Step aside, El Salvador, there’s a new Bitcoin-centric destination on the map. As a 32-million-square-foot private island sanctuary in the remote South Pacific, Satoshi Island is a “place for the crypto community to call home.”
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A combination of honeymoon getaway, Bond-villain hideout and naturalist paradise, there’s one enigmatic exception to Satoshi Island: it’s 100% crypto. Talking to Cointelegraph, the Satoshi Island team of Denys Troyak, James Law, Taras Filatov and Benjamin Nero mentioned that it is:
“A true crypto-economy where everything will be paid for in crypto and all ownership on the island is represented with NFTs.”
With its name inspired by the creator of Bitcoin (BTC), Satoshi Nakamoto, the team added that “the island intends to host events all year round, house and headquarter crypto projects as well as being a gathering place for crypto enthusiasts worldwide.”
Further down the road, the island could “operate as a decentralized autonomous organization.” To date, they’ve bought an island, secured build permits and reached a milestone of 50,000 visa nonfungible token (NFT) applications to become permanent crypto residents. An NFT marketplace is currently hush-hush.
The creation of a crypto utopia may seem unassailable even for the ambitious crypto community. Still, the founders have already received “50,000 applications for our free Citizenship NFT, acting as a whitelist to enter our Land NFT sale, while also permitting the holder to live on the island with many other benefits.”
Every home will be an NFT, or a “Satoshi Island Land NFT,” which can be traded. For the traditionalists, NFT holders can “turn their digital rights into physical documentation on the official land registry of Vanuatu.”
Unlike famous flops such as Fyre festival or CryptoLand — or any other failed fantasy project from an overly enthusiastic team of venture capitalists — Satoshi Island has mapped out a strategy, ticking off key developments in an orderly fashion. The team scoured the globe to choose a location, respected the legal process and avoided paid marketing or influencer campaigns.
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Yes, we already own the island
Yes, we can develop as advertised
Yes, the government supports our plan
Yes, our team has relevant expertise
— Satoshi Island (@satoshiisland) January 27, 2022
The Satoshi Island vision began during the 2017 bull run, as the “concept started out as an idea to have a place for the crypto community to call home and the actual island was chosen years after.” In fact, “it took many years to find the right island and to get everything together to be able to release to the public.”
First, the island had to be remote enough for privacy but not so remote that development would be too difficult. Second, the island should not be at risk of climate change and be protected from natural disasters. The slog to find an adequate location was compounded by the knowledge that, while it was “undoubtedly exciting” to pore over the world in search of an island for sale, they “had to be realistic.”
“This project started out as a crypto project looking for an island, not an island looking to become crypto city.”
Plus, the government managing the territory must be “open to the idea of a crypto city.” Finally, after years of searching, the team was onto a winner with Vanuata: “The government showed a willingness to innovate and were open to discussions right away.”
Indeed, the Pacific island nations are building a reputation for being crypto-friendly. Nearby, in Tonga, Bitcoin as legal tender has been widely discussed while just across the same body of water, the Marshall Islands has “opened the gates” to DAOs.
Vanuatu lacks “jobs and tourism,” while in terms of animals, the island — which used to be called Lataro — was overfished and over-poached. The population of coconut crabs was driven “close to extinction” prior to the land purchase.
The Vanuatu government warmed to the idea of creating a future-thinking space where job creation would be high. As for the crabs, the plan is to revive dwindling wildlife populations.
“The minister of finance was already interested in the idea of a digital economy and using blockchain technology when we spoke to him, so he was very excited about the idea of having our company and many of the brilliant minds in our industry call Vanuatu home.”
The team has since received a letter of support from the government to start building on the island using the “latest and greatest sustainable technology,” as solar power features are just one example of being added to the new builds of modular homes. The architect for the project added that “it’s a wonderful opportunity for them to build a land from the ground up.”
All of the energy generated from the island will be from renewable sources. Meanwhile, the team said that they’re “not really focused on cryptocurrency mining.” Instead, the plan is to use “solar panels built on top of the homes to run the entire community basically on a shared grid.”
When pressed on whether Bitcoin mining enthusiasts could pack an S19 into their suitcase to be able to mine sustainably, the team said that‘s still no problem at all.
Sustainability aside, the team stressed the importance of the overall feel of the island. “It’s not a resort” because it will be a “home” with “a permanent population.” According to the website, the goal is to be considered the “crypto capital of the world” — an unachievable goal without permanent residents.
21,000 investors or residents, echoing the 21 million Bitcoin that will ever be mined, will be the island’s headcount. Naturally, residency is granted via an NFT minted on the blockchain. To date, 50,000 people have registered interest in the project, buying into the vision of a “community where they can live, work and visit all year round.”
Nonetheless, NFT residency does not grant Vanuatu citizenship. If crypto enthusiasts want to say goodbye to fiat and hello to a year-round cryptocurrency life in the sun, the Vanuatu government states that citizenship costs $130,000.
The NFT marketplace is imminent while building the physical island development is underway. A “private opening” of the island is planned for quarter four this year for short-term visits. By early 2023, NFT homeowners will “be able to begin residing on the island.”