Balaji Srinivasan on Bitcoin, The Great Awokening, Wolf Warrior Diplomacy, Open-Source Ecology, Reputational Civil War, Creating New Cities, and Options for Becoming a Sane but Sovereign Individual (#547)

Balaji Srinivasan on Bitcoin, The Great Awokening, Wolf Warrior Diplomacy, Open-Source Ecology, Reputational Civil War, Creating New Cities, and Options for Becoming a Sane but Sovereign Individual (#547)

Illustration via 99designs

“The monopoly of truth is upstream of the monopoly of violence.”

— 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.

To learn more about Balaji’s most recent project, sign up at, a newsletter that pays you. They’re giving out BTC each day for completing tasks and tutorials. Subscribers also receive chapters from Balaji’s free book, The Network State.

Please enjoy!

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, Podcast Addict, Pocket Casts, Stitcher, Castbox, Google Podcasts, Amazon Musicor on your favorite podcast platform. You can watch the interview on YouTube here.

Brought to you by Wealthfront automated investing, Eight Sleep’s Pod Pro Cover sleeping solution for dynamic cooling and heating, and BlockFi crypto platform. More on all three below.

#547: Balaji Srinivasan on Bitcoin, The Great Awokening, Wolf Warrior Diplomacy, Open-Source Ecology, Reputational Civil War, Creating New Cities, and Options for Becoming a Sane but Sovereign Individual

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


If this powerhouse episode leaves you thirsting for more, make sure to check out my first conversation with Balaji, in which we discussed the significance of 1729 as a “not boring” number, decentralizing the state of media, achieving financial independence, why “Balaji was right” might be the most terrifying phrase in the English language, a digital native solution to education that qualifies students to work as they go, the power of micro incentives, shifting establishment dynamics, life-extension and transhumanism, woke capital vs. communist capital vs. crypto capital, what a convince-oriented “crypto” government versus a coercion-focused fiat government might look like, the consequences governments trying to ban crypto face, and much (much!) more!

#506: Balaji Srinivasan on The Future of Bitcoin and Ethereum, How to Become Noncancelable, the Path to Personal Freedom and Wealth in a New World, the Changing Landscape of Warfare, and More

  • Connect with Balaji Srinivasan:

Website | Twitter |


  • Why Balaji believes the combination of administrations over the last three decades has blown the biggest lead in human history — and what this illustrates about the decline of state capacity. [07:22]
  • “Asia isn’t really the future, it’s present.”: The forces that guide Balaji’s current worldview, including a comparison of GDP in the East vs. the West over the past 40 years. [12:01]
  • Thoughts on China’s 2021 challenges to the cryptocurrency status quo. [15:24]
  • The Great Awokening, Wolf Warrior diplomacy, and the changing nature of change itself in China. [22:43]
  • “Will the US lose?”: What Balaji foresees as the ripple effects of China’s efforts to solidify its own centralization in a growingly decentralized world, and where India fits into such a world. [32:45]
  • OTC in crypto context and the energy considerations of cryptomining. [43:02]
  • Plausible things Balaji sees happening with crypto in India and the country’s role over the next couple of decades. [49:41]
  • A deeper dive into the woke capital (NYT), communist capital (CCP), and crypto capital (BTC) triangle and how they exercise their power. [51:13]
  • The Russell Conjugation and pondering the meaning of “real” journalism. [1:03:15]
  • Future projections of a Chinese control/American anarchy scenario and what it might look like if the US government tried to seize crypto in order to “protect” the dollar. [1:06:49]
  • Why DeFi (decentralized finance) is able to offer interest rates that make traditional finance laughable, but also how risky it can be. [1:13:07]
  • How cryptocurrency solves the principal-agent problem. [1:15:13]
  • On automation and eliminating human error. [1:21:09]
  • Reluctant sovereignty, the tendency of civilizations to collapse, and other potholes on the road to a utopian decentralized world. [1:29:14]
  • Transhumanism versus anarcho-primitivism and the unbundling and rebundling of society in the Bitcoin Reformation and beyond. [1:41:49]
  • How Balaji sees the counter-decentralization going down differently in China and the US. [1:55:03]
  • What Balaji foresees from the regulatory state’s inevitable collision with crypto. [2:01:26]
  • If Balaji had to live in the United States, what states would be given top consideration, and why? In his estimation, what makes some states more “free” than others? [2:06:33]
  • “Governments aren’t households.” But maybe they can be subscription or inflation models. [2:12:14]
  • What is the DeFi Matrix? [2:27:51]
  • What is NIMBY-YIMBY? [2:34:10]
  • What the current powers that be stand to lose by overregulation. [2:46:15]
  • How a flat coin would work. [2:52:47]
  • Bitcoin: better than gold? [2:55:00]
  • American anarchy, political actors, tensegrity, and San Francisco as a descending world city. [2:57:42]
  • One important lesson learned from COVID: a lot of us don’t have to live where we work anymore — especially if we don’t like it. [3:05:07]
  • The problems with a 51 percent democracy, how the conditions for victory in a modern cold civil war differ from those of 1865. [3:07:24]
  • The coming conflict: centralization versus decentralization. [3:13:13]
  • Has Balaji always said RTed instead of retweeted? [3:20:54]
  • BTC or ETH? [3:21:11]
  • What is the Cantillon Effect? [3:25:26]
  • How do we ensure that the future is governed not by crypto-anarchy, but crypto-civilization? [3:32:49]
  • Where Balaji stands on the idea of secession in a less United States. [3:35:24]
  • Big tech companies in the US on which Balaji is most bullish [3:38:11]
  • On cryptography becoming the new hard truth over once-trusted journalism. [3:40:52]
  • On block explorers as the stealth threat to search. [3:47:16]
  • Why Balaji believes blockchain will make everything more secure in spite of the hacks we’re seeing today. [3:49:28]
  • Social engineering in the anarcho-tyrannical state. [3:53:57]
  • Lawful evil China vs. chaotic evil United States. [3:57:50]
  • On “tech bros” in politics and the unfairness of judicial discretion. [4:00:26]
  • An AUKUS among us and current geopolitical power shifts going on in real-time. [4:04:19]
  • Balaji’s thoughts on angel investing in this part of the 21st century. [4:16:38]
  • The current state of 1729. [4:23:59]
  • Parting thoughts. [4:26:34]


“The monopoly of truth is upstream of the monopoly of violence.”
— Balaji Srinivasan

“Cryptography is hard truth, and corporate journalism has lost control over hard truth.”
— Balaji Srinivasan

“Block explorers are actually the stealth threat to search.”
— Balaji Srinivasan

“Right now we sort of think of companies, currencies, cities, countries, communities as being different things, but they’re all going to become the same thing.”
— Balaji Srinivasan

“The two business models of states in the future will be subscription and inflation.”
— Balaji Srinivasan


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