Press Mentions

Will cities of the future FLOAT? $167 million project using concrete platforms could be home to 300 people by 2020

DailyMail, July 8, 2015

If waking up to a sea breeze and panoramic ocean views is your idea of heaven, you might consider moving to a floating city.

A group of marine biologists, nautical engineers and environmentalists backed by Paypal founder Peter Thiel, plans on building a floating city, or ‘seastead’ as soon as in 2020.

While this may be an ambitious plan, the group has settled on the design and believes semi-independent cities would be the perfect place to try new modes of government and agricultural methods, for example, in a bid to work out how to tackle the world’s problems.

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It’s Happening: Seasteading — Liberty Through Floating Cities

The Tom Woods Show, March 20, 2015

Libertarian talk show host interviews The Seasteading Institute Seavangelist Joe Quirk.

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Seasteading: The Reality TV Show

Reason, February 23, 2015

The Seasteading Institute’s reality TV show gets a mention in Reason.

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Daring Dutch documentary “Cybertopia” features Peter Thiel and Randolph Hencken

Dutch TV, January 25, 2015

This Dutch documentary is the most daring and honest portrayal we’ve seen about the emerging Silicon Valley ethos. It features seasteading, the 6 Californias Initiative, Burning Man, Googleplex, Draper University, Elon Musk, and Peter Thiel’s most provocative declarations. Seasteading is featured from 0:50 to 2:50, and again at 40:00. Narration in Dutch but interviews in English. It’s worth watching the entire 48-minute documentary.

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“The City of the Future Bobbing in the Ocean?” with Randolph Hencken

KIJK Magazine January 2015 Issue

This Dutch documentary is the most daring and honest portrayal we’ve seen about the emerging Silicon Valley ethos. It features seasteading, the 6 Californias Initiative, Burning Man, Googleplex, Draper University, Elon Musk, and Peter Thiel’s most provocative declarations. Seasteading is featured from 0:50 to 2:50, and again at 40:00. Narration in Dutch but interviews in English. It’s worth watching the entire 48-minute documentary.

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The Seasteading Frontier Podcast with Joe Quirk

Real Clear Radio Hour, December 6, 2014

“Joe Quirk of the Seasteading Institute, who proudly dubs himself a “Seavangelist,” describes how floating communities would encourage governments to act more like companies rather than monopolies and treat citizens more like customers whose loyalty they must earn. Using the cruise industry as a model, Quirk predicts seasteading will become a reality for “aqua-preneurs” by the year 2020.”

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Radical Offshore Living

Power & Market, October 21, 2014

The recent Power & Market Report weekly podcast features an interview with our Executive Director, Randolph Hencken, talking about seasteading and how it can help improve our governments.

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Seasteading Institute Puts Floating City Technology to the Test

Factor, October 20, 2014

The Seasteading Institute, the most high-profile organisation involved in the development of floating cities, has announced that it has begun testing the technology that forms the basis for its planned floating metropolis.

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Has Floating Architecture’s Moment Finally Arrived?

Next City, October 1, 2014

“With the technology and market demand in place, it’s political will and ownership issues that are holding development back. People have trouble imagining an urban future where city halls can be swapped for theaters on opening night, or entire Olympic villages can simply be towed around the world instead of rebuilt every four years.”

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“The Entrepreneurs” Interview Joe Quirk

Monocle, July 14, 2014

Audio interview with Joe Quirk starts at 24:30, when “we go offshore in San Francisco to explore the seasteading scene”. You may need to download the interview to listen.

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Seasteading has enormous potential in Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan

e27, July 10, 2014

The Director of Communications at the Seasteading Institute Joe Quirk provides insights into the possibilities of seasteading and how Asia Pacific can benefit from it.

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Are Floating Cities the Wave of the Future?

Bloomberg TV, June 10, 2014

Patri Friedman, Chairman of the Seasteading Institute, and Randy Hencken, Executive Director, discuss the feasibility of floating cities with Pimm Fox on Bloomberg Television’s “Taking Stock.”

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All Aboard! Could Floating City-States Free From Government Interference Be the Wave of the Future?

Bloomberg Pursuits, May 27, 2014

The year is 2024, and Friedman lives on a so-called seastead, a waterbound city of some 1,000 people who produce their own food, their own energy and—most important—their own laws.

[Interestingly, Bloomberg changed the article’s title for their on-line re-publication, and doubled the number of times the word “libertarian” is used.]

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The First “Seastead” with Substantial Autonomy by 2020?

PanAm Post, May 6, 2014

Latest Research Affirms Market, Practical Design, Feasible Host Nations:

A market for residential seasteads exists, so says the Seasteading Institute in their newly published “Floating City Project” report (PDF). The 134-page publication — prepared between March 2013 and March 2014 and released on April 25 — is an initiative that seeks to establish the world’s first seastead within territorial waters of a host nation.

The authors, led by Randolph Hencken, set out to establish “the feasibility of developing a floating city before the end of the decade.” In addition to the presence of considerable market demand, they conclude that (1) a practical design can be built to match the market’s price point and (2) it is likely that the Seasteading Institute can reach a deal with a host nation.

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Adam Carolla Becomes a Seasteader Live During Interview with Joe Quirk

The Adam Carolla Show, April 30, 2014

“Joe, I like you, because we’re simpatico on this whole part about competition…I don’t know why we think people, the government, or anyone is going to do the right thing without the incentive and the competition…This whole seasteading thing, man, that just takes it to a whole new strata. That is just absolutely amazing. I love that—I love that—I just love that idea. The book is going to be published in about a year.”

The Adam Carolla Show won the Guinness book of World Records most downloaded podcast. Comedian, entrepreneur, and author Adam Carolla converted to seasteading live on his show. Adam got so excited about competitive governance on the oceans during his interview with me he skipped the news section.

How to Fail to Turn Adam Carolla into a Seasteader.

44:00: Polite discussion about algae and blue technologies.

How to Turn Adam Carolla into a Seasteader.

1:00:52: I accuse Adam Carolla of plagiarizing Robert Ballard, the discoverer of the RMS Titanic.

1:02:10: Adam Carolla brings up Waterworld, a sore point for seasteaders.

1:02:33: I call Adam and Bryan “old fucks.”

1:02:25: Adam realizes seasteading will be like the TV show The Love Boat, which is not a sore point for seasteaders.

1:02:51: Quirkstradamus predicts the ocean future.

1:03:30: Adam Carolla’s conversion moment.

1:03:59: Adam Carolla rants about competitive governance in the film industry using the metaphor of floating feces.

1:06:00: Adam Carolla makes sexy sound as seasteading slides into his soul.

1:06:56: Adam Carolla, author of President Me, promises a dinghy in every garage and a squid in every pot.

And the best part? If President Carolla fails in his duties as President of Carollastead, we can always leave.

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Floating Farms

Modern Farmer, March 19, 2014

Besides Blue Revolution Hawaii, a venture called the Seasteading Institute is the most serious U.S. player in the ocean colonization movement. “[Seasteading] will catch on as people discover you can farm the ocean just like you can farm the land,” says Charlie Deist, research coordinator for the Seasteading Institute. “You can have a relatively pure version of homesteading.”

Based in the Bay Area, the group is suffused with the big talk and zeal of a startup, as well as some of the funding — PayPal founder Peter Thiel has given them well over $2 million. Their dreams are grandiose and ideologically driven; John Locke and the right to individual liberty feature large. The institute believes the first ocean settlements will exist by 2020, and has partnered with an upscale Dutch design firm to facilitate that vision.

Blue Revolution Hawaii is more motivated by science than politics, and the group has yet to attract a wealthy patron. But what it lacks in capital, it makes up in know-how. Blue Revolution’s brain trust includes experts in oceanic energy, mariculture (aquaculture as practiced in the ocean) and more traditional, land-based farming. This loosely aligned cluster of men believes that the building blocks already exist for a necessary transition to the ocean.

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Worried About Earth? Hit the High Seas

Tyee, March 1, 2014

About six years ago, a group based in California’s Bay Area, led by the grandson of U.S. economist Milton Friedman, began designing and raising money for a floating ocean city-state, whose citizens could harness the sea to solve hunger, cure sickness and fix climate change. “There’s a rich history of people imagining a better society… on the ocean,” the Seasteading Institute’s Joe Quirk told me recently in San Francisco. “The difference now is that the technology to do this is at hand.”

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Radio: Silicon Galley?

NPR’s Marketplace, February 11, 2014

Does Silicon Valley exhibit the qualities of an island? An outpost with its own rules? Or, insular and cut off from society? The popular radio show Marketplace recently covered this theme in a six minute segment connecting the vision of seasteading with recent developments in the Bay Area technology hub. The segment covers both Blueseed’s concept for an visa-free technology startup incubator, as well as the broader idea of seasteading as explained by the Institute’s executive director, Randolph Hencken. Far from seeking to insulate themselves, Randy notes, inhabitants of floating cities will be the kinds of people who want to do good things for humanity.

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Seasteading Misconceptions

Business Insider, November 16, 2013

1. Peter Thiel isn’t trying to create his own private country. Thiel is outspoken on his Libertarian views and he’s a major supporter of seasteading, but it’s because it allows for new kinds of freedom for anyone who wants it, not because he wants to rule over a private island.

2. Seasteading is not about creating tax havens. It’s about experimenting with new ways to live. Sure, taxes would probably work much differently, but by no means is this the focus.

3. A seastead would not be some sort of lawless Wild West town on water. Hencken offered the example criticism of building codes – they’re fairly niche rules that all would agree matter for safety’s sake. While a seastead might not have explicit building codes written on paper somewhere, no one would be allowed to build something deemed unsafe.

Seasteading disrupts politics the same way that tech startups disrupt larger companies that aren’t nimble enough to stay innovative. It’s clear to see why Patri Friedman, co-founder of the The Seasteading institute, calls the idea “an apolitical solution to politics.”

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The Next Generation Of Pilgrims Want To Start Own Countries At Sea

Business Insider, November 9, 2013

Your hip, politically savvy friends probably say something like this with every election: “If [so-and-so] wins, I’m leaving the country.”

That might soon become so possible that they’ll have to follow through with it.

Seasteading is a Libertarian’s dream realized. It involves setting up floating cities at sea, 200 miles off the coast of a country so as to not be subject to its laws. Call it an experiment in governance, call it a way to live under a new set of rules of your own creation, maybe even a way to start your life over. You may one day be setting up your own sovereign nation.

Patri Friedman (grandson of the famed Milton Friedman) is one of the main proponents of seasteading, and he set up The Seasteading Foundation to educate people and generate interest. And there’s loads of interest. Even billionaire investor Peter Thiel, known for his outspoken Libertarian leanings, is pushing for this to become a practical reality.

There are some challenges, of course, but we already do a simpler version of this all the time. In an interview on Glenn Beck’s Blaze Network, Randolph Hencken, executive director of The Seasteading Institute, explained that cruise ships already ferry about 10 million people a year – roughly the population of Sweden – and are already practically floating cities. Cruise ships have a certain political flexibility with their dock in one country and be owned by a corporation in another.

Patri Friedman sees this as a way for people people to get to live under the system they want and to create data about whether that system actually works.

He offers the following analogy:

“Why are people using governmental systems from 1787? A car from 1787 would be a horse!”

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Ocean living: A step closer to reality?, November 1, 2013

The Seasteading Institute has also been dealing with the challenges faced by communities trying to live permanently on the ocean. It is an audacious but essentially pragmatic endeavour. Taking a cue from the Tanka people, the plan is locate in the protected, territorial waters of a nation willing to “host” the structures and their inhabitants. With help from the Dutch aquatic architecture firm DeltaSync, the institute hopes to design something that will meet the needs of residents, and the host nation. From a calm coastal area, the logistical challenges needed allow a community to live on the high seas can be solved one at a time.

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Blue Revolution – Seasteading

Sensa Nostra, October 31, 2013

Randolph Hencken, 37, is the Executive Director of The Seasteading Institute, a San Francisco Bay Area-based non-profit think tank that seeks to create so-called ‘experimental zones’ on the ocean. These autonomous, floating city-states, or ‘seasteads’, would be places where new political, environmental, scientific, legal, and social policies could be incubated, free from the restrictions and interference of existing governments. He shares his personal inspiration, as well as the organization’s goals and vision for the the future of what he calls the ‘Blue Revolution’.

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h+ Magazine Interviews Randolph Hencken

h+ Magazine, September 12, 2013

Humanity+, one of the leading futurist/transhumanist advocacy organizations, recently featured an interview with Randy Hencken in its online h+ publication. Jesse Barksdale, the interviewer, asked a number of questions to introduce h+’s audience to our mission, and our latest strategy for making floating cities a reality. Barksdale draws a good analogy between the entry-and-exit model of seasteading citizenship (aka “voting with your boat”) and recurring membership fees. Hencken responded with the observation that the option to withdraw one’s residence, along with the associated tax payments, directly impacts a business or government’s bottom line, whereas traditional democratic citizenship often leaves minorities completely powerless to sway policies.

The interview also contains tidbits on the early findings of our Floating City Project survey, and the most “far out” seasteading business models we’ve come across in our five years of research and movement building.

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Interview: Randolph Hencken, Executive Director of The Seasteading Institute, August 13, 2013

In the wake of a depressed economy and septic political system many Americans are looking for alternatives – both for some solace in the stormy present, as well as for a vision of the future. An organization proposing one of the more radical alternatives is the Seasteading Institute. The Institute is not proposing reform nor revolution but, in essence, separation.

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Why Doesn’t Government Get Better?

Huffington Post, May 28, 2013

This piece was written by 18-year-old seasteading ambassador Josiah Tullis, for the Huffington Post’s Politics Blog.

Government is a science. Political science is, according to Aristotle, the study of the state. But if governance is a science why don’t we see more experimenting with the state? Why aren’t we trying new things in government? Certainly, there’s a great handful of think-tanks and professors conducting research into public policy, but how about some good old fashioned scientific experimentation? Why don’t we model our theories of society and test out their reality in controlled environments? Why don’t we experiment with civilization and political systems? What I want to know is why, in an age of increasingly rapid progress, we haven’t created a system that allows us to actually innovate government?

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Why do ‘Seasteaders’ Love Bitcoin?

CoinDesk, May 24, 2013

Bitcoin represents more than a digital currency. For many adopters, it is a means of breaking free of government and financial institutions’ control over money.

The Seasteading Institute shares those ideals. Just as libertarians in the Bitcoin community see the currency as a way to get free of fiat and avoid the financial transaction roadblocks erected at national boundaries or through credit regulations, seasteaders put their hope into the idea of new, independent cities as a way to escape the stranglehold of government systems.

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Don’t Like The Government? Make Your Own, On International Waters

NPR’s All Things Considered, December 17, 2012

[MP3 Download]

NPR’s All Things Considered is the latest prominent news show to take an interest in seasteading. Earlier today, the program aired a six-minute segment titled, “Don’t like the government? Make your own, on international waters“; we are grateful to the segment’s producer, Laura Sydell, for her more than year-long effort to put the story together. Overall, Sydell did a good job presenting our mission to NPR’s listeners. At the same time, we wish to address a few points where the story fell short.

Our biggest grievance was the segment’s failure to recognize seasteading as a movement to enable multiple competing visions of governance. Professor Holly Folk, the expert featured to provide a counter-argument to seasteading, demonstrated her incomplete understanding of our strategy by focusing on potential problems with starting a new libertarian intentional community. She alleges a desire by seasteaders to “game the global system,” and claims libertarians have “a worldview that’s going to be attractive to people who are in some ways probably not hard-wired to behave and take orders very well.” The segment contains no evidence for the first allegation. Folk’s second claim might have some validity, but only if we were advocating a single community based on a contrarian philosophy.

Another disappointment was the labeling of our supporters as “rich techies,” a framing which hardly does justice to the diverse composition of our movement. The defining feature of our local meetup attendees has always been passion for alternatives to the governing status quo, and dedication to enabling a broad range of new communities experimenting with innovative solutions. Being so close to Silicon Valley, many of our local supporters are naturally interested in harnessing recent technological progress to advance humanity in other realms, such as the rules for organizing into peaceful and prosperous societies.

Additionally, the references to profits as the motivation behind our efforts are overdone. Yes, the Institute explores ideas for making seasteads economically sustainable, but profits merely exist to signal which seasteads are meeting the demands of citizens and customers, and to encourage innovation. Seastead communities will not be “built around profits” any more than existing communities on land, which of course depend on the existence of economic opportunity to support their citizens.

As diverse as our support is, it continues to frustrate us when the media pigeonholes the concept of seasteading as exclusively libertarian. Fortunately, history will not remember us for a particular ideology, but instead for our pioneering of a movement to improve all of humanity’s relationship to its governments, and to the planet. We are hopeful our true vision will still reach many of NPR’s listeners, and we appreciate the opportunity to be showcased to their audience.

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Moon? Mars? No, it’s seaward ho!

New Scientist, September 28, 2012

The vastness of Earth’s oceans and the limited extent of our knowledge and occupation of them often invites comparisons with space. But they are much more attainable than the moon or Mars. Hence the enduring fascination with “seasteading“, the idea of building permanent settlements at sea (see “Brave new sea worlds to redefine society“).

Those who push the idea are often dismissed as libertarian fantasists. The seasteading movement has its fair share of those, but it is also home to pioneers longing to conquer a new frontier.

We already have The World, a private residential yacht with permanent wealthy occupants cruising the globe. That hardly fulfils the vision of wagons rolling west. But it may be the start of something bigger. Shifting climate was what drove our African ancestors to colonise the world (see “Climate change determined humanity’s global conquest“). As climate and population pressures ramp up, perhaps the lure of the wide blue yonder will prove irresistible.

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Start-up Nations on the High Seas

Discover Magazine, September 2012

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Center for International Maritime Security interviews The Seasteading Institute

CIMSEC, August 27, 2012

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Getting Around Big Government: The Seastead Revolution Begins to Take Shape

Forbes, July 30, 2012

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Peter Thiel Convenes His League of Extraordinary Wackaloons

Forbes, December 15, 2011

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Seasteading: Cities on the Ocean

The Economist Technology Quarterly, December, 3, 2011

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Names You Need To Know In 2011: Patri Friedman, November 2010; Forbes Magazine January 2011. Circulation 900,000.

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20,000 Nation Above the Sea. Is floating the last, best hope for liberty?

Reason Magazine, July 2009. Circulation 60,000.

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Live Free or Drown

Wired Magazine Article, January 19, 2009, Circulation 790,000.

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Press Mentions Archive