In Depth

Liberland: the bitcoin nation welcoming mellow new citizens

In Depth: self-proclaimed free state follows ‘live and let live’ approach and tax is voluntary

The self-proclaimed Free State of Liberland will mark its third anniversary this year with its first ever celebrations on home turf - a three-square-mile patch of land known as Gornja Siga that is the product of a border dispute.

The micronation, on the Danube River between Serbia and Croatia, was created by Czech politician Vit Jedlicka in 2015 and has adopted bitcoin as its national currency. Other cryptocurrencies are also accepted.

Although officially recognised by no one, Liberland received 480,000 citizenship applications by the end of 2017, including 100,000 from the Middle East, and 18,000 from the US, Jedlicka told Radio Prague.

The land on which it sits was once part of Serbia, but ended up in Croatia when the borders were redrawn at the end of the Balkan Civil War in the 1990s. Croatia didn’t accept the land or the new borders, however, as it would have lost territory, reports the BBC, so Jedlicka planted a flag in the ground in April 2015 and declared it an independent nation.

Serbian and Croatian military forces forces were finally removed last year, allowing for freedom of movement, although access is only possible via the Danube River, because there is no border agreement with Croatia yet.

The country’s motto is “to live and let live”. Citizens can largely do as they please, with tax paid on a voluntary basis, and no laws against smoking marijuana. The nation accepts the cryptocurrencies bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash and Ethereum for its financial operations and donations, and the state budget is distributed among almost a dozen cryptocurrencies.

Jedlicka, a former financial markets analyst, says the nation has no debt and low running costs, so he is not worried about its digital coin stock.

“Putting yourself at the mercy of a highly speculative and intangible asset might sound like a recipe for disaster, but Jedlicka has not let this phase him,” says The Daily Telegraph.

Indeed, Jedlicka is urging interested parties to submit their applications for citizenship in time for spring. “That is when our social and cultural life starts to flourish. Liberlanders can occupy boats and houseboats parked in Liberland waters,” he told the newspaper.

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