- The company Ocean Builders has bought a cruise ship in order to found a crypto-colony off the coast of Panama.
- The ship will seek to remain decentralised, but could fall victim to the pitfalls of managing a complex housing operation.
- Chad Elwartowski, director of operations, says the ship will eventually move away from the coast and may become more autonomous.
Ocean Builders bought a disused cruise ship to establish a crypto colony at sea.
Chad Elwartowski, the company’s director of operations, recently conducted an AMA on Reddit, revealing details about this new community.
A crypto colony on the water
When the Thai authorities seized Chad Elwatowski’s house on the water, he found himself on the run. But this did not discourage the crypto-entrepreneur from pursuing his dream of „sailing at sea“ or living in a floating house on the ocean.
A YouTube channel on the subject of sailing at sea interviewed Elwartowski in his floating house before he fled from it and it was towed by the authorities :
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His company Ocean Builders, which specialises in floating habitats called „seapods“, bought a disused cruise ship from P&O Cruises of Australia. On 4 November 2020, the company will take control of the ship, renaming it „MS Satoshi“ and sailing from the Mediterranean to the coast of Panama.
The ensuing voyage and navigation at sea will require qualified personnel. That’s why Mr. Elwartowski joined a forum on Reddit to reveal details about the ship and to recruit pioneers in seafaring.
In the AMA, Mr. Elwartowski outlined solutions to some of the day-to-day logistical problems facing the floating citadel. After all, utilities and supplies cannot simply be provided in the ocean, can they?
Initially, the ship’s energy will come from generators, but he hopes to replace them soon with solar panels. Supplies and food will come from a sea-going ship’s shop. Chandlery shops already exist to supply the cruise ships anchored off the coast of Panama.
As far as connectivity is concerned, the Bitcoin Storm enthusiast claims that the MS Satoshi will benefit from high-speed internet rather than a satellite connection, perhaps because of its proximity to the coast.
Taxes and regulations for Ocean Builders
Many AMA members interested in joining the adventure were curious about payment and tax arrangements. Although the ship is anchored offshore, Elwartowski prefers not to take any risks (following his misadventure with the Thai authorities).
Regardless of the legal status and sovereignty of this new Bitcoin colony near Panama, Elwartowski says he does not take taxes for money earned outside the country. Remote workers would therefore not, in theory, be punished by additional levies. This is probably an important point for any libertarian-minded crypto-worker or trader.
If the ship is therefore legally in Panama, some users have asked: what’s the point? Mr Elwartowski explained that the ship’s first voyage would be to prove the viability of sustainable shipping. With some experience, the company will consider launching in international waters.
Decentralised kitchens: restaurants
Some Reddit users wanted to know which services would be included and how monetary transactions for the services could be in favour of cryptography.
Elwartowski argues that things will remain as decentralised as possible. However, due to fire safety, rooms will not be able to be equipped with kitchens or microwaves. Instead, residents will have access to the ship’s restaurants, like on a cruise ship.
These restaurants will be offered at a reduced price to residents (as opposed to holidaymakers). COVID-19 precautions are another safety point.
The ship’s management company, Columbia CS, has a COVID-19 response procedure similar to that of regular cruise ships. Nevertheless, one user noted that a full cruise ship might just as well be called „SS COVID“.