I Became a Citizen of Bitnation, a Blockchain-Powered Virtual Nation. Now What?

By September 12, 2016Bitcoin Business

Virtual. Decentralized. Voluntary. Borderless. This is Bitnation , a blockchain-powered government service platform like nothing else. Except, surprisingly, Antarctica. “That’s currently the only place in the world not covered by nation-state jurisdiction,” Susanne Tarkowski Tempelhof, the platform’s founder told me matter-of-factly, lighting up a cigarette. I don’t particularly want to move to Antarctica. I’m a French-US national, a dual citizen to two of the world’s most powerful countries. I live and work between Tunisia and Germany—my taxes, my insurance, my life is scattered across three continents. I enjoy a greater degree of freedom of movement, speech, education, and employment than most. My fundamental rights are protected. My interactions with state bureaucracy have been mostly painless. I have near-constant access to WiFi. Despite this, or perhaps because of it, I applied for Bitnation citizenship. When my father became a US citizen, he memorized parts of the Constitution and wore a suit to his naturalization ceremony. For my part, I lazily clicked through Bitnation’s website while in pajamas, pausing only to think up an alias other than my first name. I received a congratulatory e-mail: Welcome to BITNATION! The whole process was disappointingly anti-climactic. * I was hungry for some tangible proof of my citizenship. Part of Bitnation’s appeal is that it does partially operate in physical space, with 25 embassies and consulates around the world. Anyone can sign up online to become an ambassador and open an embassy. A few hours outside of Berlin, I visited Dirk von Heinrichshorst. Four years ago, von Heinrichshorst moved his small family to a secluded castle in the German countryside, which he runs as a bed and breakfast. Motivated by altruism and an affinity to the ideals of Bitnation, he became an ambassador and registered Schloss Heinrichshorst as an embassy last year. Inside Schloss […]

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