The following article was written by my brother, William Collier. It outlines a new model for governance that he is calling the Crypto Nation. What is interesting about this model is that it is not anti-state, or, as I call the state, anti-coercive enterprise. This model literally creates a viable alternative to coercive enterprise services and allows the market to decide what it prefers, the coercive enterprise’s services or the services of a free association through a crypto nation, or some combination thereof.
What’s even more exciting about his proposal is it is a plan that many folks can come together on, be they anarchists, minarchists, conservatives, progressives, etc. Let me know what you think by writing me at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Inevitable Emergence of Cryptonations
What is a cryptonation?
Just as cryptocurrency was a new concept unknown to the world until recently, the concept of cryptonations is currently unknown.
At the heart of the concept of a cryptonation is the ability to meet many needs through a social, cultural, and economic community of people who share your ideals and beliefs and who have the collective ability to support and defend your basic human rights through diplomatic and legal means.
The cryptonation will provide the platform, and the apps, by which communication, commerce, and connection between and among members can occur on an instantaneous basis all around the world, bypassing political borders entirely.
Consider a cryptonation with 30 million people, each of whom, on average, pay $20/month (through various fees for services) to support the governing agencies which manage and administer services, including providing legal resources and conducting international lobbying on behalf of their e-Citizens.
Such a cryptonation would have the means to put real public, legal, and diplomatic pressure on political states and to conclude compacts with them on behalf of their eCitizens. Some cryptonations might even obtain a small plot of land similar to a principality like Vatican City. We may call these physical manifestations “cryptostates.”
The interface between the individual and the cryptonation would be threefold: an app-based platform with some front-facing websites to connect globally, property and cohousing owned by the cryptonation or a local chapter, and a private meshnet with long-range wifi nodes all connecting in a mesh that is itself a private intranet connecting to the internet.
Members access the web and the intranet of the cryptonation through devices located in their homes, offices, and cars or which can be carried with them.
While cryptonations would not have armed forces, they would be able to provide cybersecurity, including taking active measures against cyber attackers, regardless of the source, who threaten their networks or their eCitizens. The closest equivalent to an armed force might be local chapters organizing preparedness cooperatives or even creating a private home or site security service, in accordance with local laws, at a discount for members and at premium for the public.
Cryptonations would be wise to focus more on compacts with political states that provide protection for their members and their networks in-country than broad political issues or threats to any political state.
The goal must remain limited to protecting the rights of their eCitizens and the security of their meshnets within that country. If political states have a material incentive to allow carve-outs for your eCitizens which they may not grant their general public, the cryptonation will do well to limit its political engagement solely to its own eCitizens and its own meshnets.
This may also extend to plots of land and other property owned by the cryptonation or its local chapters, as, for instance, a cohousing complex owned by the cryptonation or its local chapter.
For eCitizens, the political state where they reside should provide safety and security and guarantee their rights in exchange for reasonable fees paid to that state by the cryptonation itself on behalf of its eCitizens.
Realistically, this fee cannot be so low that the political state would lose out in the deal. In such a scenario, however, the eCitizen would have political representation through its local cryptonation chapters and the cryptonation itself.
They would forfeit voting rights in relation to the political state in exchange for not being directly taxed by the state, except for things like sales taxes and property taxes.
(Note: the cryptonation would seek consulate status for property owned by itself or local chapters, wherein property and sales taxes would not apply, however fees for conducting commerce and to offset the loss of property tax revenue could be negotiated within the compact between the cryptonation and the political state.)
As and when these cryptonations emerge, based on values and shared ideals, people as individuals will find their life mostly centered on their nation of choice but connected locally to people around them.
Political states which thrive will do so because they accommodate this and provide good services to eCitizens. ECitizens will also likely gravitate toward political states that have favorable compacts with their cryptonation.
Even if some cryptonations attain land, such as a city-state, or even as a world headquarters (or even a number of such small holdings as regional hubs), their intrinsic nature will be as a cryptonation with the vast minority of their eCitizens living in states not under their direct political jurisdiction.
In this scenario, where eCitizenship can be attained or even dropped almost at will, the individual becomes empowered to literally choose that sociocultural and economic system that best reflects their beliefs and that best serves their needs. On the other hand, the individual is still connected to and engaged with a broader world and can interact and have commerce with people of diverse nations, thus promoting a civil cohesion that is pluralistic and, necessarily, decentralized.
The 20th century welfare/warfare state will become more and more anachronistic and, through the agency of cryptonations, minority groups will no longer have to worry about or tolerate systemic disenfranchisement or discrimination.
Imagine a cryptonation that caters to people who identify ethnically and/or culturally as African. This ethnic-based cryptonation could span the globe, providing protection for its eCitizens wherever they live.
In this scenario, the individual eCitizen is not a minority in their chosen nation and is respected by their political state, per its compact with their cryptonation.
With some exceptions, most successful political states in the future will be limited and will mostly provide services for cryptonations via compacts which determine fees and set standards and rights for their eCitizens.
A monarchy like the UAE is probably best set up to fill this role and could prosper by allowing cryptonations to have communities and marketplaces within its territory, protecting them from external threats and also maintaining its essentially Islamic character in all spaces outside the cohousing facilities and support hubs which serve eCitizens in-country.
A communist state like China will struggle and cryptonations with eCitizens in China will probably use underground methods to serve members: eventually the most innovative among the Chinese will seek states which have compacts with their cryptonations, putting pressure on the Chinese state to make accommodations with cryptonations.
Ethnostates like Japan and Israel may create their own cryptonations for their diaspora around the world, but the political state would remain essentially controlled by the ethnic group, in these two cases Japanese and Jewish ethnic groups (Note: Israel does allow other ethnic groups to participate but the goal of the state is to remain essentially Jewish and to maintain a secure Jewish homeland).
Imagine the Jewish cryptonation, run by the Israeli government, having compacts with various political states that protect the rights of their eCitizens. Similarly for the Japanese, who have many ethnic nationals spread around the world.
The first steps toward a cryptonation were taken by Estonia through its E-Stonia program, in which anyone can become an eCitizen for a fee. This has limited scope and mostly applies to businesses. Yet it’s a step in the right direction toward a full-fledged cryptonation.
Indeed, small political states may operate cryptonations on a for-profit basis to create out-sized global influence and to grow their treasury.
We have a political state, Estonia, providing the first example of a cryptonation architecture and infrastructure and micronations providing the ideational foundation for the future cryptonation.
A possible transitional organizational framework for private cryptonations which do not have any political sovereignty would be an international society with NGO status which then seeks a domestic nation status within political states.
It may take a while for the international community to acknowledge and provide a legal framework for cryptonations, but this is inevitable. The technological and ideational framework is there, but they have yet to be married. This is coming and those who invest in this now will prosper immensely
Editor’s note: While I might not agree with some parts of Bill’s proposal for cryptonations, I believe the pursuit of cryptonations and their emergence will prove the efficacy of my assumptions about what cryptonations might look like versus my brother’s assumptions of what cryptonations might look like. There’s no need to quiibble, though, over assumptions. The ‘market’ will decide for itself.