Aug. 25, 2011 -- intro: "The future is limitless," said Peter Thiel , the PayPal co-founder, hedge fund manager and venture capitalist, who is harnessing that concept with his libertarian island nation for exactly 270 residents. In an interview with ABC News last May, the tech mogul described his ideas about finance, philanthropy and innovation, and in new photos released of his island venture, the world gets to see exactly what he's talking about.
quicklist: 1 media: 14380339 title: Thiel's Vision of an Independent Ocean Nation text: Thiel is working with Patri Frieman, previously an engineer at Google, to launch the first of the floating colony offices in the Pacific Ocean by 2012, reported Details magazine.
Thiel, 43, who launched PayPal in 1998 and was depicted in the Hollywood film "The Social Network" for his role as Facebook's first investor, has already sunk $1.25 million into the independent ocean colony that will be constructed in the waters of the Pacific Ocean, just off the coast of San Francisco. The republic would be independent from federal government jurisdiction and would sit atop a floating 12,000-ton structure with accommodation for 270 residents, he told Details magazine.
quicklist: 2 media: 14380371 title: A Modern Oasis text: The self-made billionaire is working closely with the Seasteading Institute to create sovereign nations in international waters, free from the laws of any country.
The Silicon Valley tech mogul hopes that dozens of similar structures will form an open-minded nation "with full diplomatic recognition by the United Nations," he told Details. Thiel is working closely with Seasteading Institute to create these self-governing communities in the ocean.
"Seventy percent of the planet is covered with water, and there's so much we can be doing with oceans and it was one of the frontiers that people have more or less abandoned," Thiel said in an interview with ABC News in May. "It's pretty far in the future but closer than, say, building cities on the moon."
quicklist: 3 media: 14380381 title: The Island Nation Is the First of Its Kind text: Thiel has been credited with transforming the world with PayPal, which he co-founded in 1998.
"It was a very basic idea: Take dollars and email and try to combine them," he told ABC News in May.
Thiel has become the poster boy for Silicon Valley libertarianism, the belief among many entrepreneurs that government hinders innovation. Openly gay, Thiel endorsed Ron Paul for president in 2008 and is is one of the GOP's biggest donors.
quicklist: 4 media: 14380402 title: Plans Are Underway to Launch the Colony Next Year text: Thiel hopes that the colony will expand beyond its initial space for 270 colonists.
The two-time Stanford graduate who recently made headlines with his decision to pay college students to drop out of school, clearly has an eye for ideas that turn into big, profitable companies.
quicklist: 5 media: 14380412 title: Thiel Ignores Skeptics text: The Silicon Valley billionaire was reportedly worth $1.5 billion earlier this year.
His ultimate goal for the autonomous colony, Thiel told Details magazine, "is to open a frontier for experimenting with new ideas for government," that include, "no welfare, looser building codes, no minimum wage and few restrictions on weapons.
"When you start a company, true freedom is at the beginning of things," he told the magazine. "The United States Constitution had things you could do at the beginning that you couldn't do later. So the question is, can you go back to the beginning of things? How do you start over?"
quicklist: 6 media: 14380452 title: A Self-Governing Community in the Pacific Ocean text: Thiel recently invested $2 million "to get college students younger than 20 to drop out of school and start a business with $100,000 each," ABC News reported last May.
While many of the details regarding Thiel's island nation remain unclear (Who gets to live there? Will they pay taxes? Is the island sustainable?) one thing remains certain. Thiel's plan of a floating island nation is a unique venture whose future is worth watching.