A group of Czech citizens has declared a new state, the Free Republic of Liberland, in a tiny 6-square-kilometer territory along the Danube River between Croatia and the Republic of Serbia. The Liberland territory is not claimed by either of these two states, which according to the group permits it to declare a new “microstate” in compliance with international law.
After the Yugoslav Wars, some borderland territories have been disputed, but this area has remained unclaimed. Liberland was created entirely in accordance with international law because it is based on the no man’s land which was claimed neither by Serbia or Croatia in the process of demarcation, InSerbia News reports.
On April 13, 2015 a Preparatory Committee declared the new state on the spot and raised a flag to claim the land. Vít Jedlička, who was elected by the committee as president of the republic, is preparing a constitution as well as diplomatic notes, to be sent to the two neighboring states and to the United Nations, and later to other countries, to inform them about the establishment of the new state of Liberland.
Creating a new micronation and getting it formally recognized is a daunting task, but Jedlička is persuaded that the initiative will succeed.
“The only thing that could stop us is an army,” he told Bitcoin Magazine. He added that the process to claim sovereign nation status recognized by the international community has started.
Jedlička is associated with the Czech Party of Free Citizens, a libertarian political party in the Czech Republic. The party is against too much government intervention in the economy and in the personal lives of citizens. Its members are free-market advocates and oppose the centralization of political power. In accordance with libertarian politics, the motto of Liberland is “To Live and Let Live.”
While BBC News questions whether Liberland is actually just a publicity stunt, the microstate is accepting applications for citizenship from people everywhere – provided they don’t have a “communist, Nazi or other extremist past.”
“The objective of the founders of the new state is to build a country where honest people can prosper without being oppressed by governments making their lives unpleasant through the burden of unnecessary restrictions and taxes,” states the Liberland website. “One of the reasons for founding Liberland is the ever expanding influence of interest groups on the functioning of existing states and the consequent worsening of living conditions of people. The founders are inspired by countries such as Monaco, Liechtenstein or Hong Kong.”
This sounds very appealing to libertarians everywhere, but the challenge is big. It seems likely that the powers that be could easily crush the new microstate as soon as they notice it. Perhaps the only thing that could protect tiny Liberland in its delicate launch phase is a massive display of popular interest. And, in fact, it appears that Liberland is going viral on the Internet, with tens of thousands of signups on its Forum and Facebook page and a lot of applications for citizenship from all over the world in only a couple of days. It appears that many people are ready to try alternatives to traditional politics.
The idea that Liberland could adopt a cryptocurrency, and make it official, is trending on the Liberland Forum and Reddit. Jedlička briefly discussed the idea with the Czech press, and a participant in the Reddit discussion provided a translation. Jedlička answered the question “So do you want to create your own currency?” by stating that Liberland is planning to create its own cryptocurrency (a digital currency like Bitcoin), but on the territory of Liberland it will be possible to use any currency.
Jedlička confirmed to Bitcoin Magazine that Liberland will not have an official currency, but accept all currencies, including bitcoin and other digital currencies. There are plans to establish a Liberland banking system and, according to Jedlička, some banks have already expressed interest.
Perhaps the tiny libertarian dreamland in the Balkans doesn’t have much of a chance in the harsh reality of real politics, but the adoption of bitcoin as one of the currencies accepted by a sovereign state could have a huge impact.
Image via liberland.org.
Giulio Prisco is a writer specialized in science, technology and business. He is persuaded that Bitcoin and its underlying technology are about to bring disruptive positive changes to finance, business, and society.