Sink or Swim 2010 Business Contest

Press Release

The Seasteading Institute Launches “Sink Or Swim”, the First Seasteading Business Plan Competition

Contest Invites Entrepreneurs to Explore Business Opportunities in the Ocean

July 5th, 2010 – The Seasteading Institute, together with HumanIPO and Premium Advice are proud to announce Sink or Swim, the first seasteading business plan competition. Draft submissions will be accepted until Oct 8th, 2010. With prizes of $5,000, this contest aims to inspire innovative entrepreneurs from around the world to create business plans that would succeed aboard a politically autonomous ocean platform. These “seasteads” will be homesteads on the high seas — in other words, permanent dwellings on the ocean. A seastead is a structure specifically designed for the purpose of long-term living in a marine environment.

New business ventures have a lot to gain from locating in a legal and regulatory environment customized to their needs and catering to their bottom line. We’ve seen examples of this in the meteoric growth of Hong Kong and Singapore, and seasteading promises to open the frontiers of commerce even further. Sink or Swim challenges contestants to overcome what obstacles may arise and calls upon these contestants to think outside the traditional bounds of a business plan in considering the legal, political, and economic benefits of doing business on the ocean.

“For seasteading to succeed and grow sustainably, it must produce value and attract a community of entrepreneurs and investors” stated Patri Friedman, TSI’s Executive Director. “This contest will demonstrate the wide variety of businesses which can be beneficially located on a seastead.”

The first place winner will be awarded $2,500, and a further $2,500 will be awarded among winners in the other prize categories. Winners will also receive exposure to potential investors and invitations to join The Commercial Seasteading Network.

For more information, including rules and how to enter, click here, or contact us at for any questions.


4 thoughts on “Sink or Swim 2010 Business Contest”

  1. “Seasteads present some atypical challenges in creating a business model.  Keep the following in mind when working on your submission:

    • Early-stage seasteads will have 50-200 people living aboard.”


    Are business plans for single family seasteads not welcome in this contest?

      – Vince


  2. The business contest is focusing on TSI’s beliefs about the best immediate-term strategy, which is to get a 50-200 person cruise ship. We have limited resources and cannot in good conscious fund strategies which we think are less likely to work. If someone wanted to sponsor an SFS prize category, as well as donating to the general prize pool an amount big enough to boost our publicity and ensure the category isn’t cannibalizing entries from others, we’d certainly consider it.


    I think it is a mistake to design a contest to exclude possible seastead solutions.  An open contest can do an amazing job of exploring a design space but if too specific people can only do what you expected.  If TSI ever holds contests open to single family designs please let me know.

    — Vince

  4. I believe “Mind Uploading” aka “Whole Brain Emulation” aka “Substrate Independent Minds” will become feasible within about 20 to 30 years. Currently the legal situation is obviously not suited for this kind of endeavor. This means that at least you will loose your property since a computer program cannot own property. You will have to die “naturally” to get scanned. If what kills you is a neurodegenerative disease, there is likely no point any more to do the procedure. One want’s to do it before getting frail – I certainly do. Ending one’s biological life and have the brain scanned is illegal in the extreme in all legislations I know of, however. Maybe it will be possible to have the law changed in at least one legislation. But I seriously doubt this.

    A sovereign seasteading community that tolerates Substrate Independent Minds would be a solution to this problem. It might even be a raison d’etre for the seastead. It might also be a business concept to rent rackspace (which is why I posted this in the Bizplan thread). It would give the seasteading community a competitive edge because of the inherent advantages Substrate Independent Minds have, compared to biological humans.

    Did anyone of the Seasteading and ASIM communities get in touch at the Singularity Summit 2010?


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