To Network State or Not to Network State: Insights from ReFi DAO Forum

By Vladan Lausevic | CryptoVlad | 18 May 2024


In the rapidly evolving world of Web3 and crypto, one concept has ignited significant debate and discussion: the Network State. Introduced by Balaji Srinivasan in his book The Network State: How To Start a New Country, this idea has captured the imagination of many within the tech and entrepreneurial communities. Srinivasan, a controversial thinker, investor, and former CTO of Coinbase, proposes the creation of a new type of organization—a network state.


The Network State Concept

As envisioned by Srinivasan, a network state starts with forming highly aligned online communities centered around a strong shared proposition or "moral innovation." These communities then acquire land or "territory" in various locations, functioning more like a decentralized network than a traditional nation-state with contiguous land. The idea leverages digital platforms and technologies, akin to how cryptocurrencies gained recognition through increased use and market capitalization before achieving societal significance.


Srinivasan argues that network states are feasible today, thanks to existing internet and Web3 technologies. These technologies enable the building of large online communities, the creation of digital currencies, and the development of comprehensive global governance and coordination systems. However, the concept has sparked widespread debate due to its radical departure from traditional statehood and nation-building, raising questions about its practicality, recognition, and broader implications.


ReFi DAO's Vision for a Network State

In February 2023, ReFi DAO announced its vision for a network state as a vehicle for planetary regeneration. This model envisions a globally dispersed but deeply connected organization, taking the form of a decentralized network of local startup communities. The mission is to catalyze both inner and outer regeneration and pioneer a new paradigm.


ReFi DAO's idea stems from the observation that existing institutions—nation-states, corporations, and civil society—have consistently failed to address critical challenges such as climate change. The urgency for innovation across cultural, social, economic, and technological domains is clear. Driven by this realization, ReFi DAO aims to foster a global regenerative economy through a transformative network of mission-aligned local communities.


Despite its allure, the concept of a network state is controversial and has sparked a captivating ideological and political debate. Questions arise about what constitutes a network state, why it resonates with many, and the lurking dangers, concerns, risks, and critiques.


ReFi DAO Forum: Exploring the Network State

The ReFi DAO Forum has become a platform for discussing and refining the network state concept. Since 2021, ReFi DAO has cultivated an ecosystem of founders, investors, and a global online community. With significant online influence and a growing network of autonomous local communities, ReFi DAO seeks to transition to a community-first, community-led, and community-owned organization. This journey involves decentralizing wealth and voice across the network, ensuring inclusivity, dynamism, and enhanced collective capacity.


The Forum invites diverse stakeholders from Web3, distributed governance, organizational, and monetary policy sectors to shape ReFi DAO's vision and trajectory. Guided by principles from Holacracy, Sociocracy, Distributed Cooperatives (DisCO), and Deep Democracy, the Forum promotes open discussions, sense-making, and co-creation, fostering diversity, inclusivity, and creativity.


Merits and Concerns of Network States

Participants in the Forum have highlighted both the potential and concerns surrounding network states. Attractive aspects include voluntary participation, innovation in governance, collective empowerment, and environmental regeneration. Network states present opportunities for redefining state organization, fostering legal and regulatory innovation, and experimenting with alternative governance forms.


However, significant risks exist, such as exacerbating socio-economic inequalities, potential conflicts, legitimacy issues, and the philosophical underpinnings of the concept. Critics caution against the elitist, techno-libertarian aspects and emphasize the importance of community, inclusivity, and engagement over independence and diplomatic recognition.


Moving Forward: Coordi-Nations and Beyond

An alternative model to network states is the concept of "Coordi-nations," proposed by Primavera de Filippi and Josh from the Blockchain Socialist. Coordi-nations emphasize voluntary association, shared values, and mutualism, leveraging digital communities and modern technologies to address global challenges. Unlike network states, Coordi-nations focus on cooperation and integration rather than independence and territorial sovereignty.


ReFi DAO aims to reframe its vision away from the potentially problematic term "network state" towards more cooperative and inclusive terminologies like "Coordi-nation" or "network society." The organization seeks to build on its strengths by emphasizing community engagement, local-first approaches, and collaborative partnerships with existing nations and institutions.


In conclusion, the ReFi DAO Forum highlights the power of collective intelligence and shared passion in shaping the future of decentralized, regenerative systems. ReFi DAO aims to pioneer a new paradigm for a more sustainable and equitable world by engaging diverse perspectives and fostering robust discussions. The journey towards a regenerative economy continues, guided by the principles of inclusivity, innovation, and community-driven governance.

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Vladan Lausevic
Vladan Lausevic

Based in Stockholm, Sweden as a social entrepreneur. Working with decentralization of democracy, climate transformation and economy. For more info, please get in touch with me via [email protected]


Welcome to my blog about crypto in relation to global governance, democracy, climate transformation, media and social progress. For more details, please contact me via [email protected]

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