June 23, 2021


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Would You Tell an Angel Investor How to Start a New Country?

Would You Tell an Angel Investor How to Start a New Country?

Angel investor Balaji S. Srinivasan (also the former CTO of Coinbase) is now focused on 1729.com, which wants to give you money to do his bidding — or something like that. He’s calling it “the first newsletter that pays you.

“It has a regular feed of paid tasks and tutorials with $1000+ in crypto prizes per day, and doubles as a vehicle for distributing a new book I’ve been writing called The Network State.”

His latest post? “How to Start a New Country” (which envisions starting with a “cloud first” digital community):
We recruit online for a group of people interested in founding a new virtual social network, a new city, and eventually a new country. We build the embryonic state as an open source project, we organize our internal economy around remote work, we cultivate in-person levels of civility, we simulate architecture in VR, and we create art and literature that reflects our values.

Over time we eventually crowdfund territory in the real world, but not necessarily contiguous territory. Because an under-appreciated fact is that the internet allows us to network enclaves. Put another way, a cloud community need not acquire all its territory in one place at one time. It can connect a thousand apartments, a hundred houses, and a dozen cul-de-sacs in different cities into a new kind of fractal polity with its capital in the cloud. Over time, community members migrate between these enclaves and crowdfund territory nearby, with every individual dwelling and group house presenting an independent opportunity for expansion…

[Cloud countries] are set up to be a scaled live action role-playing game (LARP), a feat of imagination practiced by large numbers of people at the same time. And the experience of cryptocurrencies over the last decade shows us just how powerful such a shared LARP can be…

The cloud country concept “just” requires stacking together many existing technologies, rather than inventing new ones like Mars-capable rockets or permanent-habitation seasteads. Yet at the same time it avoids the obvious pathways of election, revolution, and war — all of which are ugly and none of which provide much venue for individual initiative…

Could a sufficiently robust cloud country with, say, 1-10M committed digital citizens, provable cryptocurrency reserves, and physical holdings all over the earth similarly achieve societal recognition from the United Nations?

For the “do his bidding” part, the post promises that up to ten $100 prizes will be awarded to people who share constructive reviews on their sites/social media pages (including proposals for extensions).

Previously the site had offered $100 for the ten best hirelings “running a newsletter for technological progressives at your own domain, as a way to begin incentivizing the decentralization of media.” (It cited a tweet that argues succinctly that “The NYT is telling anti-longevity stories for us. We must take control of our own story.”) In general the site describes itself as “a newsletter for technological progressives. That means people who are into cryptocurrencies, startup cities, mathematics, transhumanism, space travel, reversing aging, and initially-crazy-seeming-but-technologically-feasible ideas.” So the newsletter-creating task had envisioned them all “constantly pushing for technology in general and reversing aging in particular, writing like their lives depended on it. In other words, blog or die!”

Other rewards went to the first 10 people to complete three Elixir problems, the 100 people who posted the best inspiring proof-of-exercising photos, and 40 people who helped identify people and places “where the ascending world is surpassing the declining world.”

For one of his latest “tasks,” Srinivasan wants you to read a long essay on quantum computing (and answer questions), with an optional series of “review emails”. $10 in bitcoin will be awarded only to the first and last 50 readers/question-answerers, while another $100 in bitcoin will be awarded to the first and last 5 review-email readers who “persist for a month.”

Read more of this story at Slashdot.