Green card or blue seas: Paypal founder backs visa-free floating city off California coast


A Silicon Valley startup named Blueseed  is looking to tackle the current regulatory and immigration policy in the United States, by creating a high-tech visa-free floating vessel in the contiguous zone 12 nautical miles off the coast of California. Blueseed has recently announced that they’ve secured financial backing from PayPal founder and billionaire Peter Thiel, who has shown great interest in similar Seasteading projects in the past. The report, which comes by way of The Atlantic, informs us that the massive floating city will serve as a haven and incubator for brilliant entrepreneurs and gifted individuals who would otherwise need to wrangle with the U.S. government to work or reside within the country.

The Blueseed startup itself was primarily intended with Silicon Valley in mind. In the last decade, more than half of all Silicon Valley start-ups were founded by immigrants. This is a statistic that Blueseed is well aware of and a trend they wish to preserve. Blueseed’s floating city would offer foreign nationals and entrepreneurs wishing to come to the United States a place to live and work, while circumventing immigration laws – much like the gaming business once did (by parking clients on ships in international waters) to avoid gambling restrictions.

Rooms onboard the visa-free vessel would accommodate 1-4 people, with residents being granted access to unlimited internet, gym, food, and medical facilities and services. The cost to stay aboard the ship would total $1,200 a month, with tenants required to at least secure a B1 Business Visa that would allow the individual to travel to the U.S. for business meetings, conferences, and seminars.

Is the United States immigration policy so archaic as to require the need for such an ambitious project? According to Silicon Valley Venture capitalist John Doerr, “we should staple a green card to the diplomas of every foreign-born science and engineering graduate of American Universites.” The answer would appear to be yes.


Never far behind the cutting edge, even high-tech companies are taking matters into their own hands by establishing overseas research and development centers to allow access to foreign and emerging talent.

At the same time the question goes begging, are projects like this undermining the safety, integrity, and to some degree, the authority of the U.S government? Should Washington take note and should the U.S. government look to secure all the foreign talent it can? It would seem that by not doing so, especially in the fields of science and technology, that we, as nation, are allowing our foreign competitors a vital advantage.

Silicon Valley is often heralded for being the world’s center for innovation – a characteristic Blueseed is certainly aiming to keep, with or without the help from the U.S. government and its labyrinthine immigration laws. Whether it’s smooth sailing for the startup or some stormy seas ahead, only time will tell. 

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