Crypto infrastructure bets: Fireblocks, Anchorage, Alchemy

Crypto infrastructure bets: Fireblocks, Anchorage, Alchemy

This group would form the world’s first “grid state” – a concept Srinivasan calls “a complement to the nation-state”.

Tech critics have long been accused of harboring world-dominating ambitions. Grid State by Srinivasan published On the Fourth of July, he expresses these ambitions in clear and unapologetic terms. He writes that the “state” is dying, having served its function as God’s Leviathan in the twentieth century. We have now entered the era of the “network”, and the struggle between the moribund nation and the emerging network will come to define this moment in history.

Whatever you think of this prediction, State of the Network has an undeniable appeal among some of the most powerful figures in technology. Mark Andreessen supported Srinivasan produces “the highest production rate per minute of good new ideas anyone has ever met.” Vitalik Buterin, co-founder of Ethereum, said:[W]e new coins started… State of the Network shows us how to start new cities and countries. Coinbase co-founder Brian Armstrong declared with confidence, “Balaji would be right about the ‘state of the network’.”

A Twitter search for “state of the network” leads you to an endless wall of discussion among true believers. They are almost all men. some have”.ethAn appendix to their usernames. Approximately one in every 20 sports a Monkey is bored symbol picture.

Srinivasan presides over this digital realm as a philosopher king, sending out 280-character edicts on topics ranging from transhumanism to effective altruism. After receiving his PhD in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University went to He co-founded four companies, led a16z’s expansion into biomedicine and blockchain and serves as CTO of Coinbase. Those credentials – along with his nearly 700,000 Twitter followers – put him in a rare group of Silicon Valley thought influencers that include Naval RafikantAnd the Chris Dixon And the Paul Graham.

This particular site is why State of the Network matters: it’s not just a thought experiment, but a blueprint, right or wrong, that will teach how powerful technology leaders interact with governments for years to come. Srinivasan directs technologists to treat traditional nations as a collapsing impediment whose demise must be accelerated to make way for a better alternative. But if Network State is a technical dream, it also suffers from the blind spots of the technologist: the humanities become the ‘grievance studies departments’, religions are reduced to utilitarian organizing principles that can be replaced wholesale by cryptography and our understanding of the past becomes a direct battle between ‘technological truth’ and written history. “Partial and boisterous”.

Wordcels vs. CryptoChad: The World According to Balaji

In Srinivasan’s view, the United States is controlled by the media – notably The New York Times, which makes no fewer than 59 appearances in his book.

Srinivasan claims that the media establishment embodies left-wing authoritarianism, which consists of an “awakened” ruling class that also includes professors, activists, and bureaucrats. It is based on Curtis Yarvin’s idea of cathedral for this concept of power. But where is Yarvin, who is often right-leaning linked with Peter Thiel, It is considered Srinivasan believes that as the ruling class is a permanent fixture in need of reform, the world would be better off without it. He writes that journalists are “basically just dogs on leash, beating men for old money, and killing for the establishment.” He adds that bureaucrats proceed from the exercise of state power over others, while status-obsessed academics preside over their fiefdoms “grievance studies”.

This institution fears the destructive power of technology, especially decentralization, Srinivasan claims. Since the establishment wants to “turn back the clock on all those things that have disrupted its political control”, the old media criticizes the technology and hopes to “put social media and the internet back into the garage.” This bias is supposed to be an open secret that is sometimes acknowledged in unguarded moments, as in the New York Times. editorial Big Tech advocated sharing a greater portion of advertising revenue with local newspapers.

He says that the media and political elites will never get along with technology types, because there is a psychological difference between “people who focus on what’s real” and “those who care about what’s popular.” Srinivasan of course defines the media and political elites as focusing more on popularity than reality, not his domain of venture capitalists demanding each other invest in Juicero, WeWork and Theranos. This oversimplified distinction is especially surprising when it comes from Srinivasan given his frequent quotes by Stanford philosopher René Girard. Girard, recently made famous in Silicon Valley by Peter Thiel, states that It is human nature to “want what others desire because we imitate theirs.”

But technology and media are both competitors and close partners, we’re told. Watch major outlets publish stories about Big Tech Resembles “Seeing Coca-Cola trying to gain market share from Pepsi through meaner blog posts,” Srinivasan said in 2020. He also argues that, with the decline in US government power, the media has shifted from appealing to government power to appealing instead. Big technology. He sees this behavior represented in the media Calls for deplatforming or moderation in content.

So, the hated Srinivasan “establishment” is not exactly afraid of technology, which can be used as a tool of coercion, but rather specifically fear decentralization. The ultimate goal of the American establishment, he sees it, is to use the state as “a club to coerce the people (for their own good of course), perhaps to get a small budget along the way, and finally” to change the world” by changing politics. Decentralization threatens this process, he says: “People in the network start thinking about making a part of the network call it their own,” which means that the primary goal of technological progress “is to build — and no one has the power they are.”

Srinivasan has a habit of giving credit to the network any time a technology produces desirable results while blaming the state for everything else. With San Francisco, for example, city government bureaucrats were able to “turn the city into hell” using state power. They made it “despite how good SF’s tech founders are on the network.” Fortunately, Srinivasan tells us, remote work and the resulting ‘techxit’ give network personnel a chance to fight another day – eventually in the case of the first network, which would be “a blank sheet of paper, an empty text store, a new startup or a new record” . So the reader is supposed to think that everything that went wrong in San Francisco, social media, etc. is not about technology or techies, but about everything that came before them.

Wipe the country clean

The network state will be the technology’s first chance at “something new without historical constraints”. If this sounds fancy, it’s because Srinivasan insists on it Can be: Rather than arising from violent colonization of the natives, the Grid State would simply collectively fund new territories as a “peaceful mechanism of territorial expansion.” Instead of submitting tax reports, the income will be earned and recorded on the blockchain, resulting in complete transparency. Instead of holding forced democratic elections, the common citizens would vote consecutively and give up the state effortlessly if they so desired.

Even Srinivasan imagines that competition between network nations will be akin to “the same way people left Blockbuster for Netflix,” with the most creative country inevitably winning.

network status

Photo: Courtesy of Balaji Srinivasan and R Aalto

Altogether, this is supposed to allow people to “jointly build their own vision of a utopia”. Srinivasan does not seem to see the possibility of this turning into chaos. He was right to define the social contract as requiring compromise, but then he goes one step further by declaring that all forms of compromise are bad. If your cannibal neighbor decides to join the network state with legalized cannibalism, this may be his version of a utopia, but it does not make for a safe neighborhood nor an efficient community.

State of the Network takes a “cloud first” approach that allows Srinivasan to ignore more real-world problems. There is a possible counter-argument that the cannibal community will never gain the recognition of the diplomatic community. If this is true, then why would the global diplomatic community recognize any other country on the network? And if, in fact, there are diplomatic restrictions on the network states, they prevent Srinivasan’s free-market model of competition among the network states.

blood on the blockchain

One might wonder why the US or China – or any country, for that matter – would be willing to cede ground to a group of blockchain enthusiasts.

After all, not all forms of land ownership are equal. When you own land within the US, for example, you still pay property taxes and must comply with US laws. Your property is contingent upon the continued existence of the United States – your taxes fund the military that deters foreign invaders, not to mention the water flowing through your pipes, the police patrolling the nearby streets and the construction workers paving the surrounding roads.

It is possible that traditional countries are particularly wary of these blockchain enthusiasts given their clear goal of overthrowing the current global order. Keep in mind that these are nation states collectively $2.1 trillion on militaries last year, which doesn’t even include government spending on programs with indirect military applications. If a “common citizen” actually living in Russia or Brazil decides to join a network state and renounce their citizenship, what will the network state do if Russia or Brazil says, “Thanks, but no thanks”? And why wouldn’t a state refuse, since that means waiver of income tax and which territory these citizens own?

Faced with all these challenges, Srinivasan asserts that “a startup community of five million people worldwide, thousands of square miles of (non-contiguous) community-owned land, and billions in annual income will have an indisputable numerical significance.” This importance, he says, will allow society to bargain for national sovereignty and admission to international organizations such as the United Nations, the African Union and the European Union.

Rather than engage directly in these difficult questions, Srinivasan evades them by insisting that the Grid states only need to win the war on brains. He claims that encryption will eventually prevail over state violence because secure communications “mean nothing less than the ability to organize groups outside state control, and thus diminish states’ ability to control”. Once established, a network state experiment can ensure its continued existence through “a historical/moral critique of the current system that delegitimizes state violence against them and allows the experiment to continue.”

In the end, Srinivasan struggles to provide compelling reasons as to why the network state exists or must exist. The legions of true believers at the upper echelons of the tech world don’t seem particularly interested in these questions. Although we’ve had a bit of a crypto winter since the book was published in July, Srinivasan’s appeal has continued to grow. Next week, it is scheduled to the address Urbit rendezvous in Miami.

However, there is some limited criticism from the inside. Buterene, for example, Wrote Positive review but cautioned that poorly constructed network states will only serve the interests of the wealthy. “Chaos Monkeys” author Antonio Garcia Martinez – hired by Apple Effects employee backlash He said Deeper convictions are needed to build a new nation, even as Srinivasan said Describe “Reality has only accelerated with the post-COVID breakup.”

Altogether, the State of the Network is sure to have a significant impact on the future, even if the actual implementation of its ideas does not go far. So the strength of the book does not necessarily lie in its practicability, but in its attractiveness.

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