The experimental “pop-up city community” Zuzalu in Montenegro, conceived by Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin, recently ended its two-month run. Hosting around 200 key players from the worlds of crypto, big pharma, politics, and academia, Zuzalu was founded with the aim of reimagining the future of humanity. Topics discussed at the event included cryptocurrency, blockchain networks, AI, human longevity, and the concept of a “network state” championed by former Coinbase CTO Balaji Srinivasan.
Some described the conference as a life-altering event, redefining their perspectives on the potential of our species in the realms of biology, politics, and society. Hannah Hamilton, co-founder of decentralized finance protocol Asymmetry, credits Zuzalu for the realization of her own impact on humanity’s fate due to her work with Ethereum.
However, the question remains, is Zuzalu truly paving the way to a new civilization or simply an eccentric gathering of futurists? The event’s attendees seem to be of the belief that they can deeply impact the world; many conversations revolve around human potential and hints of immortality. This ambition has led to speculation that an immortals-only nation-state could be established, opening up concerns about potential security risks and targeted attacks.
Despite the confidence and ingenuity expressed within these meetings, this sense of exploring the uncharted territories of human potential could be seen as wildly optimistic or disconnected from reality. For some, the event bears resemblance to an exclusive entrepreneur’s retreat or a crypto elite sleepaway camp. Discussions about extending human life and the potential creation of exclusive nation-states may prompt skepticism for some, while for others it ignites optimism in exploring further progress of technology and humanity.
In the end, the Zuzalu event has contributed to stimulating conversation and the exchange of ideas, which can have far-reaching effects on our global society. As with any new endeavor, there will inevitably be both supporters and naysayers. Whether the discussions surrounding human potential and civilization at Zuzalu will truly impact the larger world remains to be seen, but at the very least, it has left an impression on those who attended.
As for the future of Zuzalu, with preparations for its return next year, the event will likely continue to generate debates on the exact role such gatherings have in shaping our world and its future, and whether its vision of a new civilization are grounded in reality or simply a utopian dream.