Updated: Jun 28, 2021
This article was originally published in Blockchain Industry Review - a Crypto Curry Club Magazine published monthly and available in soft copy and the printed version.
An Interview with Featured Contributor, Vit Jedlicka,
President and Founding Father of sovereign state, Liberland
Meet Vit Jedlicka, president and founding father of Liberland, a country now celebrating five years in existence.
When Vit was 13, he read a book by Frederic Bastiat - The Law - which changed his life. The book starts with a quote: “The law, I say, not only turned from its proper purpose but made to follow an entirely contrary purpose! The law became the weapon of every kind of greed! Instead of checking crime, the law itself guilty of the evils it is supposed to punish!”
A Czech economist and politician, Vit worked tirelessly in his home country to create a new society that was not hampered with the trappings of the old. Despite huge efforts, he found too many barriers.
“At that point, I realized it might be easier to start a new country than change an existing one.”
Once, this radical and inspiring thought grabbed hold, Vit and Jana Markovicova, his partner and co-founder turned to Google to search for land that might serve their purpose. The result was a sliver of forgotten land on the Danube and so Liberland was born.
The Free Republic of Liberland (known as “Liberland”) is a sovereign state with its physical territory located between Croatia and Serbia on the west bank of the Danube river. The nearest towns are Zmajevac (Croatia) and Bački Monoštor (Autonomous Province of Vojvodina, Serbia). On some maps, this area is referred to as Gornja Siga.
Since the breakup of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, a border dispute has existed be- tween Croatia and Serbia, with both sides presenting conflicting claims to various territories along the banks of the Danube River.
However, this area along the west bank of the Danube River had not been claimed by either Croatia, Serbia, or any other country and was therefore in a state of terra nullius, i.e. no man’s land, until the current president of the provisional government President Vít Jedlička and the other founders of Liberland laid claim to the territory on April 13, 2015.
“We are building a country that can serve as a good example for other countries. The biggest improvement is that, in Liberland, taxes are voluntary, and people are rewarded when they pay them. We founded Liberland on April 13, 2015 to celebrate the birthday of Thomas Jefferson. We wanted to invoke the spirit of American Revolution. We also want to combine the best elements of the American republic, Swiss democracy, and the meritocracy of Singapore. We want to put our system on the blockchain so that the government will work in a modern and transparent way.”
“I don’t much like democracy by itself – it can be mob rule – but we can create a better choice by adopting the Swiss voting model where people can veto where needed. People are not so good at creating positive policy but they are very good at vetoing bad decisions.”
Liberland bases its right to nationhood on the international legal rules which outline 4 key at- tributes. The first is a population, the second a defined territory, the third a government and finally the capacity to enter into international relations with other states.
In fact, the first attribute has been amazing. As President Vit explained: “The first day we had 2,000 applications for citizenship, the second 10,000 and by the third we had 200,000. This alone shows that there is a demand for what we are doing.”
Since Liberland was founded in 2015 there have been many advancements. There is a tech team in place, Ghostbusters, building the world’s first autonomous decentralised government, there are 100 global representatives and even 10 diaspora villages. Liberland has signed a recognition deal with fellow micronation Somiland and is actively talking with the UN for recognition.
Last year Liberland established a Free Trade Zone in Apatin in neighbouring Serbia to convert it to a Liberland Business incubator. The Liberland Group operates as a conglomerate to harbour the interests of Liberland companies. Working as an entity under one umbrella offers advantages like the organization of transport, shipping, loading, agency services, insurance and reinsurance, and banking and cryptocurrency payment services. Apatin is very close to Liberland and is located on the Danube River, a natural ‘road’ connecting ten European countries. The Free Zone in Apatin covers an area of 122 hectares, which provides plenty of space for future expansion just ten kilometers from Liberland on the Danube.
In 2019, the concept of a humanitarian assistance program for Liberland supporters to rally around was initiated. Liberland Aid Foundation (LAF) is a U.S. registered not-for-profit organization operated by Nicholas and Julia Rodriguez and Stephen Wood along with a board of directors with seven members. The LAF is focused on providing humanitarian aid, disaster preparedness, food assistance, water sanitation and hygiene, education and training, conservation and sustainability.
The LAF already channeled tons of food aid to victims of a cyclone in Somaliland, brought supplies and donations to a library operated by Students for Liberty in Uganda, sent laptop computers to a school in Serbia, and is bringing several tonnes of food aid to Haiti.
“Over the past five years we have grown from an idea to a reality. Each year we grow in numbers, strengths, supports and vision. We encourage like-minded individuals to come join us.”