Have you ever dreamed of living in a libertarian paradise? How about one with lots of sandy beaches? What if one of the primary currencies of this potential paradise is bitcoin?
That’s the dream behind Liberland, a micronation that was somewhat unofficially formed back in 2015 in between Serbia and Croatia.
But what is Liberland, and is anyone really living there?
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Libertarianism – a rough overview
Many who support cryptocurrency on an ideological level tend to lean more towards libertarian beliefs. Libertarianism is the idea that individual freedoms and choices should be the most important things protected by a society.
Generally speaking, libertarianism believes that governments should be as small as possible, and have as little influence on an individual’s life as possible. For instance, a fairly common belief within the libertarian spectrum of thought is that anything consenting adults do to themselves that doesn’t harm anyone else should be legal.
For example, recreational drugs, according to many libertarians, should be legal. Likewise, libertarianism is completely against anything that one could describe as a nanny state.
As cryptocurrency allows for the completely independent and sovereign control of one’s finances without any interference from governments or banks, it’s it seems too many to be a perfect tool.
Famous American performers Penn & Teller are two well known and highly outspoken libertarians. Their former HBO show, “Penn & Teller: Bullshit!“, is something of an introductory course to libertianism weaved into investigations, magic, and comedy.
Liberland, a paradise or just a fantasy?
Liberland Flag. Source: Wikipedia.org
Back in 2015, the country of Liberland was declared by its creator and current president, Vít Jedlička. The location of Liberland is in a disputed area in between Serbia and Croatia. Currently, both these nations claim ownership of the piece of land in which Liberland supposedly exists.
This unique balance means that neither one country wants to encroach on the territory. This, according to Liberland, makes the piece of land a “no mans land”, and thus it is up for grabs.
Today, almost anyone can hypothetically become a citizen of Liberland. All one needs to do is fill out a citizenship application on the official Liberland website and then wait for a response. While there aren’t any clear numbers available, other news outlets are suggesting that there are around 100 citizens of Liberland,. Although, no one appears to be living there full-time.
The difficulty with Liberland right now is that entering the country requires crossing the borders of either Serbia or Croatia, and currently, neither country seems to be permissive. At times, the president of Liberland has been arrested and held in detention for several days due to his supposedly entering his own country illegally.
The goals of Liberland
In the official Liberland journal published in February of this year, images can be seen of glimmering glass and steel skyscrapers and futuristic cityscapes. While this may not exist yet, it is undoubtedly the goal of the nation’s founder.
The motto of the country is “to live and let live” further suggesting it’s libertarian roots. The country describes itself as a “constitutional republic with elements of direct democracy” and exists in an area the size of 7 km².
One of the more important aspirations of the country is to make full and widespread use of blockchain technology. The country has been asking for and receiving tens of thousands of dollars in donations in the form of bitcoin and bitcoin cash for the last few years.
The country also aims to have its own cryptocurrency (which supposedly already exists) called Merits. The laws of the nation, however, specify that there are no restrictions on what type of currency its citizens decide to use.
What if this works?
Liberland Citizenship. Source: Wikipedia.org
While it’s easy to automatically dismiss Liberland, it is interesting to think what may happen if it really becomes a success. Liberland could one day become the Hong Kong or Singapore of Europe. That being a highly autonomous marketplace of free enterprise, exchange, and innovation.
But instead of being powered by ocean trade and global corporations setting up shop there, it could be powered by an unrestrained and absolute support for blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies.
Further, as tax laws towards cryptocurrency become more extreme and arguably greedy, there one day could be many tens of thousands of people with cryptocurrency fortunes that simply do not want to pay their respective governments a massive portion of their wealth.
Libertarianism generally aims to to have little to no taxes at all, as many civil services would be privatized and paid for on an as-needed basis.
This concept of leaving ones country to avoid excessive taxation is not unheard of. Roger Ver, the loudest proponent of bitcoin cash, is an excellent example of this. He was formerly a citizen of the United States, but he gave up his citizenship and immigrated to the nation of Saint Kitts.
While it’s unlikely that Liberland will be full of the glimmering skyscrapers seen in its journal in just the next few years, it’s not impossible that Liberland or another place like it will become the next Boomtown.
Featured Image via Liberland Brochure