THE Thai Navy will begin removing a ''seastead'' home built by an American bitcoin investor and his partner off the coast of Thailand, an official said last Saturday, as the couple remain in hiding from charges accusing them of violating the country's sovereignty.

Chad Elwartowski and his Thai girlfriend Supranee Thepder knows as the ''Bitcoin Girl Thailand'', are facing charges of threatening the kingdom's independence after authorities found their ocean-based home about 12 nautical miles from Phuket's shore.

But Elwartowski said the home was 13 nautical miles out and therefore past Thailand's territorial waters.

The Thai Navy which filed a complaint last week to Phuket's police, said the couple did not seek permission to construct their floating platform and and a patrol-ship was sent out on Saturday to dismantle it.

The American's visa has been revoked and if charged and found guilty, the maximum punishment Elwartowski, a software engineer who worked for the US military, and Supranee could be sentenced to death penalty.

The bitcoin couple who are still hiding are part of Ocean Builders, a community of entrepreneurs who aim to build permanent homes in waters outside of government territory.

Elwartowski blogged regularly on Ocean Builders about erecting their ocean-dwelling homes, a six-metre wide octagonal-shaped platform which included a kitchen, bathroom, eating area and bedroom.

The top of the platform served as a deck, which was covered with solar panels, and the whole thing was mounted on a  two-metre-long floating steel ''spar'' which is anchored to the ocean's floor.

They had recently called for 20 interested investors for new seasteads - costing about $150,000 each - to be built around their maiden platform, and the money would have initial;ly been raised by bitcoin, Elwartwski said.

The seasteading community consists of ''tens of thousands'' of supporters worldwide. said Joe Quirk, president of the Seasteading Institute -a think tank co-founded in 2008 by famed tech entrepreneur Peter Thiel advocating for the ''Next New World''.

The Institute believes that seasteading is a solution to modern governments that don't function efficiently under ''obsolete political systems'', and oceans could be ''humanity's next frontier''.  [AFP]


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