For those who really want to get away from it all, this will probably appeal to you. A new ‘floating island’ will soon be offered that is entirely its own country. The project is being put together with the help of the French Polynesian government, but will have its own governance and, even better, its own cryptocurrency, the Varyon (VAR).
Dubbed a Floating Specialized Economic Zone (SEZ), the 300-home community is the first of its kind and is a proof of concept designed to explore the possibilities of wider implementation. The project carries a price tag of around $50 million and is expected to set sail no later than 2022. The island nation, which still doesn’t have a name (sorry, the Conch Republic is already taken), has received backing from the Seasteading Institute and the Blue Frontiers, the two groups behind the initiative and the sale of the VAR crypto coins.
In an interview with CNBC, researcher Nathalie Mezza-Garcia said, “There is significance to this project being trialed in the Polynesian Islands. This is the region where land is resting on coral and will disappear with rising sea levels.”
For those who are less dubious over a project such as this, there are a number of reasons why it makes sense. The floating island offers a convenient location for displaced individuals. Additionally, as a self-regulated entity, its economy will support businesses outside the influence of a particular government’s control. This should allow for much greater innovation and entrepreneurship. As more of the islands—all of which would be self-governed—become available, if a ‘citizen’ doesn’t like the ecosystem where he or she is, nothing more than hopping to a new island is required.
Mezza-Garcia pointed out that the government’s sole purpose would be as a service provider to the people. She explained, “This means there is stability, outside of fluctuating geopolitical influences, trade issues and currency fluctuations—it’s the perfect incubator.”
For the concept of floating island nation to function properly, several factors have to come together. Since the currency is strictly crypto, the volatility seen in the markets would have to be harnessed. Whether or not there is enough of an interest in establishing the new island colonies remains to be seen, despite the often-heard, “I’m going to the islands for the holidays.”
Another factor will depend on the quality of the programming code that runs VAR’s blockchain. Since everything in the community starts on the blockchain, it will be imperative that the code be virtually flawless. The last factor is probably the most tenuous, overlooking the unstable crypto market. The project is counting on the regular degradation of land that is supported by coral reefs which results in the need for finding new homes. Since degradation can take decades or centuries, it might prove difficult to drum up enough interest in a short amount of time to make the projects worthwhile.
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