprint is not like your conventional centralized country. Think of Indonesia and how it's formed by an extensive group of islands.
Well, what if we extend this concept? Instead of being separated by the ocean, the state is separated by the internet and scattered all around the world. That's the network state - a globally distributed and digitally-linked nation.