#23 Build Cities: A Protocol for Network States with Angelo Alessio
Philippe I.
Jackson Steger
Alison Burgess
October 30th, 2022

As groups design and construct their own Network States and cities, they require infrastructure to make their plans become reality. Build Cities aims to make that process simple by providing finance and governance tools. On this episode of Campfire, Jackson chats with Angelo Alessio, Founder and Protocol Architect of Build Cities to talk about his career path, Network States, what Build Cities is, and why their work is important.

Cabin is building our infrastructure for its own neighborhoods. See how we’re doing that in our litepaper. You’ll also get our email newsletter packed with Cabin news and ways to get involved with the community.

Topics Covered:

  • Introduction to Build Cities — (1:25)

  • Angelo’s Career Path — (2:25)

  • Introduction to the Network State— (6:36)

  • Build Protocol and Its Market — (9:54)

  • Tools for Network States — (14:00)

  • Build’s Roadmap — (15:59)

  • Future of Passports — (17:32)

  • Phase 2 of Build’s Roadmap — (19:57)

  • City Processes Moving On-Chain — (28:00)

  • The Sovereignty of Network States — (32:17)

Want to learn more about what new technologies are waiting to be released? Follow us on Twitter or join our Discord to find out what's in store for us and how we make use of Web3 in both digital and physical space. See you at the next Campfire 🏕️🔥.

Episode Links:

Build Cities on Twitter

Angelo on LinkedIn

Episode Credit:

Hosted by @JacksonSteger

Sound Engineering by @Prodcolin

Videos and Clips by @McdonnellCallum 

Produced by @PhilippeIze

Distribution by @Alisonclaire and @PhilippeIze


[00:00:00] Jackson Steger: Hi everyone. This is Jackson Steger, and you're listening to Season 2 of Campfire. Let's get it.

[00:00:11] This season of Campfire seeks to understand how to build new cities. Each week we are joined by experts and practitioners from different startup cities who will share the stories and lessons that they have learned from experimenting with radical new models of living. 

[00:00:24] Cabin is building its own network city of coliving neighborhoods. Our first location outside of Austin, Texas has one more spot left for November, and we'll open up our other neighborhoods for coliving soon. If you're interested in long-term coliving at beautiful locations with nature out the front door, high speed internet, actual campfires, and unlimited sauna use, you can join the waitlist today by visiting www.cabin.city. Also, let us know if there's a guest that you think we should have on the show. If you introduce us to a city builder and we book them, we'll reward you with Cabin's token. Today's guest is Angelo Alessio, Founder and CEO of Build Cities. 

[00:01:01] Build Cities is a protocol for Network States. We've touched on Network States a little bit in the past, and if this is a completely new term for you, I recommend visiting www.thenetworkstate.com. But I'll provide a simple definition, which is that a network state is the sequel to the nation state. It's a possible kind of future country that starts as an online community and eventually crowdfunds land that provides goods and services.

[00:01:25] Angelo's thesis at builds cities is that these aspiring network states, kind of like Cabin, will need certain tools and digital infrastructure in order to prosper and grow. So, in this episode, we'll talk about the roadmap for his product, which is brand new, it just launched last Thursday, and we go from Network States. All right, time to dive in. Let's get it. 

[00:01:46] Angelo Alessio, welcome to Campfire 

[00:01:49] Angelo Alessio: Jackson, thanks for having me. I really appreciate being on the show. Thanks again.

[00:01:53] Jackson Steger: Listeners just should know that I am currently recording this from Cabin's Neighborhood Zero, where we are currently building a bathhouse as we continue to add more bedrooms and more living space to the property. So, if you hear any hammering or concrete saws during this episode, that's why. 

[00:02:11] Angelo, I just want to start, before we get into build and all the awesome stuff you're doing at Build Cities and Build Republic, I want to just get a sense of you and what interests you in city building. What's the common thread that ties your career together, and what is it about new cities and network states and this whole space that we're in that attracts you?

[00:02:32] Angelo Alessio: Yeah, sure. And again, I actually hope we hear jackhammers and stuff in the background. I feel like that's the perfect permanent kind of background noise for a podcast like this, or anything in this space. Yeah, common thread, a little about me. I was born and raised in San Diego. I was in the army for four years, and then moved to New York about six years ago.

[00:02:53] And I think the kind of probably common thread that has emerged is that I have probably a borderline kind of ADD breadth of interest in just too many topics. And when I moved to New York, I realized I don't even know what a -startup was, but right away I think I found a colleague there because I think it was just fascinating that you could take any given interest in the world, and somebody out there is building a business off of it. So, I think that kind of real satiated my kind of just intellectual curiosity about all these different things that are out. 

[00:03:25] And then the second kind of theme I've noticed is that I think I do best making decisions off of incomplete data, which is I learned a lot about that from really the army and even times before that, and that it translated very nicely to startups as well. I think that's just the name of the game is like, hey, we have to execute one direction or the other, and we're getting more data points along the way to figure out what that path looks like. 

[00:03:49] So, I think that's a common thread that really led me into just being in startups. So, I worked at a YC startup as a product manager for an HR tech company that was basically doing paperless on, it's kind of like LinkedIn for hospitality workers. So, making it so they didn't have to fill out like 20 paper applications just to get a single place. So, that was cool. And then the second startup was Techstars, ones I’ve kind of seen both ecosystems there, led the first hire leading product and growth. 

[00:04:17] We built an AI chatbot to automatically negotiate bank fees and interest charges. So, things like overdrafts, insufficient funds. We literally just built a bot that automatically negotiated with banks to get that money back. We did and ended up scaling that from zero to like over 6 million refunds. We got acquired by a larger neobank February of last year, and that was a great kind of foray into startups. So, as far as career wise, like this is definitely the trajectory set I've been on. 

[00:04:47] And then what led me to Build today, we actually really just launched our first product, just yesterday actually, or publicly at least, and that was about 14 months after I wrote this kind of whitepaper kind of vision, which I think was a signal to bring in people and what is now our current founding team and contributors to bring this thing to life. So, it was just really cool to see that all come to life. 

[00:05:11] And I think, one, if I had to say like maybe like a third theme is like I'm very gravitated mainly to startups that have some kind of positive externality. So, both the HR tech one and the FinTech one I thought was a good mission to get behind. And I see some of the same things are at least motivated by a lot of the same kind of externalities, and the main one being basically like level playing field of talent and capital that can go to cities around the world, so that anybody can create and build new startups basically. 

[00:05:44] So, the innovation has kind of been moving away from Silicon Valley to places like Austin and Miami and New York. I'm thinking like, hey, let's go, let's break that open further. Let's go, you know, our co-founder is in Coeur d'Alene. We've got kind of some activity in Victoria, Texas, Lagos, Nigeria. Like we're seeing this activity form now, and it's just really invigorating. 

[00:06:03] Jackson Steger: Yeah, I think that having HR background from the talent side and then the cities are nothing without their people. And then also having the FinTech background like city thrives on a thriving economy. So, I feel like those are two really important components to inform any protocol building for a city. Cool. So then, to that end, I want to ask about what Build is. But before I do that, we haven't really talked about The Network State, Balaji’s book, too much on the show yet, and we will over time. But I would love just to get a sense of, to you, in your own words, what is the network state, recognizing that we haven't talked about it with the audience too much. And also why do you think we need new countries or new cities?

[00:06:47] Angelo Alessio: Yeah. So, great question. So, I'm going to default to the kind of the default network state definition that Balaji outlines in the book. I know it's a long one. I can't reverberate it exactly word for word, but outside of no kind of differentiation from there, I'll just default to that one as the table stakes. And then I guess why we need new countries, on this particular question, I just think the main thing is less maybe about the country per se and like the connotation of everything that carries, like sovereignty, the ability to exercise sovereignty and whatnot, and more just about the prerequisite to that is just completely new borderlines. I was just realizing today that new borderlines are being drawn by Multi-Sigs, right? So, DAO members who, you know, different spots around the world, like that's their borderline of that DAO, so to speak, and it’s we're now able to distribute capital and basically subsidize innovation in places all around the world in which that economic benefit can tie to different places that had no relationship whatsoever beforehand. 

[00:07:54] And I think that just, really just first of all just raises a question that I think a lot of people are still answering and thinking about and talking about, is like, what is a country, first of all, right? What do the borderlines represent, where do they stop, where do they, you know, like I think that's the primary, I don't want to use the word disruption, but just, yeah, literally just a question that now arises because of, I think a large part of it being to this new technology that we're all kind of working in. 

[00:08:25] Jackson Steger: Yeah, I was thinking on this question yesterday, right? I love the states and I certainly am not trying to abandon my U.S. citizenship. But I think a lot of countries, not just ours, are really divided, and they struggle to make everyone happy. We have different news sources. We live in echo chambers, just dwindling trusts and institutions, and just like democratic ideals of in the U.S. the Founding Fathers had another western constitution-based societies. These ideals that they held in such high esteem just because of a thousand different factors aren't necessarily being met all the time.

[00:08:59] And yet, despite all of that, like one of my core beliefs is that we have way more in common than not. We all love to eat and laugh and play games. And I think what Balaji writes too is just like this idea that you can have these highly aligned online communities that start as Cloud first and are land last and like just very exciting to imagine a world where me and 10,000 or a hundred thousand or a million others like me want to build a world camp that's bonded by the same set of values, which at Cabin is to colive with awesome, thoughtful people, it’s to create cool stuff, it's to conserve nature. And I think just a fresh start to inspire us generally to build something amazing and better and not bound by historical constraints. 

[00:09:46] And so, like with that as context, I would love for you to just understand, like what is Build and is it build protocol? Is it build citizenry? Is it build republic? Like how do you think about what Build is? And then, who is Build Protocol for? 

[00:10:02] Angelo Alessio: Yeah, great question. And just to caveat on everything you're mentioning, I think a testament to all the work that the CabinDAO is on, CityDAO, Kift, all these cool projects, you're 100 percent right, in that we're seeing that normalization, that I think was accelerated post-COVID, of like the ideological alignment of people meeting potentially online first on shared interest values, whatnot, and then translating those relationships offline. We've seen that in Build. I've made a lot of new great friends that I've seen in several spots around the world now, and I think that prerequisite is absolutely there. I just wanted to just second on that point that I think it makes a lot of sense. 

[00:10:40] And then… So, Build, what is Build? So, our one-liner, and it's gone through the ringer, but it's a protocol for startup cities. So, what that basically means is that we’re basically building an infrastructure layer for anyone or any community, or even group of communities, to basically incubate, develop, and kind of scale startup cities around the world. To put this kind of into context into what we just released yesterday, which is like our phase product release, is anybody can log in from any community. So, Cabin, CityDAO, whatever, they can, basically they select their top three networks. We're calling networks Discord servers because I think they are networks in a way. And then they select their top three cities basically. So, the ones that they're probably closest to, whether that be Austin or New York or whatnot.

[00:11:35] And then we show a map that basically overlays those networks in those existing cities. So, you start to get a Whitepages of, hey, here's all the CabinDAO folks in New York, and here's all the Kift folks in San Francisco, et cetera, et cetera. So, we have 50 to start, and that's the foundational layer of what we're looking to do to bridge or form that connective tissue between our Cloud lives or URL, or whatever you want to call it, with IRL Live.

[00:12:02] So, I think a lot of us are naturally meeting up in person, and this is all the running joke about Web3 being like an events industry and everything. It's because we want that, we want to get to that point, right? We found the ideological alignment. Now, let's build stuff, like let's build saunas, let's do these things together.

[00:12:18] And so, we're making that tool to accelerate that, or that's what exists today, as of yesterday, is that tool to start that process. So, to go into where we're then going with that is that as these city directories fill up, so I think New York already has things like 20 or 30 folks, we already have 200 networks in the product itself, and that was just the first 72 hours alone. The idea is that as those city chapters fill up, hey, now we have a group of both, so you can filter your own community or explore other ones. And the commonality is that everybody has a Discord or MetaMask implication being they're in crypto or Web3, and they want to meet each other. And if they're excited about the network state, hey, that’s where we can actually activate each city kind of chapter and basically make it its own DAO and bring it on chain. What we're looking to do is primarily crowdfund ventures and real estate in each one of those city chapters. 

[00:13:16] So, that's where we mean where we're saying we're basically being an infrastructure layer for existing communities or individuals to start startup cities. And I think Balaji mentions like there'll be hundreds of startup cities in probably hundreds of countries, right? There are thousands of them, but we want to be the infrastructure to make a lot of those.

[00:13:34] Jackson Steger: And so, to that point, making the infrastructure that startup societies that become network states need. And so, this is my third tech organization that I've worked closely with, and all of them, there's this very important early-stage focus on talking to potential customers and/or potential users and communities who want to use the product, and Balaji has this dashboard that tracks the number of different Network States. There's only 26 of those societies on there right now. What makes you confident that you're building the right tools for these organizations? What kind of conversations have you been having with perspective network states? And at Cabin, we certainly need a directory-type tool. I see why that would make sense. But curious how those conversations with prospective startup societies have been going. 

[00:14:24] Angelo Alessio: Yeah. And to be clear, I'm using those as references, but it can be something like if there's a Discord of, there's a keto example that always goes around like the keto community, they might not think that they're a startup society but maybe somebody in there wants to get it going. And so, one of the things is assume it's 10,000 keto Web3 aficionados. They can log in, they can use a directory, and they can start to see where their geographical footprint is around the world and basically accelerate that path to be like, hey, now we have all these folks in New York. It looks like there's 10 of them. Let's start doing meetups there. We can activate these things a little bit quicker. 

[00:15:00] So, a lot of the early days of this, it's been about 14 months. We actually did like a whole product cycle where we built a product that allowed you to stake physical real estate as co-working, but we realized that was going to be too transactional, and it wasn't getting at the Cloud first kind of community thing. So, I think a lot of what we've learned from talking to communities and just being in them is really the result of just probably too much time on Discord to see like how these communities communicate online, so that we can basically test what they want to do offline and we, meeting points, gatherings and actually owning physical property together, I think, is a great start. It's our thesis. It's still a thesis. So, I think we'll start to see the results pretty soon. It's just the short answer is just too much time in Discord probably. 

[00:15:47] Jackson Steger: Yeah. As I then look to the rest of your roadmap and start to think about what are the phases that happen later on, I am intrigued because a lot of the things on here, and I'll read them out. And so, for the audience, there's four phases to Build’s roadmap. There's phase one, which is build citizenry, which is what we're in right now. Phase two is build assets. Phase three, build cities. Phase four, build sovereignty. So, I kind of want to go through each one of these. But just to close out phase one, this sort of like earliest stage, you have a bullet point here for passport NFTs, and something we've talked about at Cabin and have prioritized and deprioritized and keep playing with. And I just personally am interested in passports. Historically, they're like, there are many things, a badge, a symbol, a birthright, a relief, a curse, like it’s extreme privilege or it's extreme stress, depending on the arbitrary birth process of like where you grow up or where you're born into. 

[00:16:43] And yeah. So, I was literally researching this today, but the League of Nation in 1920, so about a hundred years ago, basically creates like the first passport standard. Before that, the passport’s origin was diplomatic. It was like a written plea, gentleman's agreement between two neighboring countries. And then, yeah, now, in the last century, it's become this more standardized thing. And you've seen the development of biometric data. And some passports have these really cool black light features and holograms. And so, you can just see the technology of passports developing. And of course, with COVID, I'm sure that there's a piece to think about, like vaccine passport. 

[00:17:23] So, my question for you is not even really in the context of Build, but just because I'm going down this passports rabbit hole, like what's the future of passports, and especially as it connects to network states, but also just regular nation states too?

[00:17:37] Angelo Alessio: Yeah, that's a great question. As someone who's had my passport stolen in a country on the complete opposite side of the globe, I can definitely relate to everything you just said, and it was a nightmare trying to get out of that mess. But yeah, that's a great question. The first thing that comes to mind is probably if one major aspect of freedom is mobility. So, mobility to move around and be anywhere at any time, and work wherever you want, live wherever you want, marry whoever you, I think those are all the fundamental kind of, if you're viewing it as almost like a product for a customer, like those are the things as well that’s awesome to have. And I know there's a site, I can't remember the name, but it ranks all the passports by amount of mobility that you can basically, or how many other countries you can access. 

[00:18:24] Jackson Steger: The Passport Index. Yeah.

[00:18:26] Angelo Alessio: Yeah. Yeah. Thanks for them. Thanks for getting that out there because it's cool.

[00:18:30] So, like at a functional level, all of those things, and any variable or lever that you can influence on any given passport from any, just take existing countries today, that's huge, that's super powerful, right? And that opens up so many doors for people, for access to opportunities, et cetera, et cetera, that I think it's weighty, right?

[00:18:54] So, when I think about the future of passports, I definitely think of it as more of, hey, the ultimate would be to have passports that allow you freedom of mobility, opportunity, and I guess, you know, marriage or however you want to define those relationships like that, across existing borders today. 

[00:19:13] So, from a functional standpoint, I think that's something that I don't think too many people would argue against trying to achieve. And obviously it'd be great if the more people that have that, I think the better things can be. And then what it looks like, and whether it's like a network state one or a purely digital one, I don't have too many insights, I guess, to what that looks like or which kind of underlying nation or network state or whatever that future kind of holds. But I think maximizing freedom of mobility, opportunity, and marriage, or whatever the kind of underlying word there is for that, would be a goal that I think we should all strive for. 

[00:19:50] Jackson Steger: Great. So, as we move from things like a passport and other just citizenry infrastructure concepts, the directory that you outlined, and think more about phase two of build some roadmap, which is build assets, there are some bullet points on here that I would love like your help understanding sort of the translation from the nation state version to the network state version. So, on here you have municipal DeFi, build city grants, build city funds, crypto native, municipal bonds, and debt, and build ventures. I read that and it seems to me like a lot of different economic backbone type things of a city. Could you just speak to what the function, or what will be characteristic of the build assets phase two? 

[00:20:37] Angelo Alessio: Sure. Yeah, I know there's a lot on there. Like right now, kind of anchor points, like some might be crossed up. It's a work in progress. We've even had a long conversation today about changing the phase names. But yeah. So, phase two, and this kind of goes back to an earlier question about, hey, communities, like why is this useful for communities? And a big part of what we realize while building this is there's infrastructure that we as a distributed team need now in our existing localities that doesn't exist. And so, it just got us thinking. We're quite inspired also by like what Bitcoin grants can do and the quadratic funding. And so, that kind of even did a pilot that did a grant for some developers to get solar systems where they're currently in a country where the electrical grid, like it's on average four hours of electricity per day. And so, as a digital economy worker, they are just trying to access opportunity, right? And that's a problem that exists in their home today. And yeah, so we ended up, it was enough to buy six systems and it worked, like they don't have to pay for gen, that basically he’s literally paying for generator’s fuel before for their residents, which is common in the country, and now he's got 24/7 access to the internet, he's able to sharpen his skills. And we view that, however small it is today, that's core infrastructure. 

[00:21:57] So, when we think of infrastructure, that's where we came up with this concept of like municipal DeFi, why can't we be able to crowdfund infrastructure such that maybe it's six solar systems today but maybe it's for a whole residential block tomorrow. Right? These things need funds. And I think if one of the core premises that I’ve, kind of the network state, startup cities, whatnot, is that they're built on Web3 rails, then the underlying premise there is also that crypto then will be the dominant currency.

[00:22:27] So, by setting up this infrastructure to get in front of those kind of global capital pools, let's reimagine along the way what could a crypto native municipal bond look like. So, there's general obligation bonds, which are basically the power of cities to tax, to pay for certain things. And then there's things like revenue bonds that might go towards toll roads or whatnot that have some kind of recurring revenue streams, like the Holland Tunnel in New York, 16 bucks every time you go in. I don't know the full history, but I'm pretty sure that was probably like a lot of it financed by revenue bonds. Like, yeah, we want to actually crowdfund infrastructure and assets in these cities that can be advantageous to the people on the ground there that live in those cities.

[00:23:08] And it might not be as complex, it's going to vary city by city. Everything is digital first, so the only overhead is computed. And along the way, if there's a lot of folks in this given city, putting a lot of contributions to the network, let's open up funds to be able to get them what they need to be able to live better lives in their existing cities.

[00:23:27] So, yeah. And I think that's our core focus. I think what we're mainly focused on in phase two is municipal DeFi. I'll touch on one more thing that I think is really interesting to think about, as far as…

[00:23:37] Jackson Steger: Before you do that, so for listeners who are maybe less crypto involved, DeFi, Decentralized Finance. But like where I have a follow-up question is just like municipal finance. I feel like financial terms are intentionally strange and three or four syllables long to make them harder to understand. Like what does it mean for something to be municipal finance? And I think that will maybe just connect the dots between your last answer and this one. 

[00:24:04] Angelo Alessio: Yeah. So, I'm still learning myself to the perfectly vulnerable answer, but on any given city, you can see their budget, right? You can see their budget. You can see what they get from city taxes. So, I'm in Jersey, I don't know the exact rate. But you at least see the bulk of the funds, what the total top line amount is on the city budget sheet. And so, for building cities, the core foundation of that is going to be to be able to finance things. Let's reverse engineer the city budget basically and build infrastructure that allows more transparent flows of capital through the city to finance the infrastructure that we all need at the end of the day, sewage, roads, et cetera. And again, a lot of those are still lofty ambitions from where we're at, but it starts small and scales up from there.

[00:24:52] Jackson Steger: What were you going to say before I interrupted?

[00:24:53] Angelo Alessio: Yeah. And so, just on that point, one thing I think about a lot is even if people aren't into the network state or startup cities or whatnot, like how can we potentially, or even Web3, like abstracting away all these new concepts for any citizen in any city that we all live in, I consider Jersey City home, but it’s kind of like, hey, what would the difference of feeling be for a citizen of a city if they knew exactly where their tax revenues went? Like literally dollar for dollar, which is possible on on-chain infrastructure. So, imagine at the end of TurboTax, or whatever filing you have, you had a list of all the city agencies, and you could put a percent amount in each one that all adds up to a hundred. You click submit, and you see your city fund allocation go directly to those agencies. And then you could go ahead, if you really wanted to be a sleuth, like go track where those agencies are spending money. And how much more vested of a citizen would you be in that city if you knew where that money was going? Because right now we all pay taxes, it goes into a black box, and that's it. 

[00:25:58] And I think that is actually a really core, that gets at the problem of why we're talking about network states and new cities today, is like we don't feel a financial connect. We have a major financial disconnect from where a huge chunk of our income goes and what that seismic shift, even staying away from quadratic funding in Harvard, which is all fascinating to consider. But even just the transparency alone and uprooting that while waiting to get to something like that, that would make somebody a much more vested citizen engaged. Probably it would be interesting to see the correlation on voting turnout and everything like that. So, I mean that's cool. 

[00:26:35] Jackson Steger: I think that's awesome. That's super interesting. And I remember when I graduated from college, my school, like every school does, asks for alumni donations, and you can earmark those donations for certain things. And so, I made a small one, but I earmarked it for the gardens because for me the gardens that we had on campus for some of the most rewarding parts of my college experience. So, that's enabled me to be invested in that recurring participation with my school, which I'm sure they appreciate. And so, I'm sure a city would also value that mechanism. And I just, yeah, I think about like my dad who will probably listen to this at some point and the city he lives in, and knowing which parts of that infrastructure he would be most excited for the city to work on and for him to be able to express that would be a really exciting component of protocolizing a lot of how cities function now and giving citizens more of a say.

[00:27:28] So, cool. Appreciate your explanation there. I want to move to phase three, build cities. So, on this, just again for the audience, our bullet points include city governance protocols, IRL pilot of existing city processes on chain, strategic off-chain and on-chain partnerships, connecting protocol assets together for ease of mobility, explorations of special economic zones and charter city feasibility, launch your own city. So now we can really tell that this sort of ambition is escalating. Well, I mean take this bucket and phase any way you want, but I'm curious in the same vein of the last part of what we were just saying, why do city processes need to move on chain or what kind of partnerships do you anticipate having in this kind of space? I'm curious how you think about this phase. 

[00:28:14] Angelo Alessio: Yeah, great question. And full transparency, we realize like how sometimes how I would say the roadmap sounds, and it gets a little bit foggier the further you go out, but everything we're doing today, like starting with this product release, is I think a very kind of, we're building a staircase more than like launching, right? I think it's a very pragmatic approach. The first one being, hey, let's facilitate, let's draw that bridge between URL and IRL lives, and then keep building on that. Short version of that answer is subject to change, I should probably put that on the roadmap. But…

[00:28:44] Jackson Steger: It's just an excuse for us to talk, right?

[00:28:46] Angelo Alessio: Yeah. Yeah.

[00:28:44] Jackson Steger: You know, to hold it as a company, to do exactly what you say in this podcast. 

[00:28:50] Angelo Alessio: Yeah. But so, getting back to that, I think, I don't know if you've seen the Adrianople Group startup cities. I think if you Google a Startup Cities map and Adrianople, there's a whole list of all the different kind of special economic zones around the world and really just startup cities in general. So, they categorize into three buckets of basically startup cities. Type one being startup cities that attract startups. So, Silicone Valley being an obvious example, but now much more Austin, Miami, Coeur d'Alene, more cities around the world, which is great, which is exactly the tailwind of which we're looking to get into.

[00:29:26] Then there's type two, which are cities that act like startup. They use the example of Miami, Dubai, Singapore. That one to me sounds like political. So, like that one is probably one that I don't think we'll have really control over that. So, that one's on its own or whatever. 

[00:29:44] And then there's type three, which mentions Culdesac and Próspera, where it's cities that basically are startups. A lot of the stuff we allude to in phase three, and just it maybe even a little in phase two, is talking, like thinking about these startups, literal startup cities. Hey, let's put a Culdesac neighborhood in, or a Cabin neighborhood like everywhere around the globe. Let's finance it. Let's make it happen. Let's build them. But full well realizing it's a long way out. 

[00:30:11] So, our core focus right now is mainly on type one startup cities, which we view as a prerequisite to type three because if you're doing a startup city, you obviously have some entrepreneurial or founder gene. And you are a founder, and so that area should attract other kind of entrepreneurs and founders.

[00:30:29] So type one, we think, is that kind of big umbrella. And there's a great book, called Startup Communities by Brad Feld. So, one of the co-founders of Techstars. I think a lot of people might be familiar on the show. But it's a great book, and it outlines exactly how he built up Boulder as a startup city, so to speak. And it's very kind of localist focused. It emphasizes a bit I think where he tried to be as localist minded as possible. One of the things he mentions is if you build a startup city, you have to be on a 20-year time horizon, and every day that clock also resets. So, it's always a 20-year time horizon. But he talks about how he built Boulder into a startup city, so to speak. And a lot of what we're doing with the product today is basically like looking to product ties that approach in cities around the world, which is what Techstars, they had a geographical footprint for the accelerators around the world, which is, I think the major differentiator from something like YC, which was primarily Silicone Valley focused.

[00:31:31] So, yeah, I think putting that at the DNA of what we're doing is pretty important to us, and I think the rest of the vision and foundation can kind of basically build on that as long as we're thinking about it that way. 

[00:31:42] Jackson Steger: Yeah. It’s funny, the core Cabin team was just in Denver, and we went to Boulder for a day to strategize for the next season. And I remember thinking, wow, this is like the perfect city for a Cabin neighborhood. It's everything we want. 

[00:31:56] I have one last main question and then we'll close out. Rather than put the pressure on you to detail phase four, sovereignty, that's probably years or decades away, I just want to talk about the sovereignty of network states more broadly. And so, this is in reading of Balaji’s book and thinking a lot about this space, I guess it's just where I need some more clarity as to why would a network state want to be sovereign? It seems to me like that would be a very difficult thing for the rest of the country where maybe your archipelago of crowdfunded territory is within to be okay with. What reasons might startup cities or network states want to have for jurisdictional independence and how might they leverage that? Like what is afforded to them by such kind of diplomatic recognition? 

[00:32:50] Angelo Alessio: Yeah. And I'll be honest here as well. I think that's definitely the one kind of phase, I think, from the book and everything where it's definitely difficult to develop a lot of conviction around. I don't fully see how it all kind of pans out, but I can understand some of the motivations behind it. And I think they are quite similar to the motivation to set up a special economic zone, whether that be the rights to innovate in a certain sector, medical or crypto, like what we're doing in finance, to be able to run those processes at a quicker rate. I can see some of the benefits of that, but like the reasons could vary vastly. If you look, I think, and Afropolitan I think does a phenomenal job kind of articulating the rationale behind on African diaspora, like having that kind of sovereignty. And I think you can make the same argument for many diasporas.

[00:33:41] So, I think it probably comes back and loops back around to some of the very first question we brought up in the podcast of like, hey, what is the country? Why do we need new countries? And I think this is the fascinating kind of R&D of this whole space right now, where we're all still wrestling with these questions. 

[00:33:59] But I can see, I think, and tying it back to the passport one for example, like the functional benefit to be able to be mobile, maybe if you were from a country before where you were one of the least mobile passports, according to that Passport Index website, and let's say you are able to get into a network state that all of a sudden affords you a major amount of freedom and mobility based on X, Y, and Z criteria. Like I know we have definitely a lot of visas in all sorts of countries that issue them out for bringing in talent in certain fields and whatnot. So, that's a functional benefit. And I think that's definitely in the top three of my mind or for anyone's mind around the world that would be beneficial to folks and to achieve sovereignty so that opportunity is even more equalized around the world. 

[00:34:47] Jackson Steger: Really appreciate that answer and appreciate you coming on the show, Angelo. For listeners who want to learn more about Build, where would you like to direct them to and to what purpose? 

[00:34:58] Angelo Alessio: Yeah. And again, thanks for having me on. This has been phenomenal, and I look forward to coming down to the property one day. And I have some ideas I need to plant for the Cabin community and some Utah properties one day. I did a 30-day like survival camp in Utah, which is a really cool setting that I think calls me to go back one day, but I think it'd be awesome for Cabin. But a short answer to the question, I would love if everybody could check out www.buildcities.com or www.buildcities.network. It redirects to the same place. You can check out the app today, and it works on desktop only right now, but you'd be able to see exactly what some of the things I was alluding to earlier in the podcast. And yeah, check us out there. Twitter is @joinbuild_. It’s the handle, but it's all on the website at www.buildcities.com. So, I really, really appreciate the time.

[00:35:40] Jackson Steger: Yeah. Thank you. Can't wait to have you back as you progress through the different phases, and I'm sure we'll be talking a lot more in the years to come. Cheers. 

[00:35:48] Angelo Alessio: Yeah, of course. Yeah. Take care. See you, Jackson.


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