Alex woke up, stretched and it took about ten minutes for the alarm to actually get him out of bed - his organism had already gotten used to waking up before being woken up. After that he follows a normal routine: brushes his teeth, drinks coffee and visits five countries until lunchtime.
Alex works with cryptodiplomacy in the metaverse, his role is to find opportunities for convergence between different metanations.
For someone who crawls on Google Meet in 2022 and pours out all his hate whenever he's invited to a Microsoft Teams meeting, the scene above may seem a little unusual, weird and even unlikely, but no.
Of course, Alex is just a fictional character living in a non-existent situation: yet.
When we talk about the metaverse, we have to turn a little bit to the origin of the word, since its meaning already explains where it came from. Metaverse literally means "extended universe" and this also helps us to understand what it is all about: this is the idea that humanity, finally frustrated with the limitations and pains of the universe where it was born, decided to create its own cosmos, with their own laws of physics and dynamics, with their own stars, their own planets, their own territories, inhabited and ruled by their own nations. Does it sound interesting?
How do we get here?
Between the 18th and 19th centuries, Europe saw the birth of the concept that would shake all its borders (literally) in a very short time, the Nation-State.
Marked by the greatest wars and atrocities ever recorded by human beings, the 20th century saw countries flourish, as we understand them today, for the first time in history.
According to the unquestionable wikipedia, a Nation-State is a historical area that can be identified as possessing a legitimate policy, which, by its own means, constitutes a sovereign government. While a state can be defined as a political and geopolitical entity, a nation is an ethnic and cultural unit. The term "nation-state" implies a situation where the two coincide. The nation-state asserts itself through an ideology, a legal structure, the ability to impose sovereignty over a people, in a given territory with borders, with its own currency and its own armed forces as well.
In a nutshell the Nation-State is an ideology that unites territory, institutions and people as if they all shared the same (or minimally similar) ethical, historical, moral and philosophical values.
In short, a fiction - the fiction you live under today. And many times for which you die.
In 1933, the Montevideo Convention gave birth to what we still consider today as the four basic requirements for defining the existence of a State:
"The State as a person under international law must meet the following requirements.
I. Permanent population.
II. Determined territory.
IV. Ability to enter into relations with other States."
Nothing too complex, right?
But as strange as it may seem to think this nowadays, why does it seem to have stopped? Why new states seans to stop appearing? Well, it doesn't.
While these rules are for the physical universe and of little use in the metaverse, it's still pretty easy to create your own versions, your own States.
So easy that a lot of people have been doing it long before metaverse talk became mainstream.
In 1977 Leonard Casley - later known as Prince Leonard - founded what is now called "the oldest micronation in the world", the principality of Hutt River, Australia. Since then, there have been dozens of similar cases, most of them (without much explanation as to why) in Australia. Ladonia, Sealand, Asgardia, Talossa, Parva Domus, Liberland, among many others, the list keeps growing - many people seem to want to have a country to build.
And one thing must be said: all these micronations have the four requirements.
Ladonia, for example, has around 27,000 registered citizens, and all of that just in the physical world, in the universe and not in the metaverse.
Imagine the possibilities.
Okay, regarding the State definitions, everything is clear. We're lined up. But what about the nation? There really aren't any rules for creating a nation, are there?
Well... No rules, but models.
The French model (one of the two current lines of thought about what a nation is) believes that the nation is determined by subjective and essential elements, called 'civic will', differing from the objective German model that believes in material requirements such as blood and ethnicity as determining agents of a nation.
Both models are accepted.
You see, so far we've only talked about the context and news about nation-states in the physical universe, not in the digital metaverse, that's because none of the previous laws and requirements can or need to be literally reproduced in the second, and even if they could, the bigger question it's WHY?
If we have a new universe in front of us (see, I didn't say just any new place, it's a new UNIVERSE), then why stick to the rules of the old one?
For example, to determine that a person has this or that nationality, countries currently tend to adopt two biases: the Jus Solis ( you justa happen to be born in that nation's territory) and the Jus Sanguinis (you dido not have to be born in their territory, but you must have blood of ancestors from the territory in your veins). For the metaverse, neither would make much sense, we have to imagine a "Jus Digitalis" - something that determines the POC - "Proof of Citizenship".
Alex, an inveterate "first adept", our character at the beginning of this article, may have grown bored with the states he worked with and, after a long and fruitful career as a cryptodiplomat, decided it was time to create his own Metanation, Diplonia, land of diplomats - the newest Metanation of the metaverse.
With enough capacity and influence to attract a dizzying amount of supporters in the area of cryptodiplomacy and meta-international relations, Alex manages to attract tens of thousands of citizens in the first month of Diplonia's existence. Digital citizenship guarantees members exclusive access to a package of crypto-economic measures, land in the Diplonian territory (which begins to appreciate a lot, both in diplocoins and in other quotations) and of course, ease for the most varied honorific titles that may or may not be available. Not mentioning tokenized accesses to Diplonia's distributed protocols. This is all in 2025, the year of the Metanations boom.
Of course, in a timid way, they start as a kind of club with protocols defined by blockchain, but as the possibilities have very few restrictions, in a short time too, metanations discover that they have no limits.
Traditional brands begin to join and create their own States, initially also with simple and playful statutes and more focused on commercial and advertising purposes. For example, some Cocacolia ambassadors receive lifetime discounts on some products and the diplomatic relationship with the Republic of McDonia (Burger King remains a monarchy) guarantees a fixed quote for its citizens on the exchange from McCoin to BitCoke. WHAT ELSE?
But of course it doesn't stop there. Some Metanations (mostly born in a room by a 16-year-old in some real-world suburb and not developed by large corporations) become incredibly relevant and powerful. There is political, ideological, and even fiscal dispute, even in absolutely DeFi systems.
Some real, separatist nations, whose recognition is not granted by the current international community, decide to migrate to the metaverse. Both Tibet and Taiwan now have millions and millions of registered citizens, coming together and creating the "Not-China nation", responsible for one of the most thriving digital economies in the metaverse.
In less than a decade, citizenship of metanations in real passports is required: depending on which ones you have, many visas may be denied.
Some countries create their linked digital version, called stable-Nations. The first fully fought war in the metaverse takes place in 2029 - both a relief and a concern.
In 2033, the UN starts to recognize some metanations as real nations, as long as they meet a series of requirements, as well as those determined in the Montevideo Convention, one hundred years earlier, in 1933. Alex saw it all happen, but is already dismayed at the scale it has taken, his focus now is on applying the new findings of genetic, robotics and nanotechnology integration to Metanations. What can Alex expect?