Patri Friedman

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Patri Friedman (born July 29, 1976 in Blacksburg, Virginia) is an American libertarian activist and theorist of political economy.[1] He founded the nonprofit Seasteading Institute, which explores the creation of sovereign ocean colonies.[2][3][4]

Early life[edit]

Friedman grew up in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, and is a graduate of Upper Merion Area High School, class of 1994, where he went by the name Patri Forwalter-Friedman. He was named after Patri J. Pugliese, a close friend of his parents.[5] He graduated from Harvey Mudd College in 1998, and worked as a software engineer at Google.[6][7] As a poker player, he cashed in the World Series of Poker four times.[8]

The Seasteading Institute[edit]

Friedman was executive director of the Seasteading Institute, founded on April 15, 2008, with a half-million-dollar donation by PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel.[9] The Institute's mission is "to establish permanent, autonomous ocean communities to enable experimentation and innovation with diverse social, political, and legal systems".[10][11] This was initially a part-time project — one day a week while working as a Google engineer the rest of the time[6] — but Friedman left Google on July 29, 2008 to spend more time on seasteading.[12] He and partner Wayne Gramlich hoped to float the first prototype seastead in the San Francisco Bay by 2010.[13][14] At the October 2010 Seasteading social, it was announced that current plans were to launch a seastead by 2014.[15]

Since attending the Burning Man festival in 2000, Friedman imagined creating a water festival called Ephemerisle as a Seasteading experiment and Temporary Autonomous Zone. Through the Seasteading Institute, Friedman was able to start the Ephemerisle festival in 2009, aided by TSI's James Hogan as event organizer and Chicken John Rinaldi as chief builder. The first Ephemerisle is chronicled in a documentary by Jason Sussberg.[16] Since 2010, the event has been annual and community-run.

Future Cities Development[edit]

On 31 July, 2011, Friedman stepped down from the position as Executive Director of Seasteading Institute, but remained chairman of the board.[17] Later, he co-founded the Future Cities Development Corporation, a project to establish a self-governing charter city within the borders of Honduras.[18][19]

In 2012 it was announced the initiative would be halted due to the changing political climate of Honduras.[20]


Patri is the grandson of Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman[21] and economist Rose Friedman and son of economist and physicist David D. Friedman.[21][22] He is divorced and has two children.[23]


  1. ^ McCullagh, David (February 2, 2009). "The next frontier: 'Seasteading' the oceans". CNET. Retrieved 1 December 2014. 
  2. ^ Bruder, Jessica (December 15, 2011). "YOU'RE THE BOSS; Floating Incubator For Start-Ups". New York Times. Retrieved 1 December 2014. 
  3. ^ Flock, Elizabeth (August 17, 2011). "Peter Thiel, founder of Paypal, invests $1.24 million to create floating micro-countries". Washington Post. Retrieved 1 December 2014. 
  4. ^ Miles, Jonathan (September 1, 2011). "The Billionaire King of Techtopia". Details. Retrieved 1 December 2014. 
  5. ^ "My namesake has a Wikipedia page". Patri's Peripatetic Peregrinations. Retrieved 27 February 2013. 
  6. ^ a b Bowles, Nellie (June 1, 2011). "Patri Friedman makes waves with 'seasteading' plan". SFGate. Archived from the original on 12 March 2012. Retrieved 12 March 2012. 
  7. ^ O'Connor, Clare (November 10, 2010). "Names You Need To Know In 2011: Patri Friedman". Forbes. Retrieved 1 December 2014. 
  8. ^ "Patri Forwalter-Friedman". The Mob Poker Database. 2002–2008. Archived from the original on 12 March 2012. Retrieved 12 March 2012. 
  9. ^ Mangu-Ward, Katherine (28 April 2008). "Homesteading on the High Seas". Reason (magazine). Archived from the original on 12 March 2012. Retrieved 12 March 2012. 
  10. ^ "Peter Thiel Makes Down Payment on Libertarian Ocean Colonies". WIRED. 
  11. ^ Cooper, Charles (June 3, 2011). "Ocean cities? So says Milton Friedman's grandson". CBS News. Retrieved 1 December 2014. 
  12. ^ "More time for Seasteading - The Seasteading Institute". The Seasteading Institute. 
  13. ^ Adam Frucci. "Silicon Valley Nerds Plan Sea-Based Utopian Country to Call Their Own". Gizmodo. Gawker Media. 
  14. ^
  15. ^ " - October 2010 Seasteading Social at the Hyatt Regency SF". Retrieved 20 October 2010. 
  16. ^ "Ephemerisle Documentary 2009b by Jason Sussberg". Vimeo. 
  17. ^ Friedman, Patri (31 July 2011). "The Seasteading Institute – July 2011 Newsletter". The Seasteading Institute. Archived from the original on 12 March 2012. Retrieved 12 March 2012. 
  18. ^ "Free cities: Honduras shrugged". The Economist. December 10, 2011. Retrieved 12 March 2012. 
  19. ^ Doherty, Brian (December 6, 2011). "Seasteaders Take to the Land in Honduras". Reason (magazine). Retrieved 12 March 2012. 
  20. ^ Friedan, Patri (31 October 2012). "Future Cities Development ceasing operations". 
  21. ^ a b "Live Free or Drown: Floating Utopias on the Cheap". Wired. 19 January 2009. 
  22. ^ Moser, Whet (August 18, 2011). "Milton Friedman’s Grandson to Build Floating Libertarian Nation". Chicago Magazine. Retrieved 1 December 2014. 
  23. ^ "Patri's World". 

External links[edit]