Peter Thiel, the 49-year-old billionaire co-founder of PayPal, told journalists he no longer has any faith in creating a floating island for libertarians. Although Thiel invested millions of his own money into this floating island project, better known as seastead, he recently said that he now believes this island isn’t physically possible.
Although Thiel has given up on the dream of living on a floating island in the near future, a group of dedicated workers on the seastead are still actively pursuing Thiel’s dream.
Why Peter Thiel Believes The Dream Island Is Over
News of Thiel’s lack of faith in the seastead broke in an interview with Maureen Dowd, a reporter who works for The New York Times. Not only did Thiel express a lack of faith in his own floating island, but also with the entire concept of the “floating city.” Thiel told Dowd that floating cities are “not quite feasible from an engineering perspective.” Thiel heavily supported the idea of the seastead from 2008 until 2011.
During that time, Thiel donated about $1.7 million of his own money to The Seasteading Institute. While The Seasteading Institute is still active today, Thiel has resigned from the board of directors in 2011. One of the major reasons investors suspect Thiel left The Seasteading Institute has to do with his involvement in the 2016 race for the presidency. Thiel threw all of his support behind Donald Trump right from the start, a move that shocked many techies in left-leaning Silicon Valley.
It’s been estimated that Thiel gave $1.25 million to the Trump campaign. Peter Thiel is now an unofficial tech advisor to the president-elect. In addition to serving the president-elect, this billionaire tech titan has suggested he will run for the governorship of California. While nothing has been definitively stated about Thiel’s political future in the Golden State, he’s certainly more focused on national politics now than he is on retreating to a floating island paradise.
The Seasteading Institute Pushes Forward Without Thiel
People involved in The Seasteading Institute are sad to see Peter Thiel leave, but they are determined to prove to the world that floating island technology is the way of the future. Just last autumn a bunch of executives from The Seasteading Institute met with leaders of French Polynesia. This meeting was held to clarify plans on developing a seastead just off the coast of the French Polynesian islands.
The Seasteading Institute said French Polynesia will most likely allow the seastead to determine many of its own rules, but major French Polynesian laws on crime and the environment would have to be enforced on the seastead. Reporters say the meeting went very well between the two parties. Some insiders believe we might see The Seasteading Institute begin work on their seastead this year.
Members of The Seasteading Institute claim that this city will be about the size of half a football field and have two or three platforms once completed. The facility’s executives also told reporters that the city would be able to comfortably house 30 people. After they can confirm this initial city is both safe and effective, The Seasteading Institute will get to work on adding more platforms.
It’s Still Going To Be Awhile Before The First Seastead Appears
There are still numerous challenges The Seasteading Institute will have to overcome in the upcoming years if they want to make their dream a reality. First, they’ll have to develop some kind of foundation that’ll be able to withstand the impact of seawater for at least 100 years. The institute will then have to work on establishing a viable autonomous economic policy.
They will also have to raise about $30 million to begin constructing the first iteration of the seastead. Despite all of these challenges, The Seasteading Institute said it will move forward and try its best to manifest Thiel’s dream of a libertarian floating island near French Polynesia.