A private nation, beyond the reach of earthly laws and tax men, is what you get when a Russian billionaire and a bunch of scientists put their heads together for a common dream project.
‘Asgardia’ may actually become a reality — and not merely a mythical Nordic abode — considering lakhs of would-be dual citizens have apparently signed up already for this potential country-in-the-sky whose stated objectives are to have several orbiting inhabited space stations (just like the island nations that become tax havens) with its own laws, maintain a freely accessible base of scientific knowledge and protect Earth from asteroids. But there is no mistaking the gravity of the fact that this ‘supra-nation’ would also then be above the law, literally.
The imminent launch of Asgardia’s first project — a nanosatellite to store data not merely in a cloud but above it — should catch the attention of those who “value” their privacy, not only in the west but also in India.
With tax havens becoming increasingly vulnerable to persistent investigators and many earthbound countries passing laws and carrying on crusades against illegal wealth, migration from offshore to off-planet will be hard to resist, even if the social life of potential citizens might be negligible. Why Asgardia also aspires to UN membership is less understandable.