Extrapolating the concept of bitcoin as a decentralized currency into real life and trying to defy nation states’ authority can land to big trouble and breed unpleasant consequences.

This is what the U.S. citizen and bitcoin trader Chad Elwartowski, 46 and Thai girlfriend Nadia Supranee Thepdet are realizing now.

Their offense was erecting a cabin within the territorial waters of Thailand challenging that country’s supreme authority. Now the legal retribution for the offense will be either death sentence or life imprisonment.

Already the Thai authorities have revoked the couple’s visa and slapped charges for breaking Thai’s sovereignty by raising the cabin that is 14 nautical miles off the west coast of Phuket.

They are also activists of the “seasteading” movement in the U.S which advocates making floating homes and exploring new communities to stay untouched by the laws of any country.

But in Thailand, violation of sovereignty is a serious offense.

Calls it freedom moment

“I was free for a moment. Probably the freest person in the world,” Elwartowski wrote after the cabin sea home was set up on top of a large weighted pillar in the Andaman Sea.

In the Facebook post on 13 April, he celebrated the freedom moment.  But the freedom was short-lived and the Thai navy took a detour in the region and seized the cabin. Before the naval action, the couple fled.

In a video, Elwartowski also announced that he intends to build 20 more sea houses for sale and is going to create a community.

World’s first seastead

Ocean Builders, which built the structure for him, called the erected cabin as “the world’s first seastead.”

Elwartowski and Ocean Builders have been arguing that the cabin was in international waters and well outside Thailand’s jurisdiction

But the Thai authorities contend that the structure was within their 200-mile exclusive economic zone and the action was a violation of its sovereignty.

The Navy accused the couple of trying to establish a “permanent settlement at sea beyond the sovereignty of nations by using a legal loophole.”

Flees the cabin seeing surveillance aircraft

Elwartowski and Supranee fled the structure as soon as a surveillance plane flew over them. They are said to be hiding somewhere in Thailand.

The U.S. Embassy in Bangkok has said Elwartowski has hired a lawyer and it will extend appropriate assistance.

The Seasteading Institute backed by PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel seeks to build floating cities. According to reports, the Seasteading is in talks with French Polynesia for a floating city in its territorial waters.