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Bold Balajisms – Startup Cities and Network States
network unions -> startup cities -> network states
If you don’t live on Mars yet, you have probably noticed that in 2021 the elite culture suddenly shifted from San Francisco to Miami. The All-In Summit 2022 took place in Miami, and not elsewhere.
We have seen an exodus of tech and fintech talent from Silicon Valley and NYC to Miami. Francis Suarez, the mayor of Miami started to actively attract talent and businesses with constant tweets and his “How can I help?” attitude.
As Balaji Srinivasan says, we are moving from the two-party system to the n-city system. Covid-19 and the remote work trend are doing to countries what the arrival of Google News did to trad media. Suddenly they lost their geographic monopolies and reprinting AP stories wasn’t enough. They had to compete on features.
This process awaits countries and currencies. They too need to compete on features and a clearly defined vision of bright future.
They too need to actively attract globally mobile tech talent. It is a matter of national security, because drones need to be designed, built, repaired and protected from hacking.
Cloud countries will need to deserve loyalty of their citizens, as loyalty will become the scarcest resource of the next decade.
Startup cities are cities that act like startups, like Miami. Or are cities where startups happen. Or cities that are started on an empty land from scratch, like Elon Musk’s SpaceX Starbase.
According to Balaji Srinivasan, startup cities will be the trend of this decade. And network states will be the trend of the next one.
A network state is a natural extension of crypto trend of the last decade. Some forward looking mayors like Francis Suarez are contemplating city coins. Some states like Wyoming have DAO laws.
A network state is a community that meets first in the cloud, acquires a sense of identity through HODLing of a common token and regular VR meetups. Whole cities can be built in VR and parts of them reprinted locally like startup hubs, community spaces and hacker houses.
Think of bitcoin meets web3 social network meets metaverse… and meets something like WeCreate/WeWork/WeLive/WeLearn/WeWorkout …and the result is: “We prosper, are healthy and smart together”.
Where two or three people meet, there is a Network.
If you have a (proto-)DAO shaped like a hierarchy, or a network union, you start to acquire a capability of a network state bit by bit by adding value to members through collective learning, burning (calories) and earning.
Balaji Srinivasan calls Truth, health and wealth the new Liberté, égalité, fraternité.
A network state is a hybrid or a Hegelian synthesis between two opposites – a hierarchical state and a flat network. It can be a productive or an unproductive synthesis. A state can acquire properties of a network and become a cloud country like E-stonia. Or a network can acquire some capacities of a country.
Before 2009 it was thought impossible for a pseudonymous person to create a currency now worth around a trillion dollars. But then Satoshi created bitcoin. It was dismissed until it was hard to dismiss, and last year El Salvador adopted it as a national currency. This year a Central African Republic did the same.
Innovations happen on a periphery. And clouds make the land fertile.
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