American Bitcoin investor Chad Elwartowski and Thai girlfriend Supranee Thepdet, nicknamed Bitcoin Girl Thailand, have gone into hiding having been accused of violating Thailand’s sovereignty; a charge that could carry a death sentence under Thai law.
The couple constructed a platform home known as a “seastead” in international waters 12 nautical miles from the shoreline at Phuket, Thailand’s tourist island playground. Seasteads are permanent dwellings at sea outside the territory claimed by any government, and the name comes from the term ‘homesteading’, which clearly links to early US settlement where homesteaders were free from government intervention.
Elwartowski claims the “living platform” in the Andaman Se4a was built in pursuit of freedom, a view not shared by the Thai navy who claim that the couple “did not seek permission from Thailand” and have now have asked the Marine Department to remove the seastead from the water due to its danger to shipping. Early Bitcoin adopter Elwartowski, who allegedly paid USD 150,000 for the seastead, says that he now fears for his life, speaking to ABC 7 News :
“The Thai military wants us dead. The way things work here in Thailand is that they set the narrative in their media then execute it. …The narrative is that we are a threat to national security and we face life in prison or death. They did not want us to survive to get our side out.”
Phuket police colonel Nikorn Somsuk said, “The navy and its team found a concrete tank floating on the sea but there was no one on it. So they filed a charge citing criminal code article 119,”. That law carries stiff penalties, including a maximum death sentence if found guilty.
The couple belongs to a community of Bitcoin entrepreneurs planning to build sea-based homes outside of territorial waters and had planned to lure other 20 Bitcoin investors to build homes around their seastead.
Elwartowski’s Thai girlfriend Thepdet was clearly not concerned about keeping their sea-based home a secret before they went into hiding, recently posting pictures on Instagram of them lounging on their platform drinking champagne.
More traditional properties are still being sold for cryptocurrency in 2019, a trend which has continued since late 2017 when the price of cryptocurrencies went sky high as Bitcoin almost reached the 20k mark.
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