a16z Podcast

Balaji Srinivasan on The Network State

Balaji Srinivasan and Steph Smith

Posted November 15, 2022

In this episode, we’ll explore the concept of The Network State with Balaji Srinivasan. As the world becomes more digital, it also becomes more distributed. This is obvious on the individual level – how you order goods, the way you chat with friends, and the news you consume… all from a handheld computer. It’s also becoming more obvious at the company level. The pandemic shook the world into remote work and many companies have decided that maybe work can be done in ways they never imagined. But what about the state – whatever that means? Could the network rival the state?

In this episode, we’ll explore what a nation state even is and how it may be challenged by a new Leviathan: the network. We also cover the difference between a nation and a state, how constants become variables, the cloud continent, digital power, your identity stack, calibrating risk, polycentric law, cloud regulations, building fast with atoms, founding vs inheriting, the powerful vs the powerless, and just about everything in between.

Show Notes

0:00 – Introduction

2:41 – Nation vs state

14:38 – Constants becoming variables

16:12 – The cloud continent

20:10 – The three leviathans

30:00 – Digital power

37:20 – The identity stack

53:22 – Cloud first, land last

55:49 – Diplomatic recognition

1:01:47 – Root access to land

1:06:35 – Calibrating risk as society

1:16:13 – Regulatory harmonization

1:28:15 – Polycentric law

1:34:49 – Building fast with atoms

1:38:57 – Looking to history

1:42:00 – Founding vs inheriting

1:50:46 – The one commandment

2:17:33 – The powerful vs powerless

2:28:46 – The competition for people

2:33:45 – Historical lines

2:42:23 – v3 of governance