An American bitcoin entrepreneur could be facing the death penalty after Thailand’s navy accused him of violating the country’s sovereignty by building a “sea home’’ off the coast of Phuket.

Chad Elwartowski and his Thai girlfriend Supranee Thepdet, known as Nadia, have gone into hiding after the Thai authorities said they would take legal action against the pair for building a “seastead” home. The structure is made up of an octagon platform sitting atop a 20 metre long pillar and lies 12 nautical miles from the shore.

However, Elwartowski insisted the house was 13 miles from the shore, and therefore outside of Thailand’s jurisdiction.

Elwartowski and Supranee are pioneers of the “seasteading” movement, which envisages building homes and floating cities in seas outside of national jurisdictions, which are therefore not subject to the laws and taxes of any country.

Elwartowski, who worked as a software engineer for the US military in Afghanistan, Germany and South Korea before accumulating his wealth through…

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