Billionaires’ biggest vanity projects

From the 10,000-year clock of Jeff Bezos to the "Titanic II" of Clive Palmer, it seems like the billion of billionaires, fueled by enormous wealth and even greater egos, knows no bounds.

In recent years we have seen a number of scifi-like vanity projects, from projects with cash to burn.

They seem to have a few things in common. Number one: they are extremely expensive and require millions and often billions of dollars. Number two: they are ultra ambitious, offer visions for the future or work as a form of escapism. Number three: they are an emblem of trust and show the firm faith of billionaires that everything they focus their hands on will be successful.

Here are five bold, brash and simple ideas that make you wonder if these billionaires have more money than sense.

Jeff Bezos & # 39; 10,000-year-old clock

What would you do if the richest person in the world were? Build a 500-foot tall clock that naturally keeps ticking for 10 millennia!

The installation, called the "Clock of the Tall Now", has received a massive $ 42 million (£ 32.6 million) order from Jeff Bezos & # 39; personal fortune. Granted, that's a change for the founder and CEO of Amazon, whose real-time assets are currently $ 117.9 billion (£ 91.6 billion) Forbes.

The construction of the giant clock, which took place in a hollowed-out mountain on the land of Bezos in West Texas, began in February 2018, although the completion date is unknown. The clock is equipped with bubbles that sound in a different order every day – no melody is repeated over the lifetime of 10,000 years.

The 10,000-year clock from Jeff Bezos. Image: Jeff Bezos / Twitter

In a blog written by the tech magnate, he claimed it would be an "icon for long-term thinking". Stewart Brand, one of the founders of the Long Now Foundation, said it would resist the "acceleration of technology" and the "short horizon perspective" that characterize our societies today.

Clive Palmer & # 39; s Titanic II

Instead of making something that will last for millennia, the Australian mining magnate Clive Palmer intends to reproduce a notorious, short-lived cruise ship.

The eccentric billionaire, also known for his involvement in Australian politics as part of the United Australia Party, announced his plan to build Titanic II in 2012.

The ship would be a detailed replica of the original, with the same layout, interiors and hull shape, as well as modern technology and improved safety features – and of course a few extra lifeboats so that history does not repeat itself.

The original launch date was 2016, but three years after the project was announced, a financing conflict between Palmer & # 39; s company Mineralogy and the Chinese company Citic ended the construction. In 2018, Palmer won the case and Citic was forced to pay $ 150 million (£ 116.6 million) in royalties to Mineralogy.

Clive Palmer & # 39; s Titanic. Image: Blue Star Line / YouTube

Nevertheless, nobody will soon break a bottle of champagne on the ship. There are conflicting reports in the media about how much progress has been made and where the ship is being built, whose cruise line – called "Blue Star Line" in honor of the original "White Star line" – has not been clarified.

Read more: Clive Palmer, the Australian billionaire who wants to rebuild the Titanic

Peter Thiel & # 39; s Floating Utopia

PayPal's co-founder, Peter Thiel, moved from Silicon Valley to LA and called the technology hub a & # 39; one-party state & # 39; with & # 39; group thinking & # 39; and liberal values.

But that was not enough for the tech-mogul – he wanted to get away so badly that he intended to create a politically independent floating "city" in French Polynesia. The project, announced in 2008, was to be funded with $ 1.7 million (£ 1.3 million) of own money.

The new independent & # 39; nation & # 39; would be built by the Seasteading Institute, a non-profit think tank founded by Thiel and Patri Freidman, the grandson of economist Milton Friedman. It is estimated that it would have cost at least $ 225 million (£ 174.8 million) to build.

The community could offer 250 inhabitants and would consist of detachable, interlocking platforms that float on water and are powered by solar energy and seawater.

Peter Thiel & # 39; s Floating Utopia. Image: Seasteading Institute

Yet it causes a stir among the local people from Tahiti. Many protested against the proposed project, which they called "tech colonialism," while local radio presenter Alexandre Taliercio said it would be a way for rich people to avoid taxation.

Progress seems to have come to a halt for the time being. In 2017, the French Polynesian government reported that its agreement with the Seasteading Institute had expired, although the organization has not publicly declared an end to the plans.

Igor Ashurbeyli & # 39; s virtual space kingdom

Ever wanted to live in a virtual kingdom in space? Apparently there are more than one million people who have registered as citizens of Asgardia, a country that currently only exists as a small satellite of 2.7 kg.

The project was led by Igor Ashurbeyli, a Russian billionaire who made his fortune through software company Socium.

Igor Ashurbeyli, the man behind Asgardia. Image: Asgardia / YouTube

He founded Asgardia in 2017 "to ensure the peaceful use of space, to protect the earth from dangers in space and to create a demilitarized and free scientific basis of knowledge in space", according to the website from Asgardia.

It's getting stranger. In a bizarre ceremony in June 2018, the eccentric billionaire was sworn in as "head of the nation", with all guests receiving a commemorative coin with his face on it. If you want to become a member of this virtual country, the application process could not be easier – simply complete a quick form online and declare that you agree with the constitution.

Yet this virtual nation has a questionable policy. The & # 39; government & # 39; will regulate information and Ashurbeyli can nominate his successor on any basis, and he has even played with the idea of ​​introducing mandatory IQ tests to become a citizen.

It is far from reality, but Asgardia wants to set up a foreign ministry and even a national bank, which Ashurbeyli believes will be completed in just 25 years.

Clive Palmer & # 39; s Palmersaurus

Clive Palmer seems obsessed with bringing things back from the dead – including dinosaurs.

In 2011, the billionaire purchased the Hyatt Regency resort in Coolum, Australia, with the intention of turning it into a family resort with a dinosaur theme.

Two years and many millions of dollars later (Palmer claims he "doesn't know exactly" how much he spent on it), his dream came true and Palmersaurus, complete with 160 life-size, lifelike dinosaurs, opened its doors for the first time.

Despite some early interest, it was a total flop. On TripAdvisor, 33% of visitors gave it only one star, one reviewer called it "a waste of time and money," and another called it a "ghost town."

The failed vanity project is more than just a shame for Palmer. The locals of Coolum had previously benefited from the Hyatt Regency resort, which employed 650 people and attracted many tourists to the area. Before Palmersaurus fell into disrepair and was closed in 2015, he reportedly employed only 90 people.

Read the following: The billionaires who use technology to live forever

Main image: @JeffBezos / Twitter



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