In brief

  • A Bitcoin-themed cruise ship has been sold to new owners after its prior owners' plans to turn it into a crypto community were thwarted.
  • The ship was intended to become a floating home for the Bitcoin community.

The Satoshi, a cruise ship that was once intended to become a floating home for the Bitcoin community, may soon get new life with a new cruise line, according to reports in cruise industry outlets on Monday.

Last week, after escaping a ship scrapyard in India, the Satoshi reportedly arrived in Bar City in Montenegro, Cruise Industry News reported, citing multiple sources familiar with the matter. Now the vessel has reportedly been sold to new owners who have not publicly announced themselves, but TradeWinds reports that IHS Markit data lists the buyer as Wake Asset Co, which is registered in the British Virgin Islands, and lists the price tag at $12 million.

What was the Crypto Cruise Ship?

Formerly known as Pacific Dawn, the 804-foot vessel, built in 1991, was sold to a company called Ocean Builders in October 2020, which planned to turn it into a cryptocurrency-themed tech hub anchored in the Gulf of Panama. 

Ocean Builders had ambitious plans to launch a "Crypto Cruise Ship," providing blockchain enthusiasts with a place to live and work in a crypto-friendly environment. The company intended to auction off a total of 777 cabins, with residents expected to board The Satoshi as early as January 2021.

But the plan never came to fruition. In December 2020, claiming they had failed to obtain insurance for the concept of a community living aboard a former cruise ship, the project’s organizers sold the "Crypto Cruise Ship'' for scrap.

At the same time, the vessel was arrested by Panamanian authorities.

“We will not be able to proceed because of archaic big insurance companies that cannot adapt to innovative new ideas,” Ocean Builder’s CEO Grant Romundt wrote in a letter to potential investors at the time. 

It was claimed that with no insurance in place, the ship wouldn’t be able hire a crew and would lose both its class rating and flag, as well as the possibility of conducting any businesses. November 2020 was also the last time Ocean Builders were active on social media

The broken dream of a blockchain community at sea

Based at Linton Bay Marina on the Caribbean Sea in Panama, Ocean Builders was founded with the ambition of building “floating, off-grid seapod homes.”

Its key investor is Chad Elwartowski, an American Bitcoin trader driven by the desire to create permanent housing at sea, not bound by any governmental restrictions.

Chad Elwartowski
Chad Elwartowski at his home in Panama.

In 2019 Elwartowski and his girlfriend Nadia Supranee Thepdet launched a Bitcoin-funded initiative, building a floating house off the coast of Thailand. However, chartering new waters proved to be a harsh experience–just a few months later local authorities confiscated the sea-stead, accusing the pair of "deteriorating Thailand's independence." 

Under threat of life imprisonment, or even the death penalty, the pair abandoned their planned sea-stead, the pair relocated to Panama in a bid to relaunch Ocean Builders. A June 2020 video posted by Elwartowski shows a prototype vessel "which will be a great compliment to your seapod" being tested in a swimming pool.

Now, with new ownership of the Satoshi, COVID-19 vaccinations in distribution, and the price of Bitcoin up 870% over the last 12 months, you might say Bitcoin hope floats.