‘Satoshi’ Cruise Ship Debacle Relived in Podcast

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  • The short-lived story of The Satoshi, a cruise ship intended as a seasteading operation, has been relived in a new podcast
  • The Satoshi was intended as a floating civilization that would only use cryptocurrencies
  • Red tape ended The Satsohi’s dreams before it even arrived at its intended home

The story of The ‘Satoshi’, an intriguing attempt at ‘seasteading’, has been relived in a new one-off podcast by The Guardian. The Satoshi was a 245-metre-long cruise ship purchased by three seasteading advocates who wanted to create a civilization on the waves with Bitcoin as its chief currency. They gave it a gallant effort but ended up only sailing halfway around the world and into a scrapyard, ending the first seaborne attempt at a crypto-community.

Full Steam Ahead for Panama

The Satoshi was the dream of three men, Grant Romundt, Rüdiger Koch and Chad Elwartowski, who used the downturn brought by the coronavirus to purchase Pacific Dawn, a former P&O cruise ship, for under $10 million. Romundt, Koch and Elwartowski planned to sail the ship to crypto-friendly Panama, where they lived, and park it permanently off the coastline as the focal point of a new society trading only in cryptocurrencies, living a utopian, tax free existence.

The trio gained permission from the Panamanian authorities to use the country as a base for the Satoshi – in fact they encouraged it as a tourist destination. Marketing of the Satoshi began in November, with 777 cabins of various prices to be auctioned off in advance of the sailing across the Atlantic towards Panama. However, the trio didn’t realize that, ironically, the path to a bureaucracy-free lifestyle would require endless bureaucracy, with maritime laws, rules and regulations being the tightest of all transport industries.

The Satoshi Dream Ends With a Scrapyard

Before The Satoshi had even got to Panama, Panamanian authorities told the trio that the Satoshi had to remain registered as a ship once it docked, which scuppered their plans as no one would give them insurance for the vessel and they could not afford to keep operating it as they had been. Unable to dock, the ship had to continue sailing, with the owners desperately trying to find another solution.

Eventually the owners had no choice but to sell The Satoshi to an Indian scrapyard, bringing to an end their brave attempt of a cryptocurrency-based society…and wasting a good few million dollars into the bargain.