The constitution is meant to be a general framework that grows organically over time through contributions from citizens.
This poem was found on the BITNATION forum a few weeks after BITNATION was created. It was posted anonymously. A few minor revisions have been made from the original poem, which we've integrated as the framework for our constitution.
These 10 lines (each corresponding to an article) were preserved on the Ethereum blockchain in January 2016 during the creation of our Decentralized Borderless Voluntary Nation (DBVN) contract. The articles are intentionally broad because they’ll live forever on the blockchain. However, we can continuously update the interpretation of what the articles mean, and how to implement them. Below, there's a list of links for further reading and additional resources.
To contribute to the content of one of the articles, open an issue, or do a pull request.
We are BITNATION.
We are the Birth of a New Virtual Nation.
We are a Future for Our World and Humanity.
We are Sentinels, Universal and Inalienable.
We are Creativity and Visionary.
We are Rights and Freedoms.
We are Tolerant and Accepting.
We are Polity and Entity.
We are Privacy and Security.
We are Openness and Transparency.
We are a Dream and a Reality.
We are BITNATION.
Article 1: We are BITNATION.
We are the world’s first Decentralized Borderless Voluntary Nation (DBVN), a Decentralised Jurisdiction.
We define a nation as:
1.1 A Community
A group of Citizens who voluntarily cooperate to provide that which they lack or desire for a dignified life when living singly, and who have become aware of their political autonomy and wish to reclaim their sovereignty from those who have dispossessed them without consent.
1.2 Governance Services
Cooperative arrangements to ensure our peace and preservation, such as mutual security for the protection of our lives and property, peer-to-peer jurisdiction for resolving disputes, incentives for keeping our solemn promises and mutual arrangements for insuring ourselves against ill health, material losses, economic distress and other forms of calamity.
1.3 Definition of a Decentralized Borderless Voluntary Nation (DBVN)
Decentralized: Decentralization is the process of redistributing or dispersing functions, powers, people or things away from a central location or authority. In the realm of a DBVN, decentralization translates into both technological and human decentralization - through striving for P2P (Peer-to-Peer) technology, modular interfaces, API (Applications Programming Interface) layers, and forkable (duplicated) code. This means that every user can become its own node and transform the platform to their own liking. Decentralization also benefits from not having any single point of failure in the event of an attack. Human nodes should be able to reorganize themselves in resilient nodes no matter what part of the network comes under attack - be it human or other technological factors. In practice, this means that various clusters, regional or otherwise, are entirely autonomous.
Borderless: DBVN’s do not limit their services to any specific geographical area, ethnicity or other categories of populations. They have no borders or ports of entry: no land boundaries, airports, coastlines, or seaports. DBVN’s provide services to all areas, regardless of where it is located. Some would claim that a DBVN is ‘virtual’ by design. Although virtual-by-design is an intuitive assumption, it does not have to be based entirely in the virtual world, nor its services.
Voluntary: DBVN’s do not use force, fraud, or coercion, nor subject their citizens to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery. Due to the fact that DBVN’s are voluntary in nature, they are inherently free of persecution, intimidation, reprisals, and other forms of systematic violence. DBVN’s compete in a free market where customers, the “citizens” of the platform, voluntarily choose which DBVN’s they want to use-- including the option of using several DBVN’s, or none at all, or if they so choose to create their own DBVN.
Nation: A nation is a large group of people who share a common language, culture, ethnicity, descent, or history. In the case of DBVN’s it is likely that people would be as connected through mutual interests and goals as they would more traditional commonalities such as culture and language. A nation is a voluntary formation rather than a governing entity (i.e. a state). We provide the tools for governance but do not impose them, nor do we impose any specific code of law or regulations.”
Article 2: We are the Birth of a New Virtual Nation.
BITNATION uses a system of governance we call Liquid Holacracy, based on the philosophy outlined in Arthur Koestler's The Ghost in the Machine. A Holon is defined as "something that is simultaneously a whole and a part", and mimics the way swarm like systems emerge in nature, a fluid organisation of individuals which can act together or apart. BITNATION has upgraded the initial implementation of Holacracy into Liquid Holacracy, to increase the speed and autonomy of our decision making process, and the agency of Citizens and Holons.
BITNATION's governance system applies to individuals and entities:
- The Citizen
- The Decentralised Borderless Voluntary Nation (DBVN)
- The Holon
- The Genesis Holon
- The Core Contributor
- The Fractal Holon
- The Ambassador
- The Embassy or Consulate
- The Port
A human or posthuman who subscribes to the vision, philosophy, rules and aims of a DBVN (typically, articulated through the constitution of a DBVN) and voluntarily joins the DBVN as a Citizen, to benefit from the fellowship and governance services the DBVN offers.
A Decentralized Borderless Voluntary Nation (established in article 1.3)
Holons are self-actualized and self-contained parts of the DBVN, each with a distinct purpose coherent with the DBVN's vision, philosophy, rules and aims, and with various degrees of autonomy, at various times. Any Citizen can establish a holon, for their profit or to profit their peers, without requirement for approval or licence by the DBVN. Citizens can both propose and set-up new Holons, and can choose to finance or work for Holons proposed and established by others. Holons can benefit from DBVN resources and infrastructure.
2.4 Genesis Holon
The First Holon and origin of a DBVN - which will become a chain of human and posthuman Holons. The DBVN branches from the Genesis Holon in the same way that a Genesis Block births a blockchain. Although membership of the Genesis Holon can be subject change, changes are designed to have an inherent slowness built-in, in order to ensure long-term stability and continuity. Members of the Genesis Holon are the Guardians of the DBVN. Often synonymous with The Core.
2.5 Core Contributors
Citizens who contribute significantly to Core functions of the DBVN (such as creating technology, building and supporting community, financing and providing governance services) at certain points in time. Typically, a Core Contribution is reflected as a variable stake in the DBVN multisignature decision making mechanism, so that Citizens who provide work and resources to the DBVN have a proportionate say in decisions concerning governance and infrastructure.
2.6 A Fractal Holon
A Citizen or a small group of Citizens working on a specific project with some degree of proximity to but not necessarily within a DBVN or Holon.
The Ambassador and Embassy networks were conceived as analogue versions of Pangea. A real world network of people and places where digital nomads can get advice, peer-to-peer assistance, meet-up and hang out. There are three types of BITNATION representatives:
- Diplomatic Ambassadors: Official BITNATION positions to perform duties as Officers working as our interface with existing Nations, as well as new virtual Nations.
- Diplomatic Consuls: Also an Official position. A support to both our Ambassadors and to Nation State embassies and consulates engaging with our Citizens in the location of our Embassies and Consulates.
- Goodwill Ambassadors: Informal but officially recognised representative of BITNATION during events (such as DEVCONs). Promotes and supports BITNATION and our services and provides a point of contact for our Citizens.
2.8 Embassy or Consulate
Embassies and Consulates are where Citizens share their space, whether it’s an office, coffee shop or your home, and open it up for fellow citizens, hackers and crypto aficionados around the world! There are two types of places, Embassies and Consulates.
- Embassy A place where you can both live, and work (and naturally, meet).
- Consulate A place where you can work – like a shared office space or cafe, for instance – or maybe organise a meetup or a hangout.
Amsterdam, Venice and Hong Kong were constructed as ports to trade between Europe and new worlds Europeans entered from the 14th to 19th centuries. BITNATION Ports are entities incorporated in nation-state jurisdictions to build diplomatic and trading relationship between a new world of DBVNs and legacy nation states.
Modeled on Vinay Gupta's idea that Dubai could become a future port, where ideas are imported from the domain of potential into the domain of reality, and then exported to the rest of the world, administrative entities, such as for-profit or nonprofit companies or foundations in different Nation State jurisdictions will interact with legacy systems such as banks and governments on behalf of BITNATION or other DBVNs.
Article 3: We are a Future for Our World and Humanity.
We will prevent perpetual war by empowering a world of voluntary nations to compete for Citizens by offering more and better governance services. Violence has been the inevitable outocme of attempting to impose a one-size-fits-all governance model through the use of force. We are creating precedents for a beautiful universe of where millions of entities bloom, one for each and every lack and desire.
State Sovereignty is no longer compatible with our ever more interconnected lives. Governance 1.0 is more often than not the source of grievances, conflicts and war. Increasingly the Nation State oligopoly represents a global geographical apartheid. Ethics aside, State Sovereignty is also impractical. It both fails to adequately address our local needs and our global challenges. So far the only alternative to State Sovereignty that has been actively explored is multilateral governance, where Nation States pool their sovereignty to minimise competition through institutions such as the United Nations and European Union. But this model reduces rather than enhances Citizen sovereignty, and therefore the choices they can make about the governance services they receive.
To outcompete Westphalian sovereignty we need to provide a credible alternative to the nation state’s core function - its raison d’etre - the provision of security and jurisdiction. The only way to outcompete nation states is by providing better, more secure, faster, cheaper and peer-to-peer alternatives for these services. In other words, the global Westphalian oligopoly needs competition from decentralised, borderless and voluntary (opt-in) governance services. Through this process the nation state will fade away as it becomes increasingly irrelevant to ensuring our peace and protection.
BINATION's, and our software Pangea’s, Raison D'etre is Jurisdiction as a Service (JaaS). Decentralised arbitration paves the way for humanity to reclaim personal sovereignty and return to peer-to-peer transactions. Pangea increases individual autonomy and enhances collective governance service delivery by leveraging existing decentralized encryption tools and technologies.
Article 4: We are Sentinels, Universal and Inalienable.
4.1 We are All Born Sovereign Citizens of the World, and our Personal Sovereignty is Universal and Inalienable.
Although we refuse to allow any government or individual to take our sovereignty without our consent, nor accept any universal agreement amongst ourselves on how we should, or should not, live our lives, we still seek cooperation with one another. Because we cannot provide for ourselves alone sufficient for a fulfilled and dignified life, we cooperate with others to supply that which we lack or desire when living singly and solely by ourselves. Yet we all remain sovereign, and if our cooperation with others ceases to fulfill that which we lack or desire, we will choose to exit our cooperation and expect no prejudice nor constraint.
4.2 We Must All be Restrained from Invading Others Personal Sovereignty, and From Harming One Another, to Ensure the Peace and Preservation of All Humankind.
All Citizens are sentinels of our personal sovereignty, and everyone can defend their sovereignty to such a degree as may hinder violation and thereby preserve freedom and restrain tyranny. And if any one of us may defend against another for violating our personal sovereignty, every one of us may also do so: for in a state of universal sovereignty, where there is no jurisdiction of one over another, what anyone may do in protection of their sovereignty, every Citizen must also be free to do.
Thus one Citizen may gain power over another: but not absolute or arbitrary power, and only to protect themselves against intrusions on their sovereignty, so far as calm reason and conscience dictate, and proportionate to the transgression - which is precisely as much as may cause restraint and reparation of loss. These two are the only reasons when we may do harm to another, which is that we call defence. In transgressing the sovereignty of individuals, the coercer declares that they live by another canon than that of reason and universal, inalienable sovereignty and mutual security, and so becomes a danger to Citizens. And in that case, and upon these grounds alone, every Citizen is free to defend against those who transgress their sovereignty and seek reparations for any losses they may suffer.
Article 5: We are Creativity and Visionary.
In our world, problems are mere obstacles, interesting challenges to be solved through the ingenuity of humans and machines working together. We do not dwell on negativity, rather we work together to find mutually beneficial creative solutions, to be radically innovative.
Any Citizen can submit a proposal for a local or global governance initiative, fund any proposal of their liking, and debate and vote on any and all proposals. We believe that if you open the floodgates, the wealth of creativity that comes from participation, from experts and enthusiasts alike, will results in ideas an initiative never before imaginable to solve some of the world's greatest problems, and will provide participants with the motivation and agency to carry them out.
Article 6: We are Rights and Freedoms.
Every citizen is sovereign, and has the right to self determination and is at liberty to choose any form of expression or way to be human or posthuman and with whom to associate and cooperate.
Yet being all sovereign, and that sovereignty being universal and inalienable, no Citizen should harm another human or posthuman's life, health, liberty, or possessions.
Therefore, in the spirit of John Locke and his successors, we honour the non-aggression principle and we are united against any and all forms of coercion, whether through violence or the implied threat of violence.
There is no place for coercion in the world we are creating, which is founded on voluntary agreements between consenting Citizens and entities.
6.1 Rules and Law
Law is a system of rules created and incentivised to ensure our peace and protection when cooperating with others. Codes of Law are systems of Laws that cover most aspects of human and posthuman cooperation. As sovereign individuals, we choose and make rules, Laws and Codes of Law voluntarily, to agree solely on how we intend to cooperate with others.
We are sovereign individuals, and as such we practice Polylegal Law. All Citizens are free to voluntarily choose the rules, Laws or Codes of Law when making agreements to cooperate with others, whether those be existing Laws or Codes of Laws, such as Common Law, Sharia Law, Civil Law or Pashtunwali, or rules, Laws or Codes of Law of their own making.
Rules, Laws and Codes of Law can be referred to for manual execution, or hard-coded directly into smart contracts for automated execution.
Rules, Laws and Codes of Law acquire a reputation, based on Citizen satisfaction with their performance in maintaining their peace and protection when cooperating with others. Citizens who assign reputation to rules, Laws and Codes of Law will also acquire a reputation for their honest interpretation of the performance of these instruments.
No Citizen is subject to the jurisdiction of another. We choose rules, Laws and Codes of Law voluntarily when making agreements to cooperate with others. Therefore rules, Laws and Codes of Law compete for our indulgence on a free market, and Citizens can choose which specific rule, Law or Code of Law is best suited for making each solemn agreement to cooperate with others. Choices can be based on each Citizen's circumstances, beliefs, preferences, the nature of the intended cooperation, and the rule, Law or Code of Law's reputation for ensuring Citizen's peace and protection.
Article 7: We are Tolerant and Accepting.
We respect and accept each others many and various identities, including our places of origin, ethnicity, religion, cultures, political and economic convictions, forms of expression and ways of being human or posthuman, even if we may not wish to hold those identities ourselves. In our DBVN, everyone who wishes to make the world a better place by furthering voluntary agreements, is welcome to be a Citizen of our Nation. Yet tolerance is not a concession or indulgence, and tolerance cannot be used to justify violations of the universal and inalienable state of personal sovereignty, nor failure to uphold the solemn agreements we make with one another.
Although we agree to disagree, and to tolerate and accept those we disagree with, we commit to honouring any solemn agreements we enter into to cooperate with one another and to resolving disputes over cooperation peacefully and to the rules, Laws and Codes of Law under which we made those solemn agreements, despite our differences. We know that Citizens will disagree, and we embrace disagreement, but not the coercive settlement of disputes that arise from those disagreements. When disputes arise, we believe in voluntary peer-to-peer arbitration and the creation of incentives for the peaceful resolution of disagreements and restitution of losses and to ensure the honouring of our solemn promises under the rules, Laws and Codes of Law that we have chosen to regulate those agreements.
Article 8: We are Polity and Entity.
We have become aware of our personal sovereignty and political autonomy. We are no longer willing to be oppressed by the coercive nation-state oligopoly. We live on Earth and in Cyberspace, and we cooperate together, to achieve freedom, peace and protection.
Self-Determination is an inalienable canon of International Law, according to The Principle of Equal Rights and Self-determination of Peoples & Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties 1969, Preamble & Art 53.. Even though we recognise the nation-state oligopoly has been making ever greater exceptions to this Law since 1989, we reaffirm that self-determination is the only raison d’etre for a nation - without this principle, there is no will to cooperate and thus no nation. Our Citizens have this will, and exercise self-determination.
Free will, or the freedom to choose, is the basis on which we form any variation of human or post human cooperation. Just as a solemn agreement expresses the will of a Citizen to cooperate with another, this Constitution expresses the collective will of our Citizens to cooperate together. BITNATION is our Nation, our Polity and our Entity.
BITNATION is the world’s first decentralised virtual nation, and as such, we will exercise our self-determination by seeking solemn agreements to cooperate with other Nations. Our Ambassador Network, currently Goodwill in nature, will transition towards one which fosters formal agreements to ensure peaceful cooperation with other Nations, as well as preserving the peace and protection of our Citizens, wherever they may reside or visit.
Article 9: We are Privacy and Security.
We will not sell or wittingly share any data we hold on our Citizens or customers with any other entity, under any circumstances. We strive for decentralised technology, encryption, and pseudo-anonymity.
Once our Pangea Jurisdiction is fully enabled:
- Our software will be completely decentralised. There will be no central point of failure
- All communication and data storage will be decentralised and end-to-end encrypted..
- Our encryption algorithms will be maintained and updated to be resistant against emergent threats such as quantum computing.
- We will not store any Citizens data or keys on centralized servers. Citizens will have complete control over access to their own data, keys, files, records, identity documents, contracts and communications.
- Identities created on Pangea are pseudo-anonymous, no biometric data will be required or collected to create a Citizen identity.
This is our aim and purpose.
Article 10: We are Openness and Transparency.
Everyone is welcome to become a Citizen. Everything we do is open to public scrutiny.
All of our code, and materials are open source (under the MIT License), and are open for public review and audit on GitHub. All of our work can be reviewed on our Slack channel and Trello board, and in the future on Pangea. Anyone is welcome to join us as a Citizen or contributor and help us build the DBVN ecosystem.
Article 10.1 Communications Protocol
Clarity above all. Understanding the challenges of communicating across different timezones, culture and personalities both during written and verbal communications. It’s advisable to avoid sweeping statements in favor of clearly articulated sentences with well defined purposes.
Refrain from jumping to conclusions A fundamental problem in many conversations is that we overestimate others capacity to understand our written and verbal communications, and we overestimate our own capacity to understand what they’re trying to communicate. When analyzing what the other person is trying to communicate, take their context into account, including things like timezone, native language, and personal circumstances.
Respectfulness. We have come together to change the status quo through creating kickass software, to that end being disrespectful can divert the conversation from our set purpose into irrelevant areas.Personal slights and attacks does not foster a good collaborative space, it s wise to avoid them. When we are emotionally affected by communications, attempt to take a step backwards and swallow the chill pill. Emotional or aggressive responses can disrupt healthy communications and waste valuable time and energy better deployed to achieve the goals of the discussion.
Article 11: We are a Dream and a Reality.
Some might think of us as radical outliers, as extremists on the fringes of society, a bunch of weirdos. Think again. We come from all generations and social strata. We are students, teachers, doctors, engineers, lawyers, soldiers, traders, farmers, entrepreneurs, and home makers, even politicians and diplomats. We are your neighbours, your co-workers, your drinking buddies. We are both youth and experience. We are all that makes up the fabric of the societies we live in. We are one of you, but the ones that have become aware of our political autonomy and wish to reclaim our personal sovereignty. And we toil, every single day, to build a world without fear of coercion, where everyone is at liberty to be whosover they wish, and to choose whichever governance services they desire. Piece by piece, we build our infrastructure, one line of code, one meetup, one piece of documentation at the time. Together, we are laying the foundations for a world in which we can be self-sovereign in peace and preservation.
Article 12: We are BITNATION.
We are sovereign. We are together. We are the future.
Pangea Jurisdiction Whitepaper, Published July 2017
Create Your Own DBVN Guide Published July 2016
An evolutionary Nomic structure for digital rule making in BITNATION, Published Feburary 7 2016
BITNATION Whitepaper, Published October 10 2014
BITNATION Foundational Document, Published July 14 2014
OPSEC Guidelines, Published July 19 2017
Holocracy.One Constitution By Brian J. Robertson
A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace
by John Perry Barlow
Governments of the Industrial World, you weary giants of flesh and steel, I come from Cyberspace, the new home of Mind. On behalf of the future, I ask you of the past to leave us alone. You are not welcome among us. You have no sovereignty where we gather.
We have no elected government, nor are we likely to have one, so I address you with no greater authority than that with which liberty itself always speaks. I declare the global social space we are building to be naturally independent of the tyrannies you seek to impose on us. You have no moral right to rule us nor do you possess any methods of enforcement we have true reason to fear.
Governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed. You have neither solicited nor received ours. We did not invite you. You do not know us, nor do you know our world. Cyberspace does not lie within your borders. Do not think that you can build it, as though it were a public construction project. You cannot. It is an act of nature and it grows itself through our collective actions.
You have not engaged in our great and gathering conversation, nor did you create the wealth of our marketplaces. You do not know our culture, our ethics, or the unwritten codes that already provide our society more order than could be obtained by any of your impositions.
You claim there are problems among us that you need to solve. You use this claim as an excuse to invade our precincts. Many of these problems don't exist. Where there are real conflicts, where there are wrongs, we will identify them and address them by our means. We are forming our own Social Contract. This governance will arise according to the conditions of our world, not yours. Our world is different.
Cyberspace consists of transactions, relationships, and thought itself, arrayed like a standing wave in the web of our communications. Ours is a world that is both everywhere and nowhere, but it is not where bodies live.
We are creating a world that all may enter without privilege or prejudice accorded by race, economic power, military force, or station of birth.
We are creating a world where anyone, anywhere may express his or her beliefs, no matter how singular, without fear of being coerced into silence or conformity.
Your legal concepts of property, expression, identity, movement, and context do not apply to us. They are all based on matter, and there is no matter here.
Our identities have no bodies, so, unlike you, we cannot obtain order by physical coercion. We believe that from ethics, enlightened self-interest, and the commonweal, our governance will emerge. Our identities may be distributed across many of your jurisdictions. The only law that all our constituent cultures would generally recognize is the Golden Rule. We hope we will be able to build our particular solutions on that basis. But we cannot accept the solutions you are attempting to impose.
In the United States, you have today created a law, the Telecommunications Reform Act, which repudiates your own Constitution and insults the dreams of Jefferson, Washington, Mill, Madison, DeToqueville, and Brandeis. These dreams must now be born anew in us.
You are terrified of your own children, since they are natives in a world where you will always be immigrants. Because you fear them, you entrust your bureaucracies with the parental responsibilities you are too cowardly to confront yourselves. In our world, all the sentiments and expressions of humanity, from the debasing to the angelic, are parts of a seamless whole, the global conversation of bits. We cannot separate the air that chokes from the air upon which wings beat.
In China, Germany, France, Russia, Singapore, Italy and the United States, you are trying to ward off the virus of liberty by erecting guard posts at the frontiers of Cyberspace. These may keep out the contagion for a small time, but they will not work in a world that will soon be blanketed in bit-bearing media.
Your increasingly obsolete information industries would perpetuate themselves by proposing laws, in America and elsewhere, that claim to own speech itself throughout the world. These laws would declare ideas to be another industrial product, no more noble than pig iron. In our world, whatever the human mind may create can be reproduced and distributed infinitely at no cost. The global conveyance of thought no longer requires your factories to accomplish.
These increasingly hostile and colonial measures place us in the same position as those previous lovers of freedom and self-determination who had to reject the authorities of distant, uninformed powers. We must declare our virtual selves immune to your sovereignty, even as we continue to consent to your rule over our bodies. We will spread ourselves across the Planet so that no one can arrest our thoughts.
We will create a civilization of the Mind in Cyberspace. May it be more humane and fair than the world your governments have made before.
Davos, Switzerland February 8, 1996