Panama-based company Ocean Builders is preparing to remodel the former Pacific Dawn, a 1991-built ship. It characterizes a blockhain-tech cruise ship, a small floating city to host businesses, which would include stores and restaurants that accept bitcoin (BTC) from proposed customers. The craft was renamed Satoshi in a seeming bid to honor the cryptocurrency’s founder.
Chief Operation Officer (COO) at Ocean Builders, Chad Elwartowski, told Cruise Industry News that the company would be “upgrading and doing any repairs needed” on the ship once it closes the sale but declined to give any particulars on the project, claiming it is contractually a secret.
The vessel was earlier operated by P&O Cruises Australia, a British-American owned cruise line. The crypto cruise ship’s cabins are available for sale, ranging between $25,000 to $50,000. Seven hundred seventy-seven cabins should be made available to customers, lured by cruises that will set sail from the Mediterranean to Panama.
Asked about the reasons for which the company picked Panama for its project, Elwartowski pointed to the country’s crypto-friendly climate.
“Cryptocurrency is completely legal in Panama, they don’t have a central bank,” according to Elwartowski. “They have [their domestic currency the] balboa, but everybody uses dollars here.”
An analysis by the UK-Estonian financial consultancy Private Finance claims that Panama “is rapidly updating its financial legislation and is internationally considered a promising state for FinTech business” due to its preferential “taxation and support of blockchain technology at the official level.”
The COO stated the company considered the Panamanian authorities as friendly. A team of maritime lawyers and Colombian Cruise Services would help Ocean Builders make sure the project fits within the country’s legal framework.
“We are definitely going to be fully compliant with the laws,” Elwartowski said. “Panama is more welcoming to our projects and boosting the economy than Thailand was.”
The company representative referred to a 2019 incident that involved the Thai officials accusing Elwartowski and his then-girlfriend and current wife of violating the country’s laws while living in a sea home off the Thai coast. Thailand’s Navy eventually seized the house.
Meantime, as announced by KPMG, despite multiple outbreaks of COVID-19 and doubt over when sailing will reconvene, various reports say that there has been an increase in the booking for 2021 compared to 2019.
“This shows people are still looking forward to future travel on cruises, however, it may be harder to convince first-time cruisers. The poll conducted by CruiseCritic.com shows 75 percent of 4600 cruise passengers are excited in cruising after COVID-19 ends,” the consultancy firm said in a report this past July.