The former Pacific Dawn from P&O Australia may become a cryptocurrency haven in Panama as Ocean Builders may be planning to turn the 1991-built vessel into a floating community with shops and restaurants that accept bitcoins (as well as more conventional currencies).
The information on the Ocean Builders website reveals that the ship will be called “Satoshi” (after the smallest unit of a bitcoin) and the project – “Crypto Cruise Ship.”
The cabins will be sold to both bitcoin and non-bitcoin enthusiasts starting from November 5.
The Chief Operation Officer of Ocean Builders, Chad Elwartowski, told Cruise Industry News that they will be “upgrading and doing any repairs needed” on the ship once they close the sale.
Whether the ship that will be used in the project is P&O Australia’s Pacific Dawn is contractually a secret (as are other parts of the deal), said Elwartowski, but some pictures of the ship and deck plan are identical with those of the Pacific Dawn.
The parameters and amenities listed atop of the project presentation roughly match those of the Pacific Dawn, too.
“I could neither confirm nor deny this contractually (whether it’s the Pacific Dawn).),” Elwartowski said. “I’ll leave it to other people to make that determination … I guess once people see real pictures of it, it’ll be easier to figure out.”
Elwartowski is known in the public sphere for trying to live on the ocean, 14 nautical miles away from Thailand’s coast in 2019 – and for that being legally threatened by the country’s government. He and his then-girlfriend (now wife) have since left the country and relocated to Panama.
He said he has moved on from that traumatic experience.
“As far as we know, [Thailand authorities have] moved on from this. We certainly have. There was never a case opened on us, we were never charged with anything. I think that’s pretty much all over now, we’re definitely not worried about that,” Elwartowski told Cruise Industry News.
According to the information online, “Crypto Cruise Ship’s” cabins are being sold for $25,000 to $50,000. A total of 777 cabins will be available for sale.
While the price Ocean Builders paid for the ship is classified, Elwartowski revealed to Cruise Industry News that it’s much less than what it would have cost in 2019.
“The pandemic has brought prices down. I think the value of the ship last year was 100 million, and we didn’t pay that much,” he said.
The ship is expected to make its way from Greece to Panama in December.
How is Elwartowski going to make sure he doesn’t get into legal trouble this time?
He said that the Panamanian authorities are friendlier (than Thai), and he’s got a team of maritime lawyers and Columbia Cruise Services helping Ocean Builders stay within the legal framework.
“We are definitely going to be fully compliant with the laws,” he said. “Panama is more welcoming to our projects and boosting the economy than Thailand was.”
Elwartowski has also allegedly managed to bag a friendly relationship with the Panamanian government.
“We’re in contact with the government to ensure [that] anything that they see that we’re doing wrong, they can contact us [with] immediately,” he explained.
However, it seems like the company has not gotten the green flag for the Crypto Cruise Ship project yet.
“We’re still talking to [the Panama authorities] about the cruise ship, we’ve been talking to them for a year … We still don’t have a response to that. But Panama is very ship friendly… So hopefully they’re going to be as excited about it as we are,” Elwartowski said.
Explaining why the company chose Panama for this project, Elwartowski said: “Cryptocurrency is completely legal in Panama, they don’t have a central bank …They have balboas, but everybody uses dollars here, so there’s definitely no laws about using their currency.”