The Idea Incubator/Virtual Nations
Today ordinary states (often informally called nations) combine a (usually contiguous) geographic region with a specific government and set of policies. People who happen to be born within a particular geographic region are assigned to the corresponding (nation) state at birth. Policies to allow people to move and change their citizenship from one nation to another are often in place, but border control measures and change of citizenship requirements are typically restrictive and burdensome.
The concept of a virtual nation uncouples the traditional binding of geographic location to the associated government and its policies. People born anywhere would be free to choose the virtual nation they want to become citizens of.
Because people living anywhere can leave one nation and then join any virtual nation, virtual nations would have powerful incentives to attract citizens based on their governing style and policies. This expands consumer (citizen) choice and provides an incentive for each virtual nation to establish and maintain policies that are favorable to its citizens.
A few examples demonstrate early experiments with this concept.
- e-Residency of Estonia (also called virtual residency or E-residency) is a program launched by Estonia on 1 December 2014. The program allows non-Estonians access to Estonian services such as company formation, banking, payment processing, and taxation. The program gives the e-resident a smart card which they can use to sign documents. The program is aimed towards location-independent entrepreneurs such as software developers and writers.
- A micronation is a political entity whose members claim that they belong to an independent nation or sovereign state lacking legal recognition by world governments or major international organizations.
- Bitnation is a "voluntary nation" that records vital records, identity and other legal events using blockchain technology.
- Transnational citizenship redefines traditional notions of citizenship and replaces an individual's singular national loyalties with the ability to belong to multiple nation states, as made visible in the political, cultural, social and economic realms.
- The term world community is used primarily in political and humanitarian contexts to describe an international aggregate of nation states of widely varying types. In most connotations, the term is used to convey meanings attached to consensus or inclusion of all people in all lands and their governments.
- The World Passport is a fantasy travel document (created to publicize the concept of a world-wide passport for citizens of the world) sold by the World Service Authority, a non-profit organization founded by Garry Davis in 1954.