We haven't heard anything on this since 2008, but The Daily Mail reports that Peter Thiel, the founder of PayPal, is continuing his work towards making a Rapture-esque "Start-Up Country" off the coast of San Francisco.

The floating sovereign nations that Thiel imagines would be built on oil-rig-like platforms anchored in areas free of regulation, laws, and moral conventions.

The Seasteading Institute says it will 'give people the freedom to choose the government they want instead of being stuck with the government they get.'

The venture capitalist who famously helped Facebook expand beyond the Harvard campus, Mr Thiel called seasteading an 'open a frontier for experimenting with new ideas for government.'

After making his first investment in the project in 2008, Mr Thiel said: 'Decades from now, those looking back at the start of the century will understand that Seasteading was an obvious step towards encouraging the development of more efficient, practical public sector models around the world.

Of course, this sounds eerily familiar to any who have played Bioshock or its sequels—in those games, billionaire industrialist Andrew Ryan followed similar dreams to the bottom of the ocean, creating the Ayn Rand-inspired objectivist utopia Rapture. In the game's fiction, everything was peachy until...well, until it wasn't. And everyone pretty much died.

Thiel plans to have "tens of millions" of residents by 2050, linking together a huge number of floating structures, each of which can hold 270 individuals, into a vast nautical super-structure.


"There are quite a lot of people who think it's not possible," Thiel tells the Daily Mail. "That's a good thing. We don't need to really worry about those people very much, because since they don't think it's possible they won't take us very seriously. And they will not actually try to stop us until it's too late."

In a more in-depth profile in Details Magazine, Thiel elaborates on his plans to build these "Seasteads," a program on which he has reportedly already spent $1.25 million.

"When you start a company, true freedom is at the beginning of things," he says and slides the thought over to the topic of nations. "The United States Constitution had things you could do at the beginning that you couldn't do later. So the question is, can you go back to the beginning of things? How do you start over?"


Questions abound. Will Thiel's floating city have a dramatic, evocative name? Given that it will be "free of regulation, laws, and moral conventions," will he perhaps institute some sort of ADAM-based genetic engineering? Is he a big golfer? Does this plan eventually involve relocation to the bottom of the ocean or to the skies above?


I for one am glad Thiel is still at it. Hopefully soon it'll be time to grab my wrench, my diving suit, and some potato chips and go sign a new lease.

The Billionaire King of Techtopia [Details]

Silicon Valley billionaire reveals plan to launch floating 'start up country' off San Francisco [Daily Mail]


You can contact Kirk Hamilton, the author of this post, at kirk@kotaku.com. You can also find him on Twitter, Facebook, and lurking around our #tips page.