Bitnation is the worlds first virtual nation, a protocol which you can fork “millions or billions of times, without ever creating one single geographical border”. Built into the blockchain, it fulfills the ancient cypherpunk prophesy of a libertarian state unleashed into the wilderness of the net. Bitnation offers technology for D.I.Y. governance based on open source systems, seeking to establish a ‘competitive market for governance’ that mirrors consumer choice. Bitnation establishes a context akin to an ‘opt-in’ society (“no one can force you to join or obey… your autonomy as an individual is respected above all.”). With the potential to endlessly rewrite the software and fork the code into a governmental system you can comfortably inhabit, autonomy and difference of civilians is respected and maintained. According to Jeffrey Tucker: “The prospect of decentralizing, privatizing and personalizing law is one of the brightest hopes of the crypto-technological shift. Bitnation is on the cutting edge of something that will shape our future in beautiful ways.”
I asked Susanne Tarkowski Tempelhof, founder of Bitnation, for some clarifications.
Does Bitnation hope to replace the nation state, or simply offer a viable alternative?
We hope to make the nation state irrelevant, through providing better, cheaper and more secure services. The nation state will fade away, regardless of Bitnation, because of globalisation at large (international communication, trade, transportation, etc) — the question is what replaces it? Right now, it seems like most nation states are aiming to replace it with an even more dystopian model – a UN style one-world government. Bitnation is an alternative to that – to the UN model which will inevitably lead to perpetual war because its ‘one-size-fits-all’ model of governance which assumes we are all fundamentally the same, and craves a homogenous world of shared values and culture. But we are not, we are beautifully different in every way. In contrast, we provide an open source model people can fork to create their own nations, honouring their own uniquely different cultures, lifestyles and codes of law.
Can Bitnation SpaceChain (Bitnation’s space exploration program) compete with government assisted organization such as NASA and SpaceX?
I believe in the power of the open source community. Take the open source operating system Linux for example, it’s one of the most frequently used technologies today (it’s on every Android device). Even if open source development might be slower initially, because it doesn’t solicit resources from traditional funding mechanisms, yet over time it has the potential for much greater exponential growth through swarm-like community engagement. So yes, I think there’s a chance Bitnation SpaceChain can compete with NASA and SpaceX in the long term, if Iman Mirbioki manages it well enough, and attracts the right type of individuals as contributors.
This is a very practical question. If I am a citizen of X virtual nation living in Y physical nation and the legal systems are incompatible, to whom am I accountable?
In the perspective of the state, you’re accountable to the state. In your dealings with individuals or groups, you’re accountable to those individuals or groups. Even in a very socialist society like Sweden for example, more than 50% of legal disputes are resolved in private courts, because public courts are simply too slow and inefficient to handle most issues. If you lend 50 Euros to a friend, your friend is accountable to pay you back. The only difference is where and how you choose to resolve that dispute.
In Bitnation where the individual is afforded ultimate consumer power, how are pressing international issues resolved such as resource distribution?
Through crowdfunding for-profit or non-profit initiatives. Look how non-governmental initiatives like MSF for example been identifying and addressing global issues. Often more successfully than Nation States and the UN. You can see an early experimental Bitnation led example of it here, powered by the consider.it application: https://bitnation.consider.it/.