The Goofy Failed Voyage Of The World's First Crypto Cruise

The Goofy Failed Voyage Of The World's First Crypto Cruise

Imagine, for a second, the perfect utopia: A place where you have absolute freedom from both the government and society at large to do whatever the hell you want. Are you picturing some unknown island somewhere in the middle of nowhere that's totally yours to roam about and ... govern, we guess? Probably. That's what most people will conjure up when thinking about such a pie-in-the-sky ideology. If you were, however, jumping up and down on your bed yelling, "Mother-effin cruise ship, baby!" we'll be pretty worried about your reasoning capabilities and also tell you that three guys already proved that idea to be both deeply flawed and incredibly absurd.

Matthew Barra/Pexels

Ah yes, the ultimate freedom: A casino prison at sea.

In 2020, three crypto dudes were absolutely convinced that the ultimate form of freedom and future living would be to buy a cruise ship, go stick it off the coast of Panama, and start a cult colony of crypto-miners because they obviously do not give a shit about the fact that their hobby is messing up the planet. Honestly, it's more of a Doomsday approach than any actual attempt toward some kind of progressive "freedom." 

And again, because we cannot stress the absurdism enough, it's on a cruise ship. If you haven't been on one of those giant bobbing water cages, you may be forgiven for not knowing how laughable the idea of freedom on a freaking cruise ship sounds because most of those cabins are so tiny it feels like you're living in a cupboard. You have to eat around a schedule (no self-catering facilities in your room, maggot!), and while those ships might seem pretty big, that's the only surface you have access to because, well, you're in the middle of the goddamn ocean.

Lachlan Ross/Pexels

Pictured: Freedom.

But for Grant Romundt, Rüdiger Koch, and Chad Elwartowski, those things didn’t matter. All they wanted was a place free from outside governmental control, and their crypto-brains told them that such a place would be the great wide sea. So when the pandemic hit the cruise ship industry like a hurricane, these "seasteading" enthusiasts scored on the sale of the Pacific Dawn, an eleven-decker ship they promptly renamed the Satoshi after crypto creator(s) Satoshi Nakamoto. Of course, their venture failed miserably because no one apparently told them just how tightly regulated the high seas actually are. The cabins of their Bitcoin boat didn't sell – oh, yeah, they literally wanted to add a B-shaped platform to the ship for agriculture and manufacturing ... things -- and the guys didn't have a clue how a cruise ship even operated, leaving it all to the Captain who had to tell them they needed a myriad of certificates and official papers just to get out of the harbor. 

It should probably be mentioned here that these guys were inspired to go (bit)coin at sea by the Seasteading Institute, a company that aims to build "floating societies with significant political autonomy" but has yet to add a successful project to its name. And by floating societies, they're actually talking about startup companies who will "enrich the poor, cure the sick, feed the hungry," as their website so boldly states. It's a think tank, where tech guys make money for throwing their ideas around and calling themselves "seavangelists," all in the name of empowering others — even those who think freedom is a shitty floating hotel.

Out at sea (finally), getting rid of sewage turned out to be one of the Satoshi boys' biggest problems because who knew you can't just dump your literal shit in the waters off of some country's coast? Such totalitarianism. Also, no one wanted to insure them because it's kind of difficult doing a risk analysis of something that's never been done before and seems to be in the hands of crypto bros who clearly don't know what they're doing. These guys had no idea that it would cost around $1 million per month just to maintain the Satoshi or that fuel alone would cost a whopping $12,000 a day. Halfway through their Atlantic voyage, they realized that the plug on their utopian adventure had to be pulled and admitted that it may not have been the best idea hahaha of course they didn't. No, they blamed the cruise ship industry for being "plagued by over-regulation." One of the founders declared their failure as "the New Normal, Great Reset gaining another victim," referring to QAnon's COVID conspiracy theory that the pandemic was nothing more than a scheme concocted by the global elite.

But really, this is just the kind of dumb idea one might expect from guys hailing from an all-male, frat-type San Francisco posse who obsesses over Tony Robbins' books titled Unlimited Power and Awaken The Giant Within. Oh, and also rich men who just really don't want to pay their taxes.

The Seasteading Institute

Zanandi is on Twitter and wrote a comic for Trailer Park Boys that you can order here. 

Top Image: Kolma8/Wikimedia Commons

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