What started out as a haven 12 nautical miles off the Thai coast has turned into a nightmare for early Bitcoin investor Chad Elwartowski and his girlfriend Nadia Summergirl. Back in March, the pair sank their life savings into building a seastead located just off the Thai coast, however the Thai Navy has been sent in to arrest the pair for breaching Thailand’s sovereignty. The Thai government claim that the seastead is in Thai waters and therefore a part of Thailand. If this claim is correct, then the pair would have technically annexed a section of Thailand and created their own country – essentially declaring war on Thailand.
Life on the Run
After the Thai Navy paid a visit to the couple and warned them that their seastead is violating Thai laws, the pair quickly went into hiding. Elwartowski had his visa revoked and arrest warrants have been put out for the couple. Thai authorities claim that the seastead is inside Thai waters and Vice Admiral Sitthiporn Maskasem announced plans to demolish the structure. On top of claims that the seastead is inside Thai waters, authorities also claim that it sits in the heart of a busy shipping land. Elwartowski and Summergirl installed an AIS tracker under the tag of XLII to help ships avoid the structure. However, it doesn’t appear on any marine maps and instead an oil tanker appears to be moored in nearly the exact spot the seastead should be.
The Libertarian Dream is Sinking
As Elwartowski and Summergirl have been forced to flee their seastead due to fears of the death penalty, other libertarian projects too have begun to sink. Blue Frontiers planned to build a floating island off the coast of French Polynesia. The “crypto island” would solely use cryptocurrencies as a method of payment while following libertarian values. Sadly, due to rising political tension in the region and the crypto winter, the project was forced to end.
If the pair are caught, they will face imprisonment and most likely the death penalty. This would be a huge blow to the Bitcoin community, as Elwartowski was a keen Bitcoin enthusiast. In an update posted on Facebook dated April 14th, the pair were still alive and safe. The post read:
“Nadia and I are still safe.…Whether it is still there or not does not matter much to me. I’m more concerned about Nadia being driven from her home country and her family. Her son is worried. I hope they can be reunited some day soon.”
“As long as Nadia and I are able to live through this that is all that matters to us right now. We just want to live.”
If libertarian communities powered by cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology are going to thrive, project owners need to have constant contact with the nearest government. With Thai government approval, this whole mess would likely not have occurred. If you’re planning a similar libertarian dreamland, it’s best you consult local government to ensure your project isn’t breaking any sovereignty laws – jail food isn’t that nice!