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Odisea 05: Beyond the nation-state with Chika Uwazie

Welcome back to another instalment of Odisea, frens. This episode is with Chika Uwazie, the Co-Founder of Afropolitan. Afropolitan is creating a digital nation to empower the African diaspora to build community, support one another, and build the future together. In this conversation, we break down Chika’s story, the founding story of Afropolitan, and explore the wider need for crypto in the global south.

https://youtu.be/Xx50uk21soE

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I remember being in kindergarten and memorising the national anthem, learning about our national flowers, trees, the importance of the military and police in maintaining civil order, the role of the government in making sure we had smooth-running nationwide operations, and of course revering the all-important president of our nation.

At the time, and throughout much of our lives, we don’t stop and think about what exactly is going on through this process. As children, we are very early on imbued into the nation state system, one marked by imaginary (and at times, material) borders imposed by us humans.

We’ve been led to believe that the most important organising body for human coordination is the nation state (if you grew up in a heavily religious country, like I did, then God is likely the only superior organising force). It is this same belief, that has led to countries going to war, millions of lives lost, and justification for exploitation of the “other.”

Of course, it would be unfair on the nation state to simply call out its faults, but rather also celebrate the importance of some of the achievements that we’ve accomplished with the shared belief of the nation. We’ve put humans on the moon, celebrated culture, and created entire stories of lore to commemorate what each unique nation brings to the table.

One thing, however, we seem to forget often is the extent to which nations are a relatively new human invention. Only a few hundred years old, nation states have had their time to shine - but for many of us that were indoctrinated with this philosophy can’t help but question whether this is really the panacea that we believed it to be.

One particular example of this is the lack of the nation states power to address the problem of climate change. We are now coming up to the 28th Conference of the Parties (COP) conference, the most important meeting of nation states seeking to address the climate change challenge. Despite that, 28 conferences in, it seems that we haven’t yet made the progress needed to tackle CO2 emissions, environmental degradation, mass extinction of species, water pollution, among other pressing challenges.

This is just one example among many where I believe we humans have outgrown the nation state, both from a coordination standpoint as well as a technological one. With unprecedented technological development sitting right in front of us, I believe it’s time we start looking past the nation state and forward to what comes after.

Afropolitan’s mission of bringing together those who are connected to the African continent through a shared history, heritage, and passion for uplifting their communities is one that I deeply resonate with. I would like to see more network states similar to Afropolitan emerge throughout the world, based on shared affinities.

Already, I feel that we’ve built somewhat of a network state amongst those who believe in decentralised worlds powered by blockchain. Whenever I connect with my crypto friends in Bogotá, Denver, Europe, or elsewhere - I feel a deep affinity and know that we are collectively working towards enhancing the state of the world by leveraging distributed ledgers to enhance human coordination.

Most recently, Zuzalu was perhaps the most interesting experiment that emerged out of the Ethereum ecosystem. Ethereans from around the world gathered in Montenegro for two months to discuss and hack around Zero-Knowledge technology, artificial intelligence, DAO coordination, network state ideation, among other cutting-edge conversations.

Chika was a resident of Zuzalu, spending nearly two months in the picturesque scenery of Montenegro. She shares with us what she saw and witnessed whilst there and where Afropolitan is heading to in the future.

Lastly, I also deeply enjoyed exploring with Chika around the role that she sees crypto playing in the global south. We’re both super bullish on the future potential for crypto in these regions and can’t wait to continue to drive more adoption in the region by supporting and nurturing local initiatives throughout.

Remember, you’ve still got time to mint your Odisea Community Collectible below. The collectible is available on the Optimism network, which we have intentionally chosen thanks to their commitment to support public goods, largely through their Retroactive Public Goods Funding (RetroPGF) mechanism, which allocates the fees paid by users of the network and then distributes them retroactively to public goods in the ecosystem. Mint yours below and support public goods :)

If you’d like to connect to discuss the episode and explore ways we can collaborate to build a better future leveraging crypto, let’s chat on Twitter or you can join the Telegram community as well!

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Odisea is produced with the support of Safe and Ambire Wallet.

Safe (previously Gnosis Safe) is a decentralized custody protocol, securing ~$60 Billion in assets today. It is establishing a universal standard for secure custody of digital assets, data, and identity.

Ambire Wallet is an account abstraction-based, self-custodial gateway to Web3 that introduces a range of impressive features like transaction batching, a pre-payment mechanism, and the ability to pay gas fees in stablecoins. By being accessible on both mobile and desktop devices, with a browser extension version on the horizon, Ambire Wallet aims at streamlining the user experience and ensure convenience across different platforms.

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