Posted in: Tattle, Technology

Could new countries be founded – on the internet? | Sam Venis

Coinbase’s former chief technology officer wants to use social networks to create states. What doesn’t fit into his vision are things like poverty, illness and ageing

In The Network State, a buzzy new book by Balaji Srinivasan, the former chief technology officer of Coinbase, poses a devious question: how do you Larp a country into existence?

Released provocatively this 4 July, the book presents Srinivasan’s case for a new model of digital statehood run and managed in the cloud. A network state, as he describes it, is basically a group of people who get together on the internet and decide that they’re going to start a country. With a social network to connect them, a leader to unite them, and a cryptocurrency to protect their assets, Srinivasan says a country can be born with laws, social services and all. A network state is a country that “anyone can start from your computer, beginning by building a following” – not unlike companies, cryptocurrencies, or decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs). In a world where billionaires can run companies larger than countries, Srinivasan asks, could such a state achieve recognition from the United Nations?

Sam Venis is a writer based in New York

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