Last month I travelled to Central America in order to speak about Free Cities at El Salvador’s yearly Bitcoin conference, Adopting Bitcoin. During the trip I managed to make a brief excursion to neighbouring Honduras in order to visit Próspera, the innovative Free Cities project on the island of Roatán. By the end my journey I had managed to interview more than 10 people connected with the Free Cities movement and these recordings now constitute the first episodes of the new Free Cities Podcast which I will continue to publish every week from here on out.
Below is a short synopsis of the first 5 episodes available to listen now.
Please subscribe to the podcast and look out for new episodes every Friday.
Episode 001: Free Cities Overview with Peter Young
Peter Young is the Managing Director of the Free Cities Foundation. He leads the operational management of the Foundation, with oversight over project delivery, communications and finance.
In this, the inaugural episode of the podcast I talk with Peter about the Free Cities Foundation and its work. We also discuss Austrian economics, civilisation and the importance of contracts, education, the nature of protest, and parallel systems of finance including Bitcoin.
Finally, Peter gives an overview of the hugely successful Liberty in Our Lifetime conference hosted by the Free Cities Foundation in Prague in October.
Episode 002: Working in Próspera with Ricardo González
Ricardo González is an executive member at Honduras Próspera on the island of Roatán in Honduras.
He is an experienced Honduran attorney with a background in business development, start-up incorporation, counselling to mid to small-sized organizations, operation management and mentorship. He got his Masters in Law (LLM) at Penn State University with a concentration in Corporate Law and Practice.
This episode was recorded in Próspera in Honduras. Próspera is the innovative Free Cities project based on the Honduran ZEDE law (Zone for Employment and Economic Development) and it has its own civil law and regulatory structure, independent of that of Honduras.
This conversation is a deep dive into everything Próspera, including its history and the history of the ZEDE laws. Ricardo is thorough in his descriptions of what it’s like to live and work in a ZEDE as well as speaking candidly about his experiences dealing with the Honduran government during his time working on ZEDEs.
Episode 003: Building a Free City Bank with Christian Betancourt
Christian Betancourt is an attorney with experience in banking and finance as well as fintech and legal tech. He is the co-founder and general council at Seshat Bank, a commercial bank that has been licensed in Próspera. Seshat was the first custom regulatory regime that was approved within Próspera leaving Christian with many intriguing anecdotes from his work during this time.
Christian is always very thought-provoking in his conversation and we discuss many ideas including liberty and self determination as well as concepts around the notion of sovereignty. He also speaks about Honduran ZEDEs, about their history and that of many other autonomous zones around the world.
We finish talking about the process of setting up the bank in Próspera and how he helped create the bank’s own unique regulatory framework as well as discussing a few of Christian’s ideas about the future of banking, especially the roles of cryptocurrencies and Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs).
Episode 004: Bitcoin & Free Cities with Stephan Livera
Stephan Livera is the host of one of the world’s leading Bitcoin podcasts and he is also the Managing Director at Swan Bitcoin International. He contributes to various outlets and publications including Bitcoin Magazine and Mises Institute as well as speaking at Bitcoin conferences internationally.
After speaking at the Free Cities Foundation conference, Liberty in our Lifetime, Stephan wrote an excellent article for Bitcoin Magazine pointing out the striking parallelism between the Bitcoin movement and the Free Cities movement.
Stephan is a natural advocate for Free Cities. He recently chose to leave his home country of Australia to move to Dubai and he discusses the rationale behind this decision in detail in this conversation.
We also talk in depth about the pandemic and consequent lockdowns and the importance in this day and age of Flag Theory, the concept of insulating oneself against the actions of unfriendly governments by establishing homes in multiple jurisdictions around the world.
Stephan’s case for Bitcoin is truly compelling and he sees it as humanity’s best shot at creating real and long-lasting liberty on Earth.
Episode 005: ‘COVID Refugees’ with Tom & Emily Lahdenranta
Tom and Emily Lahdenranta made the ultimate commitment to ‘voting with their feet’ when they sold their house and possessions in British Columbia and moved with their three young children to Central America.
Their move to a better life was triggered by Canada’s strict COVID-19 restrictions, which meant that, amongst other things, Emily was fired from her nursing job on account of her choice not to take a mandatory vaccine. This situation, combined with what they considered to be the unacceptable and increasingly authoritarian trajectory of their own government, compelled them to leave their home country for Mexico, beginning a quest to find a place in which they felt they had the freedom to raise their family in the manner to which they aspired.
Over a year later, that place turned out to be El Salvador, where they now live.
We spend most of this conversation talking about the path that brought them to this point as well as the trials and tribulations of life as ‘COVID refugees’.
Tom and Emily’s story is both shocking and hugely inspirational. They recount their experiences openly and give a fascinating insight into what it takes to make a bold move like this successful.