Sorry Silicon Valley: Your Floating, Lawless Tech Incubator Is Still Two Years Off

The utopian tech community of Blueseed. (Image:

The libertarian contingent in Silicon Valley has long been fascinated by the possibilities of living independently in international waters, where taxes can be avoided and talented developers can be imported from around the world to work in a kind of floating sweatshop without the hindrance of securing an HB-1 visa. So it’s no surprise that two entrepreneurs have gotten interest from more than 240 startups for a visa-free tech incubator on a boat 12 miles off the coast of Northern California, which hopes to foster startups until they’re large enough that U.S. Citizen and Immigration services “takes them seriously,” as cofounder Max Marty told InformationWeek. Followers on AngelList are already calling it the “Visa Boat” and “jurisdictional arbitrage.”

The project is called Blueseed, and rents will range from $1,200 for a shared cabin to $3,000 for the best single-person room. Blueseed, still in the “concept vessels” stage, raised $50,000 in the fall. The founders hope to launch in the third quarter of 2013, if all goes well, and will provide Internet access, 24-hour dining and other modern conveniences as well as the expected startup perks such as a game room and gym.  “Silicon Valley’s visa-free offshore startup community,” says the website.

Of course, they’ll need a whole lot more than that measly $50K. Paging Peter Thiel.

Paypal Mafia

PayPal Cofounder Peter Thiel Wants to Found a Libertarian Utopia in Honduras

Mr. Friedman (

We’re not sure how closely you follow the fascinating world of college dropout fans Peter Thiel & Pals, but the writers at Betabeat have had more than one animated conversation about Thiel-funded libertarian utopias and life longevity experiments. One of the PayPal cofounder’s buddies is Patri Friedman, the San Francisco-based grandson of economist Milton Friedman, who shares some of Mr. Thiel’s notions of libertarian politics: mainly, that establishing floating cities in international zones will “give people the opportunity to peacefully test new ideas about how to live together.”

Mr. Thiel has funneled millions into the Seasteading Institute, the primary initiative working to construct these floating cities, which is the brainchild of Mr. Friedman. But recently, Mr. Friedman stepped down as the institute’s executive officer to become chairman of the board, a move that had some wondering whether Mr. Thiel and Mr. Friedman had had a falling out. Read More