Tech Billionaires Launch Fund to Create New Libertarian Societies

The Balaji Fund, backed by Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong and other wealthy tech players, aims to fund “Network States” free of overbearing regulations.
Tech Billionaires Launch Fund to Create New Libertarian Societies
Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong. Image: Bloomberg / Contributor via Getty Images

A new investment fund backed by Silicon Valley billionaires launched on Thursday with the goal of developing new libertarian societies dubbed “Network States” by investor Balaji Srinivasan, the fund’s founder and public face.

Srinivasan—who is not a billionaire himself—announced the Balaji Fund in a post on X, saying he would invest his own money into the venture but that it had backing from tech heavyweights  such as billionaire Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong, AngelList co-founder Naval Ravikant, and venture capitalist Fred Wilson, a Coinbase board member who sold his shares in the company for $1.8 billion after it went public in 2021. The connections to crypto are strong among the group, with Srinivasan himself having previously served as Coinbase’s Chief Technology Officer. 


“I'll be seed investing in every promising company. Especially startup societies & network states,” Srinivasan said in his announcement. He added in a follow-up post that “many have asked how they can help build network states. So, this is one way to help.”

Powerful individuals in tech such as Peter Thiel have dabbled with founding parallel societies that are based on pro-tech, libertarian ideals in recent years. The Balaji Fund could inject a significant amount of new capital into these efforts. 

The idea of the Network State is a decade-long ideological project for Srinivasan. He has given numerous talks on the subject, published a free book online, and this year ran a conference in Amsterdam to push the idea forward. The basic idea is that the West has declined irrevocably, beginning with what Srinivisan calls the birth of the centralized state that disempowered wealthy industrialists with antitrust laws, securities regulation, central banking, and adversarial journalism. Now, the thinking goes, we’re on the backswing with wealthy individuals reclaiming their power over supposedly corrupt public institutions, and we have the internet and its currency—Bitcoin—to lead us out of the darkness.

“Bitcoin, if it wins, completely changes the world, because it changes the ability of centralized states to do what they’ve been doing,” Srinivisan said in a presentation delivered to a Bitcoin conference in Amsterdam in October. This is a belief that was at the heart of Bitcoin’s invention: that it is a parallel money system outside of the control of bureaucrats, its issuance instead being determined by code. 


The Bitcoin-based Network State will be based on “internet values” such as “open source” and “peer-to-peer,” Srinivasan has written. And while it might initially form online, the ultimate goal is to form communities in the real world and even found new cities complete with their own experimental versions of existing institutions run by private companies. 

Srinivasan has floated the car-free Culdesac private community in Tempe and the Peter Thiel-backed Próspera in Honduras as examples of currently-existing proto-Network States. 

“Suppose you found a new startup society like Culdesac on the basis of car-free living…which is an innovation in parallel transportation. You could import a parallel educational service (like Synthesis) to improve your K-12 education, or a parallel medical service (like Biograph) to complement your societal innovation in transportation,” Srinivasan wrote. 

We already have examples of how this looks in practice. For example, on Próspera, a U.S.-based startup is using the micronation’s regulatory carve-outs to run trials on experimental gene therapies, a practice which has raised alarm bells with some researchers operating in antiquated centralized states such as the United States of America. 

Armstrong did not respond to a request for comment on what he thinks of Srinivasan’s idea of the Network State and what characteristics he would want in one that he invests in.