The government in French Polynesia are working on a project to create around 300 homes that will be based on a man-made, floating island. This new habitat will have its own governance and its own monetary system that will be based on a cryptocurrency called Varyon (VAR).
Floating Specialised Economic Zone
Dubbed a “Floating Specialised Economic Zone ” this flagship project is being developed as a proof of concept that will pave the way for more implementation. The overall cost of the project will be around $50 million and completion of the first island is expected by 2022. Funding has been secured through various philanthropic donations from the Seasteading Institute and Blue Frontiers, an organisation that drives the initiative as well as managing the sale of the Varyon crypto tokens.
The team behind the initiative are envisioning hundreds of self-governing crypto-based nations that will float on the world’s oceans.
The area is under threat from natural disaster
Natalia Mezza- Garcia, a researcher involved with the project stated that the main reason behind the initiative, as well as the choice of reason, is due to the fact that the area is under direct threat from coral erosion and rising sea waters.
Benefits for those that choose to settle on these self-governing islands are aplenty and include; a convenient location for those that are displaced, an economy that is designed to support businesses beyond governmental influence, and the ability to be able to switch between islands as and when one feels like it.
“This means there is stability, outside of fluctuating geopolitical influences, trade issues and currency fluctuations — it’s the perfect incubator,” Mezza-Garcia said, adding that government would simply “exist only as service providers.”
Can it work?
Whilst it is no doubt an interesting concept, whether it will work or not will depend on several factors.
First of all, the volatility of the value of Ethereum and Bitcoin means that Varyon is up against a challenge to ensure the stability of its coin. Secondly, it remains to be seen whether people will want to give up their lives on the mainland to take a risk on starting a new community. Thirdly, the self-governance of cryptocurrencies and related technologies are only as good as the programming code that underpins it. Fourth, whilst the project is relying on people wanting to settle there due to degradation of coral and rising sea waters, whether they will choose an alternative location rather than these new ecosystems remains to be seen.
For now, the concept is a fascinating one but only time will tell if it will ever come to fruition.
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