Tech entrepreneur, angel investor, and author of The Network State, Balaji Srinivasan, says a proverbial “giant robot” of supportive governing bodies and crypto proponents is needed to do battle with the “giant monster” of the U.S. federal government. The former CTO of Coinbase also said he will issue an update on his ongoing $1 million-dollar bitcoin bet “soon,” noting that “the reason I did that was to draw attention to this crisis.”
Balaji Envisions Fall of Western Fiat, Promotes In-Person Meetups to Build Trust
Speaking remotely at the first in-person ETHGlobal Pragma Tokyo Summit on April 13, tech entrepreneur, author, and bitcoin proponent Balaji Srinivasan emphasized to attendees that difficult economic and societal changes are coming, but he is also optimistic about the tools crypto and the larger community focused on “network states,” already provide to weather the storm.
Asked by Bitcoin.com News what the next practical steps are on the road to setting up network states and what work is being done, Srinivasan emphasized that the fiat crisis will draw people to decentralization due to a “deficit of trust in the world,” but noted that some degree of trust is still required for society to work at a primary level, elaborating:
The decentralization is coming and then we need re-centralization, but consensual re-centralization [of] the other side into these small clusters. I recognize that’s thinking ahead, but we need to think ahead because these changes may come very quickly.
The author noted he is working on a follow-up to his book The Network State, and creating videos to go along with it, because “a lot of those things that I thought were going to come in ten years might be coming in a few years.”
“I may fund, you know, more DAOs and network states and so on, but a lot of that stuff is kind of happening in parallel. I’ve been gratified to see that happening,” Srinivasan noted. “And the biggest thing about it is just building high-trust communities, as hard as that is, with physical meet-ups. Where people know each other and know each other in person. And that’s the seed for rebuilding things after what follows.”
Speaking of the draconian physical lockdowns of recent years, said to be medical in nature by the mainstream media, the angel investor emphasized that “the network state is in part a recipe for a ‘new normal.’” Later in the Q&A session, he explained:
Once we have digital lockdown, which is coming, and that’s capital controls, wage controls, price controls, CBDCs that get rolled out [to] try to block the exits. That’s actually easier in some ways to roll out than physical lockdown. Digital lockdown — the alternative to that … is freedom, is cryptocurrency, is bitcoin, and I believe it is what you guys are also building.
He emphasized to the room: “What I think you guys should be doing is thinking about building high-trust societies with physical meetups where you can physically verify people,” going on to lay out a vision of the near future:
In this post-fiat crisis kind of world where AI has risen, where China has risen, where fiat has collapsed, where it’s a low-trust society, you need to cryptographically verify all kinds of things — the identity of somebody on the other side, the fact that they actually have the money they say they do. Everything that you’re doing in crypto becomes much more valuable, if you can survive.
Srinivasan said the shift will go from people thinking Web3 is “this stupid thing” in an adversarial environment to where it becomes an “absolutely necessary thing.”
Deals With ‘Smart People of the State’ — Building the Giant Crypto Robot, and Making Bitcoin Bets
Addressing American politics repeatedly in his presentation and in the Q&A session after, Srinivasan said that “the farther you are away physically, financially, and socially from Blue America the better off you are.” He noted that many people are migrating to areas perceived as crypto-friendly and pro-freedom, like Latin America and Republican states in the U.S. Speaking to one summit participant he noted:
“The closer you are to Blue America [Democratic Party-controlled regions] the more the level of state failure … I don’t think all states fail … I think the red states might turn out to be like Eastern Europe or the Baltics.” He went on:
What I think the next step is, is to not simply think of it as just the state versus the network … Another way is the network working with smart people of the state, like Nayib Bukele, like Dubai … red states and purple states [in the U.S.].
“Find jurisdictions like El Salvador. Find jurisdictions like Palau. Find places where the state is actually supporting the network. Do deals with them … And then you’ve got state support and you’ve got, you know, a government in your corner.” The author brought up the Hollywood film Pacific Rim, where he noted that humans were unable to fight a massive monster that had emerged from the sea:
So right now, this giant monster has arisen out of the ocean and it is the U.S. Federal Government, and it is attacking all of the crypto banks, it is attacking all the tech banks … it’s attacking every single piece of the future and it’s just going all-out on us.
He continued: “Against the government you cannot fight as an individual or even as a company. To beat this gigantic monster you need a giant robot, a good robot of your own. You need your own government … you need the good states fighting the bad states … now it’s sovereign versus sovereign.”
While many proponents of bitcoin and crypto freedom hold the view there are no such things as “good states,” traditionally understood, as even taxation is a form of theft, Srinivasan nonetheless says that the average individual needs the “HP” and power of government-tier action.
Closing his appearance at Pragma Tokyo, and explaining his current $1M bitcoin bet, the tech entrepreneur explained to the summit: “I’ll have an update on the bet also soon … I think it’ll be satisfying of course for everybody. The reason I did that was to draw attention to this crisis.”
What are your thoughts on Balaji Srinivasan’s visions of network states and the current economic crisis and its ramifications for crypto? Let us know in the comments section below.