Introducing The Seasteading Institute

Mountain View, CA, April 15th, 2008. The Seasteading Institute today announced that it has been established in order to establish permanent, autonomous ocean communities to enable experimentation and innovation with diverse social, political, and legal systems. It will continue and expand on the work of Patri Friedman and Wayne Gramlich, authors of "Seasteading: A Practical Guide to Homesteading the High Seas".

"The public sector is simultaneously the largest industry in the world and the least innovative, with a barrier to entry and lock-in on its customers that dwarfs any private monopoly", says Patri Friedman, TSI's Executive Director. "The world needs a new model of politics where a diverse ecosystem of providers offers a variety of institutions that evolve to serve their citizens. The open oceans, Earth's last frontier, are the ideal place to nurture this vision of a better world. By making it safe and affordable to settle this frontier, we will give people the freedom to choose the government they want instead of being stuck with the government they get."

To help launch the organization, entrepreneur and philanthropist Peter Thiel has pledged $500,000 to The Seasteading Institute, saying: “Accelerating innovation is rapidly transforming the world: the Seasteading Institute will help bring more of that innovation to the public sector, where it’s vitally needed. Decades from now, those looking back at the start of the century will understand that Seasteading was an obvious step towards encouraging the development of more efficient, practical public sector models around the world. We’re at a fascinating juncture: the nature of government is about to change at a very fundamental level."

The Institute will initially focus on three major areas:

  • Community: Building a network of potential residents who are inspired by the possibilities of seasteading and have the skills and resources to establish vibrant new communities.
  • Research: Exploring the core requirements for seasteading to be safe and affordable, such as structure design, political feasibility, and infrastructure (power, heat, food) and advancing key seasteading technologies through independent research and partnerships.
  • Engineering: Proving that the mission is viable by building a safe, cost-effective, gorgeous seastead, based in the San Francisco Bay and able to travel in the open ocean.

For more information, see the Institute's website,


The Seasteading Institute

(The Seasteading Institute is a California nonprofit corporation that is in the process of applying for recognition of tax exemption under Section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code.)

Original press release can be found here

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Congrats Patri

This is a big deal. I know it's a dream of yours.
A big step forward in political technology.

I second that

Congratulations indeed. I have high hopes for this project, both as a way to create a place for liberty-minded people to live as well as to serve as an example to gently push the world towards freedom. I hope I can find a way to contribute to making this dream a reality.




What does it say about me if I find the Seasteading Institute unrealistic, but donated to SIAI?

Not Much

More has been written about singularity and super AI than seasteading, the concepts have been around much longer than seasteading, and more people are aware of them and involved with promoting them.

Singularity and super AI proponents tend to rely on inevitability arguments, whereas seasteading proponents seem to reject them.

Seasteading seems perfectly feasible from an engineering perspective (the necessary technology already exists), but much less feasible from a social/political perspective (Will enough people want to move to seasteads? Will existing governments allow seasteads to become independant territories?). Singularity and super AI are less certain from an engineering perspective, but if feasible, don't seem to require much in the way of social or political involvement - even if socities and governments don't like them, they will be much harder to stop than seasteads.

Technically pretty daunting

The technology is out there, in theory, but it's pretty heavily dependent on forms of energy which are still in thrall to the middle east. If the proponents can solve that issue (e.g., how do we power our generators?) they'll be set.

The other thing that sounds daunting is the whole steel-construction thing for the rigs that exist. Yeah, lots of existing rigs are made with various corrosion-resistant steels, but net-net, the structures are going to have to be constructed of materials which are not significantly damaged by seawater; steel will last but so long before corroding through. This is a perfect place for nanotech, which is unfortunately just not there yet....self-repairing structural elements drawing material from seawater.


Let's hope that this is the first of many steps towards a freer world.

Congrats a third time,

Congrats a third time, Patri! I really hope this goes far.