THE WORLD’S first floating city will boast its own government and cryptocurrency when it lays roots in the South Pacific in 2022, claim its backers.
Building work on this isolated “utopia” will begin next year following the signing of an agreement with French Polynesia’s government in 2017.
The floating town is the brainchild of the Seasteading Institute, a non-profit co-founded by tech billionaire Peter Thiel (who sits on Facebook’s board and is a former adviser to US President Donald Trump).
It’s teaming up with a private entity called Blue Frontiers to build 300 houses on a seaborne platform off the island of Tahiti that will run under its own governance and boast its own money.
Joe Quirk, who heads up both organisations, has also stressed the eco-friendly potential of the sci-fi project, which will tap huge solar panels and wind turbines for clean energy.
“It would help people adjust to sea level rise, and experiment with voluntary governance,” he previously said.
“French Polynesia’s concerned they may lose a third of their islands by the end of this century. Right next door is Kiribati, which is concerned it could completely disappear.”
Now, almost a decade after it was dreamed up, Seasteading has begun the rollout of its cryptocurrency dubbed “Varyon”.
Nonetheless, presales for the Varyon token kicked off on Thursday, offering bonuses from 5% to 15%, and will end on July 14, according to Business Insider.
There’s no word on when the public can get on board, which could draw yet more ire from critics who previously slammed the idea as elitist and impractical.
Varyon coins will be required for the purchasing of housing and building of new seasteads – Quirk once said that thousands of these floating nations will set sail by 2050.
“Varyon may be used to pay Blue Frontiers for the registration of businesses, residency, and virtual residency in Blue Frontiers’ administered SeaZones,” explains the company in a Medium post.
“Varyon may be used to pay the major utilities provided by Blue Frontiers, such as electricity, cable services, sanitation services, etc.
“Additionally, Varyon is a tradable token which can be used independently of Blue Frontiers. Blue Frontiers will work with outside partners to establish other use cases and systems for Varyon beyond what is listed above.”
Randolph Hencken, executive director of the institute, previously said: “What we’re interested in is societal choice and having a location where we can try things that haven’t been tried before.
“I don’t think it will be that dramatically radical in the first renditions.
“We were looking for sheltered waters, we don’t want to be out in the open ocean – it’s technologically possible but economically outrageous to afford.
“If we can be behind a reef break, then we can design floating platforms that are sufficient for those waters at an affordable cost. We don’t have to start from scratch as this is a pilot project.
“They also have very stable institutions so we’re able to work with a government that wants us there, that we have respect for and they have respect for us.”
Randolph added that he was confident the project could benefit the French Polynesia’s economy – and draw in a fresh wave of tourism.