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Seasteading couple charged as Thai navy boards floating home

Seasteading couple charged as Thai navy boards floating home

Posted

April 21, 2019 14:16:17

The Thai navy has boarded the floating cabin of a fugitive couple who are prominent members of the “seasteading” movement and may face the death sentence for setting up their offshore home.

Key points:Chad Elwartowski and Supranee Thepdet have been charged with violating Thai sovereigntyTheir floating home, or “seastead”, was situated 14 nautical miles off Thailand’s coast before the navy towed it ashoreThe navy asked the couple to come “inspect” the home and “prove themselves in the legal process”
Thai authorities have revoked the visa of bitcoin trader Chad Elwartowski and charged him and his partner, Supranee Thepdet, with violating Thai sovereignty by floating the cabin 14 nautical miles off the west coast of the Thai island of Phuket.The cabin had been promoted as the world’s first seastead by the group Ocean Builders, part of a movement to build floating communities beyond the bounds of nations as a way to explore alternative societies and governments.”I was free for a moment. Probably the freest person in the world,” Mr Elwartowski posted on Facebook on April 13, days before the Thai navy raided his vessel.The 46-year-old and Ms Supranee, whose Facebook page describes her as a “Bitcoin expert, trader, chef, seastead pioneer”, were not on board when the navy boarded, having apparently fled after a surveillance plane flew overhead the previous day.The US embassy in Bangkok said Mr Elwartowski had engaged a lawyer and was being provided with appropriate assistance.The Royal Thai Navy had planned on Saturday to seize the structure and tow it back to shore for use as evidence.In a video posted last month detailing the construction of the floating home, Mr Elwartowski said 20 more similar homes would be up for sale to form a community.Mr Elwartowski and Ocean Builders said the vessel was in international waters and beyond Thailand’s jurisdiction, but Thai authorities said the structure was in its exclusive economic zone and therefore a violation of its sovereignty.A Thai navy task force inspected the floating home on Saturday as it prepared to tow the structure back to Phuket.Legal process”We will invite technical units and officials who have inspected the object to consult on the methods of towing to minimise damage,” Captain Puchong Rodnikorn, chief of staff of the Operations Squadron of the Third Naval Area Command, said.”Once the sea house reaches the shore, the owner of this house can come to inspect it, as well as come forward to the Thai authorities in order to prove themselves in the legal process.”The navy said it had evidence the floating home was built in a private boatyard in Phuket and the couple wanted to establish a “permanent settlement at sea beyond the sovereignty of nations by using a legal loophole”.It said the action “reveals the intention of disobeying the laws of Thailand … and could lead to a creation of a new state within Thailand’s territorial waters”, adding this would undermine Thailand’s national security as well as the economic and social interests of maritime nations.Mr Elwartowski referred all questions to the Seasteading Institute and pointed to online statements from the Ocean Builders website in response to questions over the charges.Mr Elwartowski and Ms Supranee are members of Ocean Builders, which has denied they were planning to set up an independent state or “micronation”.The group said the pair did not build, invest in or design the floating home themselves, but were “volunteers excited about the prospect of living free”.According to Ocean Builders, the concept of seasteading has been discussed for years, but the cabin Mr Elwartowski and Ms Supranee lived on was the first attempt at living in what it described as international waters.Other groups, such as the Seasteading Institute, which was originally backed by PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, have sought to build floating cities with the cooperation of host nations.Reuters

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law-crime-and-justice,

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currency,

thailand

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Bitcoin Beats Other Cryptos in ‘Smarter’ Bull Market, Says Billionaire Investor

Bitcoin Beats Other Cryptos in ‘Smarter’ Bull Market, Says Billionaire Investor

Bitcoin Beats Other Cryptos in ‘Smarter’ Bull Market, Says Billionaire InvestorBitcoin’s dominance will only be more pronounced in this bull market and that’ll show in its value, according to Mike Novogratz. | Source: ShutterstockBy CCN: Mike Novogratz, the billionaire CEO of Galaxy Capital and a former hedge fund manager at Fortress Investment Group, believes alternative cryptocurrencies, or altcoins, will be outperformed by bitcoin in the bull market.Not this time. Market getting smarter. $btc will outperform.— Michael Novogratz (@novogratz) May 19, 2019The statement of Novogratz comes after the bitcoin price risen by more than 115 percent year-to-date against the U.S. dollar, leading the crypto market to add $124 billion to its valuation.Will bitcoin continue to outperform altcoins?Historically, altcoins have relied on the price trend of bitcoin and have rarely demonstrated independent price movements in extended time frames.Altcoins typically surge in value when the bitcoin price shows stability at a tight price range, leaving investors to take high-risk and high-return options over the dominant cryptocurrency.The optimism towards bitcoin, despite the emergence of sophisticated altcoins, is well founded due to the involvement of major financial institutions in the likes of Fidelity and TD Ameritrade building infrastructure on top of bitcoin.Fidelity and ICE, the parent company of the New York Stock Exchange, are initially launching custodial services for bitcoin, targeting institutional investors.According to TD Ameritrade’s executive vice president Steven Quirk, tens of thousands of clients at the brokerage already trade crypto assets in some capacity.But, traders suggest that if the sentiment around the crypto market remains overwhelmingly positive, investors will eventually explore alternative opportunities for high-return trades, which then may fuel a rally for altcoins.One cryptocurrency trader said that bitcoin is likely to climb further throughout 2019, triggering a healthy market for altcoins:The rest of this year will be characterized by rapid BTC advances, healthy corrections and periods of sideways price action, when altcoins will fly. Put that nonsense rhetoric about waiting for capitulation and still not making our bear market lows away. Wrong cycle.Full on degen altcoin season still on track for June. Next few weeks, as BTC finds a range, we’ll continue to see the popular altcoins bounce back 1st. In June, all altcoins across the board will bounce back hard. More disbelief on its way.The concern of some investors like Novogratz on the prospect of a booming market for altcoins is that many retail investors were hurt in the 2017 bull market taking high-risk trades, trading against stable assets like bitcoin.As the market matures and as investors in the market become smarter, Novogratz indicated that the appetite for altcoins could decline.The crypto market has added more than $100 billion to its valuation year-to-date (source: coinmarketcap.com)Similarly, Jeff Sprecher, the chairman of the New York Stock Exchange, said in November 2018:Somehow bitcoin has lived in a swamp and survived. There are thousands of other tokens that you could argue are better but yet bitcoin continues to survive, thrive and attract attention.At the time, Sprecher emphasized that Bakkt, a futures market operator created by NYSE’s parent company ICE, will focus on building a regulated infrastructure for bitcoin first ahead of other assets.Sentiment is generally positiveOn May 17, as CCN reported, the bitcoin price plummeted by 18 percent within hours following an unexpected 5,000 BTC sell order on Bitstamp that led prices of bitcoin and ethereum to crash on BitMEX.The market absorbed the abrupt decline in the bitcoin price fairly well, indicating that the confidence in the near-term price trend of crypto assets remains strong.While investors have cautioned that bitcoin has shown oversold conditions in recent weeks as it surpassed key resistance levels, the momentum of the asset could prevent it facing a large correction some expect would occur in the near-term. About The AuthorJoseph YoungHong Kong-Based Finance and Cryptocurrency Analyst. Contributing regularly to CCN and Hacked. Providing unique insights into the crypto and fintech space since 2012.This article was edited by Samburaj Das.
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Bitcoin’s price has pumped beyond its ‘intrinsic value,’ JPMorgan says

Bitcoin’s price has pumped beyond its ‘intrinsic value,’ JPMorgan says

Banking behemoth JP Morgan Chase & Co. has taken another shot at Bitcoin, BTC claiming the cryptocurrency‘s latest rally has pushed its price beyond its “intrinsic value.”
“Over the past few days, the actual price has moved sharply over marginal cost,” JPMorgan analysts wrote in a note obtained by Bloomberg. “This divergence between actual and intrinsic values carries some echoes of the spike higher in late 2017, and at the time this divergence was resolved mostly by a reduction in actual prices.”

To come to this conclusion, the JP Morgan team treated Bitcoin as a commodity, calculating its “cost of production” based on a number of factors, including estimated computational power, electricity expense, and hardware energy efficiency.
“Defining an intrinsic or fair value for any cryptocurrency is clearly challenging,” the analysts continued. “Indeed, views range from some researchers arguing that it has no fundamental value, to others estimating fair values well in excess of current prices.”

Bitcoin‘s price briefly dropped from almost $8,000 to $7,050 on May 17, after $250 million of long positions got liquidated on BitMEX. Since then, BTC has surged back to $7,893 at the time of writing.
By now, JP Morgan has made a habit out of thrashing Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. Back in 2017, CEO Jamie Dimon called the currency a “fraud” – a statement he later softened, suggesting he simply doesn’t care about Bitcoin. Since then, JP Morgan launched its own blockchain-based “digital currency,” which was neither a cryptocurrency, nor a stablecoin.

Published May 20, 2019 — 11:54 UTC

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