Liberland: The Pioneer Crypto-Economy Country Powered By Blockchain
Most critics of cryptocurrency have pointed at the fact that no coin is recognized as a legal tender anywhere in the world. This regulatory bottleneck may very well hinder a future of crypto-based commerce.
However, not everyone is waiting for a centralized approval to realize their cryptocurrency dreams. After all, cryptocurrency to most enthusiasts is not just a commercial project; it's an ideological one as well.
Therefore, instead of waiting on government benevolence to grant a lease of life to cryptocurrency, how about building an entirely new country that operates on cryptocurrency? Liberland is made of this.
Vit Jedlicka, who doubles up as the president of Liberland, launched the coin to pursue these ends. Having been an economist and politician in the Czech Republic, he knew all too well the futility of bringing change from within;
“For many years, I worked for lowering taxes and regulations in the Czech Republic, but I suddenly realized that it would be easier to start a new country than to fix an existing one.”–Vit Jedlicka
Hence, came about Liberland, an experiment for a decentralized country on a 7-mile strip between Serbia and Croatia. The country currently has about 400 citizens, mostly former Serbs and Croats who decided to apply for extra citizenship.
Vit also expressed the intention to create a ‘floating city’ as a way to circumvent operational security challenges. The country has many high profile citizens who signed up for the project including the likes of Steve Corps and Vitalik Buterin. Yes, Buterin as you probably know is the innovative mind behind the Ethereum project.
Liberland Merits will be the native cryptocurrency on the country. Nonetheless, Bitcoin will still facilitate a lot of the payments, at least in the short term future, owing to its popularity and relative stability compared to other coins.
Vit and his team will introduce tradeable merits in due course. At the moment, the existing merits are from distribution to citizens based on factors like original contribution to Liberland.
Each citizen needs to hold 5,000 Merits. That said, there are small exceptions for those who want to become actual residents.
Liberland will be a place like no other. Even the police come with a twist, as they will be available on demand, just like the Uber concept. Serbia and Croatia, two of its neighboring countries have not expressed the opposition that is normal for countries that seek self-determination. To cap it all, voluntary taxes! That is certain to get everyone excited.
Here are the bits and pieces of our Interview with Mr. Vit Jedlicka, The President of Liberland and Roy Glaser, the founder of eCoin4Dummies
Roy: How did you come up with the idea? What's behind it?
Vit: At some point, I realized it might be easier to take a new region than to fix an existing one. I think that was the driving point, and also many friends who were ready to help me achieve this from the very beginning. You know, by looking at the number of my friends who have already acquired Liberland citizenship, you can see there was a stronger push to make it happen. Yes, we realized that leading by a good example and you know doing the things as we want rather than changing some broken stuff would be the best way to go.
Roy: Sounds Good! Is there anyone living in Liberland today?
Vit: There are like 400 people living in Liberland and nearby communities. Many of them actually were former Serbians and Croatians. They decided to apply for extra citizenship. This is an encouraging move. Many locals and some of those people moved there permanently. I spoke recently to a guy from the Netherlands, and there were people from Denmark also. But about the ‘floating city' itself; that is something to be launched from April.
Roy: I see, I haven't read about it. Can you tell me more about it?
Vit: It will have a nice set of different houseboats. People can buy them and stay in Liberland. Staying on the water in Liberland right now is legal, so that's the way we're going forward. There will be a flagship, small hotels, restaurants, and the government office. All this will be placed there permanently starting April 2019.
Roy: I have heard you have a bitcoin freedom boat, is that right?
Vit: Yes, that is the flagship that I was talking about. It would be the restaurant, working space, and everything in one place. It can hold 150 people for a social event.
Roy: Would you be able to pay there with Bitcoin?
Vit: Of Course. I don't think you'll be able to pay with anything else than cryptocurrency
Roy: I see, where is the boat right now?
Vit: Right now it is in the docks. There is lots of work going on in the upcoming week. So it is on our shipyard.
Roy: Yes, and will it represent the bitcoin and the freedom?
Vit: Yes! That was the idea. Not too many things are named Bitcoin right now, so we wanted to pursue it. Because, you know, Bitcoin is great.
Roy: That brings me to your cryptocurrency, the Merits. Is it Tradeable already? What can you tell me about it?
Vit: Merits were distributed from the very beginning through our contributors in Liberland. Their distribution lowers the amount of taxes paid to Liberland. They also represent the shares in Liberland, the collateral in our justice system and our reputation. So they do have multiple aspects. For now, Merits are in stake form but we plan to design a way to unstake them. Our initial proposal is that 10% of the merits could be unstaked in a year, the final decision may be different. But the tradable merits are coming soon. I got everything in place.
I'm anticipating that we will have a launch. The pre sale actually has already started. I would say the reasonable date to launch it is one month before the anniversary. So, our target date is the 13th of March 2019.
Roy: I see. Very Interesting. Every citizen needs to hold the 5,000 merits, right?
Vit: Yes, with small exceptions but that's the general rule. We do have a new residency program for anybody who wants to become a part of the ecosystem and want to become a new resident.
Roy: So I can live in Liberland with the new residency?
Vit: Well, of course yes, anybody can live in Liberland, and you will get the “heart” of staying here automatically once you visit Liberland. It is something that you can easily get there. But, anybody, of course, is welcome to come to Liberland right now. As long as they will stick with our floating Liberland, it is very safe.
Roy: That's very important.
Vit: We do have strong support from Croatia.
Roy: I heard you also have strong support from Serbia?
Vit: Well the Serbian support came after the inception of the country on 24th of April. So 11 days after the country started, we received a statement from the foreign ministry that they don't mind the creation of Liberland and it is not a threat to their territory. We very much appreciate that. It was a form of recognition of our efforts, and they are still very supportive. For example, the mayor of Putin, the closest municipality to Liberland, is an honorary citizen of Liberland and also the awardee of the highest state award, star of Liberland merit. We are excellent friends, and he is supportive of our committee.
Roy: There're gonna be citizens and people living in Liberland soon starting in April 2019. Who will be the Police?
Vit: We do have the initial security from Day 1. My former bodyguard from the early days of Liberland has turned out to be the security service of Liberland. He spends there continuously working with the local Liberlanders and taking care of the security. So we do have that element in place already. People are willing to take care of it, and we do have a plan to uberize police. You can already test that on our online application. For now, anybody who will be able to sign up with some degree of qualification will be able to partake its local community and people will get hold of him through the mobile app.
Roy: Interesting. How will the funding and the development of the new economy and country work?
Vit: Looking for Investors probably will take care of it easily. We know there are more than 30 billion dollars pledged for the lot of Liberland. It would be enough to build a second Dubai-like city. I'm still not sure if that would be reasonable. You know, in this project, we have to be sensible. Our idea is that Liberland should operate in harmony with the local nature. But the potential for development is enormous, things are slowly moving. I think once we step out of the floating city and get on the ground we can see an exponential growth of everything.
Roy: What are the Investment and Job Opportunities in Liberland today?
Vit: The website was launched not too long ago. There you can find jobs, within the government and in private companies. By that, we don't mean that the state is taking care of unemployment in the country. Regarding Investments, of course, people can take part in the pre-selling of merits. They can also take the state merits. Also, they can basically become voluntary taxpayers as well as investors in Liberland. And they can invest locally. For example, right now, there is an opportunity to buy the looming scale on the flagship. You can be a hotel rooms owner, or you can pre-rent it for some time, or you can buy a houseboat. As for houseboats, there are 2 sizes; one is with 8 beds and the other with 4 beds.
Roy: Wow that's very nice. I've seen on the presentation that you are planning to become the world's tax haven?
Vit: I don't like the word haven, I'd rather use the word heaven. We want to prove that the system of voluntary tax works. If we change the relations between citizens and state, and we introduce the voluntaries in there, then we will see the best result.
Roy: Other countries are doing that. What will be the difference between you and them?
Vit: I don't think so. I don't believe there is tax havens, heavens, I mean. These countries don't have high taxes, but there are usually some high fees, and it's extremely expensive to live in those places. I mean moving to Monaco and getting citizenship is impossible even for the 3rd generation people living there. Getting your apartment means at least 30,000 euros per year, and moreover, it is simply very expensive to live in. Buying your apartment is almost impossible because of the high prices. A similar thing applies to Hong Kong. So what we are doing is being competitive with this jurisdiction, and offering even better taxation system. You know, you are expected to pay some taxes, but you are given the chance to choose for what particular purpose you want this taxes to be spent. In addition, you will also have a direct stake in the country. This is another innovation which hasn't been introduced so far and I don't think there is another country competing for that.
Roy: I have heard you recently participated in the US Congress meeting and also your parliament meeting. Tell me more about it.
Vit: We had one event in the Parliament, month and a half ago. That was very good. Some of the members invited us, and also some members of the parliament attended this official event which took place in the European Parliament. It was nice, and before that, by September, we had a state congressman and senators. It was also quite nice which resulted in some initiatives for recognition of Liberland in the United States's Senate, and in the state congresses. This is something that I'm proud of. Active steps are being taken right now.
Roy: I see, and what is their attitude towards Liberland?
Vit: It's very positive, I think there is a large potential. I also feel there is strong support within the diplomatic community to help Liberland. It's not just some exotic diplomats from countries on the other side of the world, but also coming from Croatians, Serbians, and high-ranking officials that are willing to help us move forward.
Roy: I have one more question – I've heard about a Free Zone, is that correct?
Vit: That's a very good question. Yes, that's a place where the VAT taxes and import-export taxes are not paid. This is where the Liberland group of companies have started operating very recently, so it is an excellent opportunity for trade of physical goods in the region.
Roy: I see, sounds very interesting actually! I never heard of a free zone before. So my last actual question, do you think people will follow your dream and create other free countries like you?
Vit: I hope, and believe that everybody should have that right. It's a sovereign right of people to govern their own rules. It is something deeply embedded in international law, and I believe that now it should be practiced more by the people. The better jurisdiction we have, and the more competitive environment there is, the freer the world will be.
Roy: I see, and I do believe in everything that you represent!
Vit: Thank you very much.
Live and Let Live!
A fitting motto to sum up a project from the future. Vit Jedlicka may go down in history as the individual responsible for fulfilling the dream of a complete crypto-economy. This is one project that might excite every crypto-enthusiast.