If you have never heard of the self-proclaimed country of Pohntina, then you can line up with just about everyone else in the world.
The minute country is an outcrop less than 100 metres off Funchal, the capital of the Portuguese Atlantic island of Madeira.
Measuring just 178 square metres, the rock is essentially an old fort that protected the approach to Funchal’s harbour.
Pohntina has hit the headlines by declaring the island will become the first country to adopt Bitcoin as an official currency.
The Portuguese art teacher who bought the island, Prince D Renato Borros – the title was self-bestowed –has a history of making outrageous claims to publicise his island to tourists.
Island to be renamed Atlantis
Besides adopting the online currency, the prince intends to rename the island Atlantis.
These are just a foretaste of forthcoming events planned for the island, which has four inhabitants.
Prime Minister Joby Weeks said: “This is just one of many changes to come as we transform this historic island into a centre of international libertarian freedom and offer citizenry to other like-minded individuals.
“The virtual freedom of Bitcoin is closely aligned to the principles we want to promote.”
In media interviews, Weeks has expanded on his ideas.
One aim is to set up a cryptocurrency bank on the island that will represent Bitcoin exchanges and companies trading in the currency.
However, this does not seem to sit well with the Bitcoin ideal of being beyond the control of any government or central bank.
Ambassadors with a spare room
As for Atlantis, Weeks wants to enlist the help of ambassadors around the world.
One requirement is that ambassadors must have a spare room in their home at the disposal of other ambassadors who may wish to take advantage of the facilities.
Another idea to expand the population of the island is a proposal to offer e-residency. Residents need not move to Pohntina or Atlantis, but can register online as citizens, receive a passport and identity documents and other benefits.
The reality behind the headlines is that the leaders of Pohntina are looking for ways to monetise their investment. Weeks does not say whether future ambassadors and citizens of Atlantis will have to pay for their titles and privileges but the likelihood is they will.