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Here are a few points about why “cyberspace,” or a computer-mediated network, is more hospitable than physical locations for the kind of “crypto-anarchy” libertarian system I’ve been describing.

Several folks have commented recently about ocean-going libertarian havens, supertankers used as data havens, and so forth. In the 1970s, especially, there were several unsuccessful attempts to acquire islands in the Pacific for the site of what some called “Libertaria.” (Some keywords: Vanuatu, Minerva, Mike Oliver, Tonga)

Timothy C. May: Libertaria in Cyberspace
**The following essay was written by Timothy C. May in 1988. The essay “Libertaria in Cyberspace” can be found on an archived version of, and is reprinted here on for historical preservation. The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own. is not responsible for or liable for any opinions, content, accuracy or quality within the Op-ed article.**

Libertaria in Cyberspace or, Cyberspace More Hospitable to Ideas of Liberty and Crypto Anarchy

Obtaining an entire island is problematic. Getting the consent of the residents is one issue (familiar to those on the this list who weathered the Hurricane Andrew diversion debate). Being allowed to operate by the leading world powers is another… the U.S. has enforced trade embargoes and blockades against many nations in the past several decades, including Cuba, North Korea, Libya, Iran, Iraq, and others. Further, the U.S. has invaded some countries— Panama- is a good example— whose government it disliked. How long would a supertanker “data haven” or libertarian regime last in such an environment? (Stephenson’s fascinating Snow Crash didn’t address the issue of why the “Raft” wasn’t simply sunk by the remaining military forces.)

I should note that the recent splintering of countries may provide opportunities for libertarian (or PPL, if you prefer

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currensceneFLOGO WHTsquareThough not the oldest form of currency, some form of shell money appears to have been found on almost every continent. The shell most widely used worldwide as currency was the shell of Cypraea moneta, the money cowry.

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