Never heard of seasteading? Don’t worry, you’re not the only one. Indeed, few people are aware of this phenomenon that could potentially be huge in the years ahead. It is the perfect time to learn about the concept, as the embryonic industry is ripe for investment and has limitless scaling potential.
As the world’s population continues to increase exponentially, seasteading offers an opportunity to expand the inhabitable parts of the planet tenfold. If we are unable to get to Mars and set up colonies there, this could be the answer.
What is Seasteading?
The word seastead is a portmanteau of sea and homestead, and the act of creating and living on seasteads is known as seasteading. The concept is that, instead of using up resources and space on land, people can build new cities and societies in the vast abundance of space available at sea.
These permanent dwellings would be constructed on international waters, outside the jurisdiction of any government. This means that they would be self-governed and could adopt a self-sufficient, socialist structure.
The main organisation behind the development of these projects out at sea is The Seasteading Institute (TSI), which was formed in 2008 by Wayne Gramlich and Patri Friedman. It gained mainstream attention when one of the cofounders of PayPal, Peter Thiel, donated $500,000 in initial seed capital.
One of the major innovations and designs put forward by TSI was the ClubStead design in 2009. This is a 200-person resort measuring around the same size as a city block. It was produced by the Marine Innovation Technologies consultancy firm.
What are the Criticisms of Seasteading?
There is no surprise that such an outlandish and ground-breaking venture would be subject to a lot of criticism, and there have been some strong arguments against seasteading over the last ten years. One of the issues is that the creation of new self-governing structures outside the realms of other nations will be difficult to begin with, and could lead to disputes and power struggles.
The main concern of many critics is the simple fact that these structures will be too uncomfortable and cut off from culture, entertainment, and other things that we have come to take for granted in our everyday lives.
However, there is a counter-argument for the naysayers in that a lot of these things have successfully shifted to an online setting, and can be enjoyed from even the most remote parts of the world.
Entertainment, in particular, has undergone a massive shift to the online world in recent years and the industry is thriving now more than ever. A lot of traditional ways of consuming entertainment now seem antiquated in the internet age, as sprawling internet libraries have taken over.
For example, Betway is a vast online entertainment platform with options to suit a wide variety of different people. There are live casino games that put players in touch with real dealers, along with slots that feature many different themes including some based on other areas of popular culture. Another example of this model is Netflix, which is now beginning to negate the need for cinema with its blockbuster releases like Bird Box and Bright.
These entertainment platforms would give people living on seasteads access to all the same things that they have at their fingertips on land. In addition to using the internet to keep in touch with the rest of the world, individual seasteads could end up developing their own cultures over time. For this reason, the lack of culture in the early phases should not be seen as a detrimental factor.
Is it Worthy of Investment?
The big question that everyone must be wondering is whether seasteads can represent a viable business or investment opportunity. Is this the next big thing that is going to blow up in ten years’ time and then have everyone kicking themselves that they didn’t get involved sooner? Certainly, some people who already got rich on bitcoin, for example, would vouch for that.
One of the first known seasteads was floating off the coast of Phuket in Thailand in 2019. The residents of it, Chad Elwartowski and Supranee Thepdet, were early investors in bitcoin and made millions from the cryptocurrency.
Unfortunately for them, though, the Thai authorities claimed that the seastead was in their waters and towed it in. The fact that these shrewd bitcoin investors also believe in seasteading could be an indication that the industry is destined for big things.
There are some that have anticipated that seasteads could represent the next big property boom, but, as it stands, it is all just speculation.
There are so many logistical problems with the floating cities at the moment, that it doesn’t seem realistic to imagine they will exist for at least another ten years. By then, though, entertainment options online will have improved even more, and it may be much easier to find comfort in remote locations.