In the News

Finding Liberty In Parallel: Bitcoin And The Free Cities Movement

This is an opinion editorial by Stephan Livera, host of the “Stephan Livera Podcast” and managing director of Swan Bitcoin International.

October 28, 2022

Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending and speaking at Liberty In Our Lifetime, a conference organized by the Free Cities Foundation in Prague, Czechia. And it dawned on me that we’re now seeing the rise of an adjacent and relevant movement for Bitcoiners interested in citadels, and what they might even look like in the real world.

The Free Cities Movement is made up of a combination of Libertarians, Bitcoiners, free private city operators and investors, seasteaders, those seeking to create intentional communities and those attempting to create parallel institutions and structures within the existing statist world of today. What lessons are there in this movement and how can more Bitcoiners get involved?

At a high level, there is a strong crossover between the cause of many Bitcoiners and those pursuing free cities. They have a broadly Libertarian ethos, and they’re interested in financial freedom and creating parallel structures. For people unfamiliar with the free cities movement or the free private city concept, I recommend listening to my podcast episodes with Titus Gebel (SLP161, SLP417) or, of course, reading the free private cities white paper as ways of learning more.

As a leader in the free private cities movement, Gebel opened the conference up with a reminder on why there is a fundamental need for this parallel approach. He noted that modern day states are being driven by the “bolshe-woke” progressives. Many institutions of society have effectively been captured, bloated and/or corrupt. Progressives simply go where their ideas do not have to work in the real world, such as universities or in media.

Over time, the social and cultural degeneration has worsened, such that even a moderate or center-left person in decades gone by is now considered a “far right wing” person. For this reason, there is a need to create alternatives. But it is only through trial and error that we can understand which approaches work, and which ones don’t. Of course, there will be many states that resist this kind of thing, but there may be some that can be brought on board if the approach is “win-win” in terms of creating jobs and opportunities for people locally, or perhaps to attract foreign investment.

Overall, I sensed a bias toward action rather than merely speaking about the philosophy of freedom and Libertarianism, which is one I appreciate.


Some of the most prominent projects within the free cities community are based on the idea of using Honduran Zones For Employment And Economic Development (ZEDEs) to create the conditions for good, private governance.

Now, there's good and bad. The good is that the projects are carrying forward with building, and given a set up that promises favorable regulation and lower taxes, this could be attractive for investors, entrepreneurs and even workers. The bad is that there are challenges on the way, and some states will resist as they could view free private cities as a challenge to their national sovereignty.

Trey Goff of Próspera spoke about the market for governance and how globally, there is a huge market here in additional potential wealth. How much extra wealth could be created if people all around the world had access to high-quality governance?