Daily Balajisms – Crypto Countries
From fiat countries to crypto countries. From NIMBY to HIMBY. From Burning Man to Building Man.
The only thing more profitable than starting the next US dollar, is starting the next United States of America, thinks Balaji Srinivasan. The good analogy is going from a fiat country to a crypto country.
In 2010 the Social Network movie was released, and it didn’t have a single mention of politics. But in 2011 the Arab Spring started, and Twitter with Google played a central role in helping the pro-democracy movements to organize and get their word out to the world.
Still, nobody would believe you in 2011, if you told them that ten years later, in 2021, the most important issue, at least for a couple of days, will be if the US president can tweet.
In the same way, prior to 2009, hardly anyone would believe that starting new currency is possible. Today bitcoin is very well known and held by millions of people all around the world. But very few people will believe you, if you tell them that in five or ten years it will be vital for governments to hold bitcoin, they will not be able to finance their operations without it, says Balaji.
In 2015, Hillary Clinton who then served as a State Secretary, praised the power of social media to liberate people from authoritarian regimes. But after Trump’s victory, the censorship industrial complex was slowly rolled out in the West, where politicians have only two modes of operation – either total apathy or total panic. They either underestimate tech innovations, or they feel threatened by them. Hence we live in a perma-crisis and a poly-crisis.
Today technological progressives need to fight for free and open protocols and for decentralized AI, Crypto and Social. For the freedom of speech, freedom of thought, freedom of transaction and freedom of computation. Sovereign individuals are not enough, we need to build sovereign collectives, because security, privacy, and even wealth are communal goods.
To fight a rising authoritarianism in the West we need states that embrace decentralized technology. It’s like the Pacific Rim movie, says Balaji – you need a robot to fight a robot. In the same way the tech tribe within the US needs to create a synergy with red states like Texas or Florida – and help them to set up a digital gold window to protect crypto and prop up their regional banks at the same time.
Balaji says that DeFi and fintech are often criticized as pure speculation. He says that he loves the cloud and software solutions, but his motto is cloud first, land last, but not land never. DeFi can help to bootstrap new crypto countries.
Imagine a reverse tornado that starts in the cloud and spits out whole new buildings and neighborhoods. A reverse diaspora that starts decentralized and online, and is gradually printed onto the land – creating network archipelagos, enclaves of highly aligned communities, connected by internet and blockchains.
When you get too much regulation you get NIMBY. With no regulation you don’t get YIMBY (building vertically with skyscrapers) but HIMBY – “horizontal yes in my backyard”. Horizontal sprawl is good, says Balaji, this is how the West was won and new towns were built.
Burning Man can be viewed as an MVP of a town. But we need Building Man – a kind of Olympics for builders. This is where Balaji is close to the e/acc motto of “always be building.”