Venture capitalist and Paypal co-founder Peter Thiel is inching closer towards realizing his dream of creating a government-free floating island utopia for tech startups off the coast of San Francisco. When last we checked in with Thiel and his cohort, former Google engineer and seasteading activist Patri Friedman, the idea was little more than a libertarian speech with some artist's renderings attached. Now, riding a wave of investment capital from Thiel, the project has a website, a course to set sail, and a lineup of nearly 100 international technology companies that are ready to literally get onboard.
The project, which is now called Blueseed, is led by a team of execs plucked from Thiel's Seasteading Institute. Although the original plans for the floating tech village looked something like a fancy oil rig from the future, the latest plan is to either convert a cruise ship or remodel an old barge in to a swanky island anchored just outside the jurisdiction of the United States.
Blueseed hopes to have room for around 1,000 inhabitants in the live/work cruise ship of their dreams, with all-inclusive rent estimated at about $1,200 to $3,000 per month — or about what you'd pay for a slick 1-bedroom near Caltrain. And speaking of commuting the company hopes to run twice-daily ferrys from Half Moon Bay.
The primary goal of the new island nation is to allow international entrepreneurs a chance to get close to Silicon Valley's white-hot startup scene without all the messy paperwork involved in actually obtaining a work visa. According to Blueseed's own research, deportation of foreigners with Master's Degrees or Ph.Ds in Computer Science is becoming a real problem in this country. Australian brogrammers, for example, are apparently excited about the plan, making up about 6% of the demand for onboard space.
One pressing concern still remains though: "What about pirates?" asks the company's FAQ. According to Blueseed's pirate expert, "they don't exist near California to begin with." We'll see if that holds true once someone with crabbing ship and a handful of black market assault rifles figures out there's a boat with free WiFi and 1,000 unattended MacBooks floating out there.
Previously: This is Why People Hate San Francisco: Volume 9