TGCI 15: Seasteading! How about living on the sea?

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Episode 15 – Seasteading – How about Living on the Sea?

Show #15 - Joe Quirk - Episode Art


In this episode, Pancham interviews Joe Quirk of Seasteading Institute. Joe, in this special and informative show, reveals how living on the sea might become a possibility in the near future.

This show starts off with Joe explaining the concept of seasteading. You will also learn the history of seasteading, and how this idea came about. Joe explains how seasteads can lead to a decentralized and free society that is not bound by regulatory shackles. 

Can seasteading create a free, stable society and thus, spur innovation? Tune in to learn more.

Pancham Gupta
TGCI 15 - Joe Quirk
Joe Quirk
Show #15 - Quote Art

Timestamped Shownotes:

  • 00:20 – Can you really live on the sea?
  • 00:51 – Pancham introduces Joe to listeners
  • 01:43 – What is seasteading, and how did Joe get into it?
  • 03:07 – Brief history of seasteading; How did the idea of seasteading come about?
  • 05:35 – Are there any seasteads out there?
  • 07:10 – Can seasteads be built in Special Economic Zones?
  • 09:55 – Are there any investing opportunities in seasteading?
  • 10:58 – Why are medical practitioners deeply interested in seasteading?
  • 11:49 – Taking the Leap
  • 11:54 – When was the first time you invested outside of the Wall Street?
  • 12:28 – What fears had to overcome when you made your first investment property?
  • 13:14 – Can you share one investment that did not go as expected?
  • 14:36 – What is one piece of advice that you should give to people thinking of investing in the Main Street?
  • 16:04 – Get your hands on Joe’s book
  • 16:21 – Joe shares his contact information
  • 17:28 – Want to learn how the rich earn handsome returns? Check out Gold Collar Investor Show Number 5
  • 18:20 – Got questions? Get in touch with Pancham


Get in Touch:

3 Key Points:

  1. What is seasteading?
  2. Brief History of Seasteading
  3. Investing Opportunities in Seasteading

Read Full Transcript


Welcome to The Gold Collar Investor podcast with your host, Pancham Gupta. This podcast is dedicated to helping the high paid professionals to break out of the Wall Street investments and create multiple income streams.

Here’s your host, Pancham Gupta.

Pancham: Have you ever wondered, living on water? Yes, making the ocean your home. This thought has never crossed my mind. Yet, there are visionaries who are exploring how we can make two-thirds of the Earth’s surface as our home before your brain starts thinking, that’s an absurd idea. I would wait until you listen to the end of the show. Today, my guest, Joe Quirk is going to talk about seasteading that is living on the sea. We also explore the idea of investing in it. Joe Quirk serves as the sea evangelist at seasteading Institute. Joe co-leads a team working to make living on water a reality with unprecedented political autonomy in the waters of a host nation. Joe, welcome to the show.

Joe: Thank you for inviting me.

Pancham: Are you ready to fire up my listeners break out Wall Street investments?

Joe: I am your man to do that.

Pancham: Great. So, you’ve been talking about this interesting concept called seasteading. What is seasteading and how did you get into it?

Joe: So, seasteading is homesteading the high seas. Half the world’s surfaces unclaimed by any existing nation-state. This is a vast, blank slate where we can create start-up countries. So, I live near Silicon Valley. I work with Silicon Valley people and seasteading is a Silicon Valley approach to solving the problem of sucky governments. So, Steve Wozniak famously pitched the first personal computer five times to Hewlett Packard, and five times he was rejected. So, he had to break away and found a new company with his pal, Steve Jobs, and that became the first personal computer for Apple. And if he didn’t have a way to go somewhere else and try something new, we wouldn’t have that personal computer design. It would not have emerged. So, there are people in innovating in governance and where did the Wozniak’s of government go? We are building the first floating societies on the high seas. It’s completely realistic. We’re going to the season before we go to Mars. And if you are interested in start-up companies, I think you can create even more wealth, if you’re interested in start-up countries.

Pancham: It’s very hard to get your head around start-up countries and the fact that you can create houses on the sea. Right? That’s what seasteading is, how did this idea come about? What’s the history behind this?

Joe: So, the idea of seasteading has been around for a while, you know, more than two-thirds of the Earth’s surface is water. 

Pancham: Right.

Joe: And we just live on the land, and Patri Friedman is my co-author on the seasteading book, and he happens to be the grandson of Milton Friedman, the Nobel Prize-winning economist and the son of David Friedman, kind of the father of anarcho-capitalism. And David Friedman, back in 1973, sort of proposed a thought experiment, like, imagine if your house was on wheels of all houses-run wheels and borders were open, and if you didn’t like a government’s policy, you could simply drive your house to a competing government. Yyou would have an economic solution to political problems, you would have governments competing to attract citizens. The same way the cruise ship that we’re sitting on right now competes to attract people. Cruise ships are de-facto self-governing. So, 10 years after that Milton and Rose Friedman wrote a populist book called, “Free to choose” where they imagined, you know, what if people could choose to be governed less? What if they could choose different forms of government? What if we had more choice in the rule sets? We could figure out and then Patrick Friedman’s, like a third-generation economic theorist is a Google engineer. He’s a venture capitalist, and then he wrote some blogs, where he said, well, what if we lived on the ocean, and land was disassemble and modular, and you could move it about. You could move city blocks about and if the problem with governance is that it arises from the monopoly of land. The fact that we’re landlocked is an incentive structure for one sort of militarily dominant…the biggest, baddest conquerer ends up being in control of all that land. And then all the people inside it can’t innovate and come up with new ways of creating rules. If you lived in the water, and you could move about. And here’s the part that changed my life. I realized if city blocks were modular, and you could choose the society you wanted to live in, governance would be…You would have variation in governance, and you would have a selection by residents. So, among the volunteers that were involved with this, were Chad and Nadia. Nadia is also known as Bitcoin girl, Thailand, and they actually moved to the Athol, where we thought we would build the first seastead, and an Athol is like a volcano that has sunk below the ocean, and it forms this ring, which is like a natural wave breaker.

Pancham: This is kind of fascinating. Is anyone doing it?

Joe: The first seastead has been floating in international waters for like seven weeks. So, we got the first one out there. The company is called Ocean.Builders and they are eager to sell the next 20 seasteads and create a neighbourhood which would essentially be a start-up Nano nation in international waters. So, what if you had a blank slate, a new platform to reconceive society from the ground up. The only catch is you can’t use the ground. Is that something you would be interested in investing in? Are there innovations that would emerge from this that far surpass the innovations of mere companies? And you would be surprised you provide a platform for a stable society on the ocean that’s free. The innovators come to you with their ideas. There are algae farmers, there are fish farmers, there are medical research people, there are all sorts of blockchain based governance people that are coming to you with, “I know how to solve a problem if I could just get outside the regulatory structure of existing nation states”. You know, we have 193 nation states, and we have 7.6 billion people, and those nation states do not represent the range of ideas that human beings have produced. We can do better than English common law. We can do better than the US Constitution. I have a lot to say about this. Maybe I should let you ask a question.

Pancham: No, yeah, no, I can see that you’re pretty passionate about this. Now I’m going to go back to this. Seastead first seastead. How long did it take you to actually build it and actually convince someone to actually go and do it or didn’t even have to convince someone?

Joe: Didn’t have to convince anyone just had to inspire them. So, the original plan for seasteading was a company I co-founded called Blue Frontiers, and the idea was to negotiate with existing countries that already have special economic zones on their books and propose the sea zone. So special economic zone and there are more than 4000 of them around the world. And I think of them as legal islands inside countries that permit people to freely exchange and they have fewer taxes, lower regulations. Most people are surprised to know the US has 272 – I think of these basically their foreign soil inside the US. And we were saying let us grow, bring our own land will float offshore, grant us legislators even more freedom and will demonstrate that economic freedom can have great prosperity, right?

Pancham: Yeah.

Joe: So, we got really far along the line with French Polynesia, but French Polynesia, in the end, didn’t move forward because presidential election came along, and the opposition, frankly told a lot of lies about our project. So, among the volunteers that were involved with this, were Chad and Nadia. Nadia is also known as Bitcoin girl, Thailand, and they actually moved to the Athol where we thought we would build the first seastead. And an Athol is like a volcano that has sunk below the ocean, and it forms this ring, which is like a natural wave breaker, and there are 10s of thousands of them in the Pacific Ocean. They’re perfect places to set up seasteads. When they got frustrated, the political system wasn’t moving forward. They said as Richard Branson says, screw it, let’s do it. They left French Polynesia, they flew to Thailand, and they decided to create a spar structure, affordably on the water. Think of spar as a floating wine bottle where the bottom is filled with sand, and it’s very weighty down below, but it’s very light up top. So, you can float this spar structure in the water, put seastead on top of it. It’s as stable as a fence post.

Pancham: Wow.

Joe: In your meter-high waves. So, they conceived and built and executed this thing and about six months. Just the pilot project, just the pilot project costs $150,000 US dollars, and that’s cheaper than the average American home. So, we’re beating the price point of American homes with the first seasteads.

Pancham: Wow, very fascinating. So, you know, I can totally, for me to foresee this is still very, very difficult. But do you think there would be investing opportunities around this wave of seasteading, Just like you had, you know, the initial Bitcoin investors where investing in that this new normal idea of Bitcoin. Similar to that, you know, this is a new industry, not only new industry, new country, new laws, new everything, new concept. Are there any investing opportunities here?

Joe: Yes, Chad and Nadia are Bitcoin entrepreneurs. That’s what they do from the seastead where they have virtually flawless internet 12 miles out of the sea, and the people who tend to think about solutions to deep problems, and the solution being the decentralization of power. People who are interested in cryptocurrency also tend to be very interested in seasteading. They’re different kinds of technologies that try to bring the same philosophy to solve our problem. So, cryptocurrency is a way to step by step, decentralize, centralized control of the creation of money and the printing of money, And seasteading is an attempt to decentralize the very ground beneath our feet so that people can choose the sort of society is they want to live in a fluid frontier. So, when you provide that, I would say the people banging on our door most to get involved are medical entrepreneurs. 

Pancham: Oh, I see.

Joe: People who want to provide better, faster, cheaper healthcare 12 miles offshore…

Pancham: They are not able to do that on shore. Is that the reason?

Joe: Yes.

Pancham: And why is that?

Joe: Because the medical technologies are coming online, are regulated by rules and procedures created in the 1970s. And you know, I’ve never talked to a physician that isn’t frustrated by the paperwork they have to fill out. We just don’t have many free markets and health care in the world., and we certainly don’t have an affordable way to innovate in developing medicines, and it’s heart-breaking because biotech science is right on the cusp of radically extending our lifespans and providing all sorts of health improvements, but they’re working within 20th century regulatory structures. So, people want to start over and they want governance start-ups, and seasteads can provide this on the ocean.

Pancham: Amazing. Amazing. All right, that sounds cool. Let’s move on to the next section of our show, which is called, “Taking the leap” round. I asked these four questions to every guest on the show. So, my first question is, when was the first time you invested outside of the Wall Street?

Joe: Probably when I bought Bitcoin, there are many ways to invest. You can invest your time you can invest your passion and you are talking about investing money, I invested outside Wall Street probably when I bought my first Bitcoin.

Pancham: Okay, when was that?

Joe: It was early.

Pancham: Early.

Joe: And I was broke, and I brought a very small amount, and at one point, it was like 130 times higher, and now it’s probably 40 times higher.

Pancham: Okay. All right. Still 40 times higher. That’s pretty cool. What fears did you have to overcome when you first invested outside of the Wall Street?

Joe: We are fear based creatures. Rightfully so, we human beings, we’ve come through quite an evolutionary bottleneck, and now we’re in this incredibly prosperous world that may not kill us, but is unbelievably dynamic and can destroy all the wealth we build up very quickly, and it’s a matter of like, what are you afraid of more? Are you afraid of the Fed being in control of the US dollar? Or are you more afraid of the volatility of cryptocurrencies? And I think I’m more afraid of what could happen to the US dollar than I am afraid of cryptocurrencies. I had to become more afraid of something else to move into that kind of…

Pancham: That’s a different way to look at it. Pretty cool. Okay, can you share with us one investment that did not go as expected?

Joe: I was always proud to live like a broke monk when I was a novelist. I was training myself to write books in my 20s, working part-time at a basically a day-care business, I operated in order to support my writing until I became an author. So, I never had much money. And then when I sold my first book, it was optioned by Warner Brothers, it became a bestseller, and all of a sudden, I had a whole bunch of money. And I was like, Oh, my God, I’ve never had money coming in before, what should I do, and they rigorously researched mutual funds. A nice long laugh about that, and I applied a lot of effort to it, and really did some comparisons and looked at histories and did my best, and I invested in a mutual fund on the assumption, that man, now my writing career is taking off, I’m just going to keep reading these books and keep getting these kind of advances. That did not happen. The mutual fund did not go on to do as well as it did historically, and I thought it wouldn’t it wouldn’t matter because I’m not going to need to pull this money out for years because I’m just going to keep writing books. Well, turns out, they didn’t want to publish my second novel, then, you know, then my third novel didn’t get a big advance, and then I needed to pull out money much earlier than I thought I would. So, I didn’t have that long-term investment that I had planned. So, it was just a big clusterfrack.

Pancham: At least you learned something.

Joe: Yeah.

Pancham: That’s the that’s the goal. Right? Alright. So, my last question is, what is one piece of advice would you give to the people who are thinking of investing in the Main Street that is outside of the Wall Street?

Joe: Well, you may hear a slight bias in my recommendation.

Pancham: That’s okay.

Joe: But I think investors, if they’re more angel minded, are fundamentally innovators. Investors are like entrepreneurs. They want to solve problems, and was the reason I’m into seasteading and start-up societies is that I want to solve a deep problem, and I think it’s doable, and I think we need to invest in reconceiving society from the ground up. The only trick is we can’t use the ground. So, I just know there are creative people out there that once I presented them, I could give you a blank slate for a whole new society. What can you do with it? Their creativity starts going, they chew on it, they get back to me and months later. So, if you’re really a creative investor, and you really want to solve deep problems, and you understand the root of the problem is governance itself, and we could start over and do it better. 21st-century governance. I think you should look into seasteading and check out Ocean.Builders, and we don’t really need investors that much. Ocean builders need customers. So, see if you want to build the first big seastead. Maybe a hotel, maybe run the Marina, or maybe open your own medical research facility.


Pancham: Amazing. Thank you so much, Joe, for sharing all of that. How can the listeners reach you? Or maybe you want to talk about your book that you published? Real quick.

Joe: My book with Patri Friedman is called “Seasteading – How floating nations will restore the environment to enrich the poor, cure the sick and liberate humanity from politicians”. Wherein I introduce you to aquapreneurs that solve each of those problems or plan to with seasteads. Go to If you want to answer all the questions that are in your brain, what about tsunamis? What about hurricanes? What about pirates? We answer all those questions with short fun videos. If you want to purchase the second, third, fourth and fifth seastead out there, go to Ocean.Builders and they’re ready to sell it to you, cheaper than most homes in the US. And check out Blue-Frontiers, if you want to learn more about the first seasteading community.

Pancham: Great, thank you so much, Joe, for sharing your knowledge and time today.

Joe: Thanks for inviting me.

Pancham: I don’t know about you. But I was very fascinated by this concept when I first heard Joe talk. It got me even more interested when I heard that Silicon Valley has invested in this concept. My goal for the show was to make you aware of seasteading. Who knows if this catches on, there may be future investing opportunities. So always be curious and keep learning. Have you ever wondered why the rich keep getting richer? What is the secret that they know? But you do not? What if I told you that wealthy people make their money work for them in two different places. Yes, the same dollars invested in two different places and working hard for them while they sleep. They utilize the special accounts that have been in existence for more than a hundred years. Do you want to learn more about these accounts? Then you are in the right place. Listen to the episode number five by going to show. I repeat show or visit Thanks for listening. If you have questions, email me at That’s p as in Paul This is Pancham, signing off. Until next time. Take care.

Thank you for listening to The Gold Collar Investor podcast. If you love what you’ve heard and you want more of Pancham Gupta visit us at and follow us on Facebook at The Gold Collar Investor. The information on this podcast our opinions as always. Please consult your own financial team before investing.

Show #15 - Joe Quirk - Episode Art

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