Bitcoin trader may face death penalty in Thailand over illegal 'sea home'

18 Apr, 2019
by David Robb
Bitcoin trader may face death penalty in Thailand over illegal 'sea home'

A U.S. Bitcoin investor is in hot water after illegally building a home off the coast of Thailand. The Guardian reports that the country's navy claims this is a violation of sovereignty, and he may face the death penalty as a result.

Chad Elwartowski and his Thai girlfriend Supranee Thepdet, or Nadia, have gone into hiding, after Thai authorities announced they would be taking legal action. They were occupying a large 'seastead' home, comprising a large octagonal structure on top of a 20 metre pillar, 12 nautical miles from the shore of Phuket.

According to Elwartowksi, "the person(s) who funded the seastead are concerned about losing the seastead but Nadia and I were just tenants...But as long as Nadia and I are able to live through this that is all that matters to us right now. We just want to live."

Elwartowski worked as a software engineer for many years before making a fortune investing in Bitcoin. He belongs to a community called Ocean Builders, which is part of the growing "seasteading" movement, seeking to construct homes and floating settlements in international waters, where inhabitants are not subject to any country's laws or taxes.

"There is evidence showing that they have publicly invited people on social media to stay at the site, which is adjacent to our territorial waters," said Thai vice admiral Sitthiporn Maskasem, third naval area commander of the area, at a press briefing. "We have laws to deal with this. It affects our sovereignty".


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