By CCN: Thai officials are royally enraged at a man named Chad Elwartowski, reportedly a wealthy Bitcoin trader, for deciding to build a platform house off the coast of Phuket.
Building Your Own Country At Sea Can Cost Your Life in Thailand
A formal complaint has been filed, the charge being the violation of Thailand’s criminal code, section 119. That section of Thai law reads:
“Whoever, does any act with intent to cause the Country or any part thereof to descend under the sovereignty of any foreign State, or to deteriorate the independence of the State, shall be punished with death or imprisonment for life.”
Authorities believe that by building a “seastead” or homestead on the sea, Elwartowski and his wife, Supranee Thepdet, are attempting to create an independent state and threaten the sovereignty of Thailand.
The charge is dangerous, and a police official told the Bangkok Post that the structure would be torn down before long. Additionally, the company which built the structure is now under investigation.
Officials argue that the structure is a barrier to oil ships bound for Phuket. It seems self-evident, given the reporting and handling of the situation, that Elwartowski took no efforts to obtain permission to build the platform.
The couple has said that they are beyond the limits of Thai authority, but Thai maritime authorities beg to differ. If charges are filed, they’ll likely both be arrested, and the structure will be torn down. The report indicates that this is likely.
Intersection of Crypto and Seasteading
The Bangkok Post also reports that crypto traders are leading the charge to “establish micronations,” exploiting a loophole in international law.
One of the oldest micronations, Sealand, has long had an interest in Bitcoin.
A seasteading group called Blueseed received a $100,000 investment from a Bitcoin angel investment group not so long ago.
A group called the Seasteading Institute believes that seasteading – homesteading at sea – is the best way to allow “pioneers” to peacefully “test new forms of government.” Many of the ideas held by seasteaders – sovereignty from government, independence – are also deeply held beliefs within the cryptocurrency community. It’s no surprise that there would be some overlap in people with both interests.
The Seasteading Institute is still in the process of establishing the first free zone for the development of a micronation outside of French Polynesia.
Notably, some of the ideas for seasteading were born with Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, whose Sea Org spent most of its time roaming the world at sea. Today, most of its operations are land-based.
Whether or not Thailand will execute or even actually imprison Elwartowski remains to be seen. It would seem that he and his wife have some time to attempt to flee.