Altered States

Balaji S. Srinivasan — The Network State and How to Start a New Country (#606)

Illustration via 99designs

A network state is a social network with a moral innovation, a sense of national consciousness, a recognized founder, a capacity for collective action, an in-person level of civility, an integrated cryptocurrency, a consensual government limited by a social smart contract, an archipelago of crowdfunded physical territories, a virtual capital, and an on-chain census that proves a large enough population, income, and real-estate footprint to attain a measure of diplomatic recognition.

— Balaji Srinivasan

Balaji S. Srinivasan (@balajis) is an angel investor and entrepreneur. Formerly the CTO of Coinbase and general partner at Andreessen Horowitz, he was also the co-founder of (acquired by Coinbase), Counsyl (acquired by Myriad), Teleport (acquired by Topia), and Coin Center.

He was named to the MIT Technology Review’s “Innovators Under 35,” won a Wall Street Journal Innovation Award, and holds a BS/MS/PhD in Electrical Engineering and an MS in Chemical Engineering, all from Stanford University. Balaji also teaches the occasional class at Stanford, including an online MOOC in 2013, which reached 250,000+ students worldwide.

His new book is The Network State: How To Start a New Country. You can also read it for free at

Please enjoy!

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The transcript of this episode can be found here. Transcripts of all episodes can be found here.

#606: Balaji S. Srinivasan — The Network State and How to Start a New Country

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Want to hear Balaji’s last time on the podcast? Listen to our conversation here, in which we discussed “real” journalism, DeFi risks and rewards, potholes on the road to a utopian decentralized world, transhumanism versus anarcho-primitivism, Bitcoin versus gold, the problems with a 51-percent democracy, angel investing in the twenty-first century, COVID lessons learned, and much more.

#547: Balaji Srinivasan — Centralized China vs Decentralized World, The DeFi Matrix, Ascending vs Descending Trends, Bitcoin Mining as Energy Storage, Reputational Civil War, and Maximalism vs. Optimalism

What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.



  • Connect with Balaji S. Srinivasan:

Website | Twitter |


Note from the editor: Timestamps will be added shortly.

  • The current state of crypto and overall markets
  • Market depth and the Overton window
  • The challenges of identifying possible trends
  • Does transhumanism need rebranding?
  • Augmented reality glasses: the next big thing?
  • Rethinking Icarus from a transhumanist, pro-innovation perspective
  • DALL-E 2 as a compact programming language
  • Peter Turchin and cliodynamics
  • What is a network state?
  • Humans like to fight over borders — even when they’re invisible
  • American anarchy
  • Bitcoin vs. gold as an inflation hedge
  • What needs to happen for Bitcoin to behave in the way Bitcoin holders would like it to behave?
  • Society as a service: how the establishment of a network state could succeed — without devolving into a cult
  • Chinese control
  • Missionary over mercenary; innovation over top-down control
  • India’s upward trends
  • Establishment disdain for tech interlopers (and the feeling is mutual)
  • Parting thoughts


“The worst thing to do is buy an asset when it’s in the news and sell it when it’s in the news.”
— Balaji Srinivasan

“Super soldier serum is real.”
— Balaji Srinivasan

“The Wright Brothers were right. Icarus is a myth.”
— Balaji Srinivasan

“A network state is a social network with a moral innovation, a sense of national consciousness, a recognized founder, a capacity for collective action, an in-person level of stability, an integrated cryptocurrency, an archipelago of crowdfunded physical territories, a virtual capital, and an on-chain census that proves a large enough population income and real estate footprint to attain a measure of diplomatic recognition.”
— Balaji Srinivasan

“Democrats will only marry Democrats to a higher percentage and Republicans are tending to only want to marry other Republicans. That has been growing. The thing is that you iterate that out one generation and what happens? That becomes ethnicity. Ideology becomes biology.”
— Balaji Srinivasan

“They see a border, they fight over it. And you can see, for example, the Franco-German border between France and Germany. The border you can’t see is the border between Twitter and Facebook.”
— Balaji Srinivasan

“Only those assets that can’t be frozen or seized are your assets. And Bitcoin has a root system that extends way outside the United States to hundreds of millions of people around the world [who] value it. And that is not the case for your frozen assets on a stock exchange, for your valueless dollars.”
— Balaji Srinivasan

“If, in the 2010s, social media became what all politics is about, by the end of the 2020s, cryptocurrency becomes what all politics is about. You will not be able to fund your government without it.”
— Balaji Srinivasan


The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 700 million downloads. It has been selected for “Best of Apple Podcasts” three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it’s been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.

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