What is Fort Galt? Interview With Founder Gabriel Scheare

TDB's picture

Via The Daily Bell

Gabriel Scheare began mining Bitcoin in 2013 and then moved into real estate development a year later by co-founding Fort Galt, a new start-up village for entrepreneurs. He lives in Valdivia, Chile, near the project build site.

Listen to the full audio here, or read below for the slightly abbreviated transcript.

So What is Fort Galt?

Fort Galt is a startup village for entrepreneurs. So it’s not that unlike other gated communities, or homeowner’s associations, except that it’s very intentional in its design, and who it’s catering to.

It sort of came to being when I met my business partners, Luke and Lourdes Crowley at an entrepreneurship boot camp called exosphere. And that was a three-month program where a whole bunch of people gathered together in Chile from all over the world with business ideas and basically just trying to figure out what they wanted to do with themselves.

Some people had some good ideas, some not so much, but it was this great sort of an incubator type environment where there was a whole lot of cross pollination going on because everyone was living in close quarters, working in close quarters so ideas flowed very freely…

And so we really loved this environment… but it was very limited time wise, after the three months everyone went back to their home countries and fell back into their old habits. A lot of the business ideas never panned out and people just kind of let things fall apart.

But we got to thinking, what if we could solve that shortcoming at the end of the pipeline there. What if we could provide housing options, some kind of residential option for this where people wouldn’t have to go home after three months, where they could stay and keep working as long as they needed to.

We eventually got together… and we started basically asking ourselves what would our perfect community look like? Where do we want to live? How can we incorporate this theme into some sort of a permanent living environment?

And that was essentially three years ago and it has been sort of this slow step by step process of figuring everything out from absolutely nothing to where we are right now. Which is this gorgeous coast property in Valdivia rainforest. And we are essentially ready to pour concrete now once the weather clears up.

Did you all have this same Atlas Shrugged idea? Are you all big fans of Ayn Rand, or all pretty libertarian?

We all kind of have that background in common. It’s not a prerequisite for people moving in though. A lot of the people that we met at exosphere were very much not libertarians in their speech in what they professed. But what we found was that if you expatriate from your home country and you’re an entrepreneur… and go your own way and carve out your own way and make your own life–you’re pretty libertarian.

…So we did meet some of those, and some of those types of people even ended up joining us in the end. It was kind of reassuring that way and we have sort of incorporated that lesson in our own marketing and design. We don’t try to make it sound like we are only appealing to hardcore Objectivists. If you’re responsible for your own outcomes, if you’re a self-motivated self-reliant type person then you’re most of the way there.

It sounds like it’s more for young entrepreneurs and a lot of people that move there would have to be more location independent, is that correct?

That was the idea, and we incorporated in the design of our first main residential building, a handful of these small entry level affordable rooms with those types of people in mind. But we also found that we were appealing to a lot of other types that we didn’t count on.

A lot of retirees that are looking for an interesting environment to live in and interesting people to work around and a lot of ex-military people for some reason. They kind of go through this phase where they kind start to reevaluate their life choices and start planning an exit strategy and we tend to pop up on their radar.

How do you feel about the military people, is there a little piece of you that’s like, oh good, now we have this tight knit community that can defend itself?

The more talent we have the better. I kind of adhere to this concept of keeping the community small enough where you can actually know everyone very well. That’s the context I grew up in, in a small farming community. You didn’t have very many neighbors but you made the effort to get to know them very well because you knew you would have to lean on them sometimes.

It was kind of anarchism in practice just by default because there were no cops around. There was this one summer where we had all these straw bales that caught fire and the whole farm could have burnt down but the neighbors saw the smoke and they all came and put the fire out. Not the fire department the neighbors. So we are carrying that philosophy into this context. We want basically an environment populated your ideal neighbors.

Could this be a curation space for investors, with the young entrepreneurs living alongside older experienced retirees?

Absolutely, and that is one of the things that attracted me to Chile in the first place. There was this other project that was promising a very similar environment where you would have the young nimble start-up kids co-mingling with the older retiree people who have more experience to share, could be valuable mentors, maybe some investors with capital to share… so yea we are definitely working that angle.

How much of a town do you think you’ll be able to make it?

I’m a big believer Dunbar’s number which says once you get over 100 people it gets really hard to actually know them. So somewhere near 100-150 people, I would think would be kinda the max.

What will happen if there is overwhelming demand for this? Would you start another next door? Or say tough luck?

We just have to listen to the market on that. If there is a waiting list of people that want to live in the same general location, then we have to find another property close by…

But for me, the long term plan is to replicate this all over the world, using the Freemason concept of having a lodge in each town so people can travel freely and work easily and integrate into new places as they are traveling. So eventually we can network all these locations together to be a sort of decentralized nation that’s not dependent on any one physical country.

The fact that it’s on the coast, is that more than aesthetic? Or is there something there?

Ha! You’re thinking ahead. You can’t really look at the beach and not envision building some kind of a port there. It doesn’t have to be anything enormous but some kind of a dock or something at some point will definitely be considered. We do have members that have boats and it would be convenient for them. And of course, we are all big fans of seasteading so we would love to participate in that…

I’ve heard you say in the past, the reason you’re channeling Ayn Rand is that [the inhabitants of Galt’s Gulch] weren’t just going off on their own, they were going to Galt’s Gulch to live amongst these other producers. How can you make sure the people moving here are that type of person? Is there a curation process? 

Yes, we do vet people before we let them join. normally that just involves getting to know them a bit through conversations. And we have a lot of people that like to come down and actually visit the site see it for themselves. We have had to turn a few people away but not very many…

Right now all the big decisions are made by the founding partners, just by default, because we are the ones that are actually here doing stuff. As things come together and people move in on site and the population blossoms it will be up to the members to decide whether or not they like our service…

So people will own their own lots?

Yes. If you look on the website there’s a map showing the lots and you can buy any of those right now. We aren’t actively pushing them yet because we decided to focus on marketing the main building first because that’s kinda the reason for people to be here.

I mean unless you just love living on the coast in a gorgeous rainforest, which I mean I would. But that’s not enough of a reason to really justify leaving your life behind and moving to Chile and taking a huge leap like that. But once the crown jewel is in place then we think that will serve as a sufficient magnet to really attract people to come and buy lots…

In the main building in order to avoid all the SEC regulations and crap like that, we came up with a clever system kind of based again on the Freemason model of a private club. There’s a lot of loopholes around rules and things like that there, so what it is you’re are buying a membership into the clubhouse.

So you are not buying property which the SEC would regulate. We don’t have to worry about our US clients or anything like that because they aren’t buying land they aren’t buying any kind of asset. They are buying a membership which entitles them to exclusive use of their room. And it’s transferable, they can pass it on to their heirs, they can sell it. In practice, it is as if they bought the property. But legally speaking it is just a club membership.

And dispute resolution?

The first step is just resolve your own problems, come on, we’re all frickin grown-ups, act like them. But if that fails people agree to a third party arbitrator…

It’s just sort of a case by case thing, but there are steps in our policy to handle these things…

We’re definitely not like that stereotypical homeowner’s association that runs around measuring blades of grass.

Who’s gonna build the roads?

Where we’re going, we don’t need roads. Seriously though, we do have these little paths throughout the village. How they want them built up, will be up to them, the members that is.

Right now they’re just tramped down dirt, they are fine for most cars. But if they want gravel they can have gravel if they want pavement that’s fine, if they want solid platinum, I guess that’s possible. It’s all comes down to how much do they want to pay for.

I once lived at a homeowners association in California that was built around of a golf course, and everyone resented that gold course because it was just a money pit. There was no avoiding having to pay for it so I definitely learned my lessons from that and we are not imposing costs on the members that they don’t want. It is just going to be up to them, how much service do they want, how much infrastructure do they want, and are willing to pay for.

What part of the project are you most focused on right now, where’s all your time and energy going?

… I started this new little project called the Crypt Academy which is essentially a one room schoolhouse. The idea being that we will offer free educational courses for the locals… to promote cryptocurrency use. Because here in South America it is still one of those crazy nerd things that doesn’t make any sense and is scary and stuff. We just need a physical interface to help people get comfortable to help people use it and try it.

The idea of the one room schoolhouse goes back to where I grew up. My grandparents went to one and that was very common back then where you’d have the older kids in school mixed in with the young kids so they could help them and then the young kids had fresh perspectives on things and they can help each other.

It’s just this melting pot of not just talent but also enthusiasm too because sometimes you can get burnt out. And sometimes the teacher needs help too like managing a bunch of kids is hard sometimes. We know this is a village where kids will be growing up so thinking ahead and having a facility like that in place will be useful. We can use it not just for putting on workshops but also for our own children to go to school in.

It almost sounds like this is an alternative to college?

Our experience at exosphere made [it] painfully clear. College and university or whatever is obsolete. That model is completely useless now, it looks like a joke. So we need to rethink this, and that doesn’t necessarily always mean making things more high tech more advances and weird.

Sometimes you can look to the past for inspiration too. And basically, with this one room school house that’s the point because we are teaching cutting edge scary tech stuff were balancing that out by doing it in a more comfortable old fashioned environment to help people feel comfortable through the process…

How can readers keep up with what you’re doing?

If you want to keep tabs on what we’re doing, we do have a mailing list for the newsletter at FortGalt.com.

[We’re] gearing up to do fundraising for the construction of crypt academy, so the fundraising will be going through September… and you can keep track of that at cryptacademy.com.

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Synoia's picture

A Libertarian Paradise, but they have a Government.

That arbitor will slowly morph into a Judicial arm Government, becuse the arbiter is the enforcer of "rules" of law.

The people will get together to agree of some "rules" (aka A Congress, a legislature, or a City council,) they will vote and the Arbitor will enforce the rules.

And voila, you have either a representative democracy, or a strong man Government.

I'm amused at the speed at which libertarians re-invent to trapping of Government.

sotospeak's picture

Nobody claimed it's a Libertarian paradise. It's just a private gated community in Chile.

stacking12321's picture

You don't get it.
The difference is whether participation is voluntary or not, that's the key.
It's an opt-in situation, and they don't try to force anything on anyone who hasn't opted in.
If the us government behaved that way, I'd support them.

East Indian's picture

One more location for Antifa

CompleteAphasia's picture

Everything will be great until the men with the machetes come

sotospeak's picture

Only if their machetes are bulletproof and they have Jedi reflexes.

lulu34's picture

Wait until the HOA gets started !  The palce will become a "yuppies" "The Villages" with the STD's and no flags.

Not to mention the powder from Peru.

 

Setarcos's picture

Well it's already "kinda, like, gorgeous" and awfully PC my dear.  Makes my flesh creep.  Yuppies on steroids, or is it oestrogen?

Vardaman's picture

Galt wanted to be left alone to do his thing. No collectivists, no collaborationists, no communitarians and no HOAs. Anyone who doesn't get that didn't read the book, can't read or has reading comprehension issues.  In other words, a failed English major.  Perfect economics genius timber...

sotospeak's picture

If Galt wanted to be left alone to do his own thing, he wouldn't have moved to Galt's Gulch and spent all his time recruiting new people to join him. Their community had rules like "only gold is accepted as money here" and they all had to swear an oath to be allowed to join... Sounds like you're the one that hasn't even read the book.

sotospeak's picture

everything of value is a target

Belerophon's picture

Yet another libertarian community real estate scam?  Shall I list the previous ones?

sotospeak's picture

GGC never delivered what they pre-sold. This one does. Lots have already been sold and the new owners have taken posession so by definition, it's no scam. Try doing some basic research before making knowledge claims about things.

stacking12321's picture

If you want, go for it.
But you should definitely provide some evidence if you're going to say there's a scam, I get tired of idiots calling things scams that are not.
Your not liking something doesn't make it a scam,the word scam means something quite specific.

GRDguy's picture

Ummm, eagles don't flock.

Crush the cube's picture

Luke and Lord Crowley, is Alister hanging about there somewhere too?  X Sphere, nothing going on there, for sure.  A 3 Program.  I think I've already figured out what you intend to do with them.  Lots of cross pollination, how about cross dressing?  It does involve sodomy in one form or another, don't it?

No need to read any further, already get the joke.

 

 

Alananda's picture

Isn't Chile where US, Inc., et al. killed off Allende and other people with good thoughts toward humanity?  That's right, there's a WAR AGAINST HUMANITY, you are not the WAGER, you are the WAGEE.  Jus' sayin', as others do.

Benjamin123's picture

Shut the fuck up, Allende was a marxist thug.

"Good thoughts towards humanity". Jesus Christ... Why cant anyone have "good thoughts towards humanity" that do not involve mass property confiscation and capital controls?

Jay's picture

Wow. They should have called it something else after the Galt's Gulch, Chile scam. Ayn Rand hated libertarians, by the way. Her hatred of libertarians surpassed even her hatred of marxists and leftists.

I

Setarcos's picture

Methinks Ayn Rand hated everyone, including herself.  And as for some hero, heck John Wayne was FAR more real that the total fiction Galt.

Grin Bagel's picture

Check that website, I meant fortgalt.com

DEMIZEN's picture

i like the concept, but dude is obvousily a developer not a planner. to reap the synergies he would have to get a larger town going.

now if your average resident is 75 years old teabagging prepper this is basically just a retirement home with the crowd living off the rents.

 

sotospeak's picture

Larger towns begin as smaller towns. One step at a time.

Grin Bagel's picture

I would like to get in contact with this organization, but their fortgault.com site was too confusing and I dont do social websites....any suggestions?

stacking12321's picture

fyi it's fortgalt.com, no u in it

i've checked out their website before but never had contact with them

you can scroll down to the bottom of the page and there's a contact us form

Consuelo's picture

 

 

Well, I'm not here to shit in anyone's Cherrios but...

When I saw 'Chile' and 'new development' and 'entrepreneurs' and...

My immediate thought was Doug Casey's Argentinian Wine & golf paradise of La Estancia De Cafayate, or his other one in Uruguay I believe, but the name escapes me...

Just do your due diligence and all will sort out. 

foxmuldar's picture

The Galt of this guy trying to sell us swamp land. 

sotospeak's picture

There are pictures aplenty on the website. Clearly not a swamp. Prime real estate overlooking the ocean.

foxmuldar's picture

The Galt of this guy trying to sell us swamp land. 

VD's picture

makes perfect sense; a crypto-scammer selling swampland. perfect.

stacking12321's picture

Are you just an irresponsible slanderer with a big mouth, or is there some actual basis for you calling him a scammer?
If you're actually telling the truth, and I doubt it, you should post some evidence of that.

Urban Roman's picture

One of the regulars on TFMR went there to check it out a couple or three years ago.

Said the place is a dump, and the guy is selling lots on land that's a Chilean nature preserve. You can't build much of anything on them.

You can probably assume anything with "Galt" in the title is a scam... Caveat Emptor.

sotospeak's picture

There are tons of photos on the website. Basically the exact opposite of a dump. The nature preserve is to the south of it. People are buying lots there for well over a hundred grand and the main community center they're building is pretty huge so I dunno what you mean about no being able to build much of anything.

a Smudge by any other name's picture

Classic. Land ownership in Chile is a dicey proposition. Titles are often unclear as are layers of restrictions. And the locals are most definitely out to screw you.

I've been aware of 2 similar projects that failed in Chile.

More broadly I'm convinced that nothing can make libertarians live together in harmony. We can't hold anything in common, everything has to be owned by the individual. So you end up with a clump of people who all insist it's "my way or the highway". Misery ensues. The examples of failure in the USA are manifold.

I hope one day to see a survival bunker full of us. I hope to see this from a very safe location in heaven. It'll blow anything on Netflix or HBO away.

sotospeak's picture

I visited a couple of failed projects in Chile too. One was an outright scam. This one isn't and if you check the website, it's not even for libertarians. You won't find the words libertarian, objectivist, anarchist, or anything like that on there. It's explicitly for entrepreneurs and their families. Founders are ancaps but that doesn't mean the whole village is just for ancaps like them.

August's picture

If you seek a Utopian community in the coastal rainforest, several were kick-started back in the late 19th century in the Puget Sound area.

You will need to fire up the DeLorean, though, since they all disintegrated within a few years.

Perhaps Chilean society is more tolerant of groups of Anglo outsiders....

BobEore's picture

what is TFMR ?

 

This is big~

no, I mean UUGE... humungus ... the new fungus among us DO NOT KNOW bout

TURD ferguson, his internet hangout for the hangdogs of the metallic world o pain/no gain... the sewers of GOLDNSILVERBurg where tough talkin bad mouthin poseurs with no real skin in this ol metals game ruled the roost for a near decade of bullshittin, misfittin and constant dissin of everybody what never bought their hype n histrionics.

an entire new generation of folk with no background in the bad ol days of bombastic shill sites pumpin precious 24/7 with a cheery 'back up the truck' mentality that kept the previous generation{s} of suckas successfully on the leash for long nuff to sap the savings n stamina of thousands of innocent merikan bagholders. !!!

 

BIG... I means BULLISH. sMElls like BREAKOUT to me. At last.

When the last Turdite/silverdoctard/wealthweaselite and WillieSillie subscriber have all BIT THE DUST.... DYING the most painful and deserved death for all the harm they caused in the course of creating their cult o my precious in abeyance of all sense, logic and facticity...

TO THE MOON ALICE!

we ready. Yu ready? Buckle up huckleducks/soul survivors. The wait may indeed be over.

Gold Dog's picture

Some of us see gold and silver as insurance against a rainy day.

Having been buying gold for most of my adult life I pray that it never goes to the moon. That would mean that the Federal Researve Notes have turnrd into dog shit while I was still alive.

Just my 2oz worth.

EDIT- I did visit the old Galt's Gultch in the spring of 2015 while in Chile on other business. Smelled like a scam and turned out it was!

http://ggcrecovery.com/ggc-investor-evaluates-ken-johnson/

 

My wife still wears the shirt they gave her.