The Guardian recently published an investigation into the world’s first crypto cruise ship, Satoshi, which turned out to be far from easy to navigate. The story is one of a crypto enthusiasm that leads to disaster and perhaps predicts the fate of other crypto “utopias” that are envisioned by enthusiasts around the world.
The story began in 2010, when former Google engineer Patri Friedman proposed the utopian future of humanity. In his vision, Friedman wanted to transform the way people live by abandoning life on earth and all pre-existing assumptions about the nature of society. Friedman’s idea was to found a new city in the middle of the ocean.
This vision, called “Seasteading,” was based on the idea that modern government needed an upgrade and to do so more space was needed. All land on earth has been taken over by existing governments, so Friedman proposed that we use the space provided by the high seas to start this new civilization.
Friedman envisioned that in three to six years the ships would be transformed into floating medical clinics. Within 10 years, Friedman predicted that small communities would be permanently based on platforms at sea. Seasteading would offer its inhabitants complete freedom of choice – the maritime community would regularly reorganize itself to accommodate those ‘choices. who inhabited the floating units. At Seasteading, individuals would be given the opportunity to vote with their homes – an upgrade to democracy.
Turn vision into reality
In the years since Friednamn’s speech, various attempts to make his vision a reality were thwarted. However, in October 2020, three Seatanding enthusiasts purchased a cruise ship called the Pacific Dawn. The enthusiasts in question, Grant Romundt, Rudiger Koch and Chad Elwartowski, planned to position the ship off the coast of Panama where it would become the center of a new company trading only cryptocurrencies.
The ship was renamed Satoshi, after the mysterious inventor of Bitcoin. The three enthusiasts hoped that the company would become a home for people like them and have a utopian idea of a floating crypto community. Satoshi promised freedom to all of its inhabitants.
While the idea behind Satoshi was idyllic, converting the cruise ship into a new company proved very difficult for the three men. The sea is not free of barriers and cruise ships are subject to strict rules.
“We were like, ‘This is so hard.’”- Romundt.
In their initial plan, Satoshi would take the shape of a B (symbolizing Bitcoin) and each floating pod would be connected via tunnels that could accommodate agriculture and parks. When it was created, Panama’s Ministry of Tourism hoped that this new ocean city would attract tourists and boost the economy.
Satoshi would run on generators and then solar power and even have high-speed wireless internet access available to citizens. Citizens would also be free to earn and exploit as much money as they want without paying tax. However, as Elwartowski answered more questions about the new city, a number of downsides emerged.
The ship set sail on October 29, 2020 and faced challenges early on in its voyage. For example, the vessel did not have a certificate of seaworthiness, which meant that the vessel had been taken out of the water. It was also impossible to designate Satoshi as a floating residence and the ship would have to leave every 20 days to comply with maritime laws.
The various obstacles encountered by the ship dissuaded insurers from covering Satoshi and Romundt quickly realized that the cruise ship industry was “”plagued by overregulation. “This largely opposed initial plans to create a completely free society, and the dream quickly ended before it even started. On December 18, the team announced that the ship would be sold at a scrapyard. is now called “Ambience” and operates as a cruise liner again.