An American Bitcoin investor, Chad Elwartowski, believed to be part of the first group of people to invest and trade Bitcoin (BTC), has had his visa revoked by the Thai government. Elwartowski, along with his girlfriend Supranee Thepdet, have both been charged with violating Thai sovereignty by attempting to set up a “micro nation.”
The couple’s floating cabin was located just 14 miles off the west coast of the island of Phuket, putting it in Thailand’s “contiguous zone,” which allows a limited number of the country’s laws to be applied. According to Reuters, the Thai navy states that Elwartowski and Thepdet intended to use a legal loophole to set up a permanent society at sea, with:
“The intention of disobeying the laws of Thailand [which] could lead to a creation of a new state within Thailand’s territorial waters.”
Elwartowski and Thepdet, who are currently fugitives and seeking legal advice at the US embassy in Bangkok, face the death penalty, and their floating home has been towed to shore.
The couple’s floating cabin was promoted as the world’s first “seastead” by the group Ocean Builders, and is part of a movement to build floating communities that explore alternative societies and governments.
Days before his seastead was boarded by the Thai navy, Elwartowski posted on Facebook:
Thailand is a hotspot for expats, due to its warm climate, cheap cost of living, and various options for immigration visas. It also attracts a fair amount of the cryptocurrency community, who tend to be against centralization, governments, and taxation.
Therefore, a growing number of crypto traders are said to be leading a movement to establish micronations outside of known territorial borders, where they are not beholden to the law of any one country. Elwartowski and Thepdet, however, being only 14 miles out to sea from Phuket, were thus subject to Thai law.
Do you think crypto traders and early Bitcoin adopters living in international waters is a growing trend? Let us know what you think in the comment section below.
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