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Over the past 30 years, researchers and technologists around the world have worked on building new platforms for hosting laws and contracts, what could be described as virtual states, that could replace the nation-state and be the foundation for the next legal system, on top of which AI, automated industries, and space colonization will evolve.

Virtual states, by using computers and the capacities that computers have to extend the human brain, are vastly superior to nation-states in terms of processing capacity, memory, security, and will enable all sorts of new laws to be processed.

The nation-state has in the past centuries undergone a number of upgrades which have advanced the concept of rule-of-law. With universal suffrage, a larger part of the will of the people could inform the law, which led to social reforms and the decline of forced marriage, establishing legal equality between spouses in family law.

With virtual states, rule of law will continue to advance. Forced nationality has meant that minority voices have been excluded from informing the legal system, similar to how a lack of female voting rights limited the evolution of law, and one of the first reforms of the virtual state will be to replace forced nationality with P2P nationality.

Microsoft and ConsensSys are developing uPort, as in you-passport, an early version of a P2P nationality system, on top of Ethereum, an early version of a virtual state. Joseph Lubin, the founder of ConsenSys, said about uPort on a talk at Rice University that “You can leave your country with no possessions, and access your identity and your reputation across the border somewhere. This [uPort] technology will enable people in the developing world to bootstrap themselves into the new economy, and we believe that this technology is a better form of identity for people in the developed world because they will own all the elements of their identity, all the aspects of financial information or healthcare information that they can upload or authorize uploading of. “

Failed-states in the transition age, and using virtual states as a spring board

BITNATION Refugee Emergency Response (BRER) was founded in 2015, and has used what resources existed in the virtual state space, to package and give access to next-generation tools for those whose nation-states have collapsed into failed states. UNESCO and Netexplo joined in a celebration of that, and how the time has come for virtual states.

UNESCO, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, was formed in 1945 and is a specialized agency of the United Nations (UN) based in Paris. Its declared purpose is to contribute to peace and security by promoting international collaboration through educational, scientific, and cultural reforms in order to increase universal respect for justice, the rule of law, and human rights along with fundamental freedom.

With Bitcoin debit cards, packaged and distributed via BRER, the Bitcoin blockchain, an early form of virtual state, can be accessed from nation-state infrastructure such as ATMs or in stores, enabling people from failed states to bootstrap themselves into the new economy. BRER also distributed an early form of P2P nationality, built on the Horizon blockchain, to bootstrap P2P nations that can trade with, and also compete with, nation-states.

The resources provided by virtual states, even in these early days, can advance rule of law, and result in an evolution of law similar to that from the advent of universal suffrage, and develop into a form of “rule-of-law 2.0” which is better at recognizing human rights along with fundamental freedom, made possible by virtual states and P2P nationality.

Previous Netexplo nominees and winners include Twitter, Slack, AirBnB,Spotify, M-Pesa. This years winner: BITNATION.

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