Welcome to Arenztopia

Michael Yuan
4 min readMar 28, 2020


How to kill time during quarantine

We visited Italy for a 3-week vacation in Dec 2019. Tony was 9-year-old and that was his third trip to Europe. He was mesmerized by the history, culture, museums, grand architecture, and of course, delicious food.

Dusk in Florence, Italy. Photo by the author.

When we came back to Texas, Tony created a fictional country called Arenztopia. Arenztopia has a political system similar to that of Rome. It has grand cities, politicians, museums, schools, government offices, newspapers, and everything a country needs! Tony got his elementary school classmates to run the country — and amazingly he did not appoint himself the King. He is just the chief designer. Here is a map of the Arenztopia capital city.

Fast forward 3 months, with much of the US under quarantine for COVID-19, Tony said that his at-home project is to create a web site for the country of Arenztopia. Arenztopia’s government and newspapers are also publishing daily numbers of COVID-19 confirmed cases. He wants the world to know about it!

Tony only has a school-issued Chromebook. Everything has to happen on a web page. Here is how we created the site with just the web browser. Completely free. No server. No software. Can be managed by a kid. And can scale to very high traffic (thanks to GitHub Pages).

The flag of Arenztopia. Designed and created by Tony Y.

Where, what, and who

The country is located on an island off South America. Most interestingly, the national currency is a digital currency. Maybe that is because Tony likes his Bitcoins.



The tourism sections are written in the style of Rick Steves. Tony loved Rick Steves’ guides to Italy, Spain, Greece, and France when we visited those countries. He heard that Rick Steve does not cover South America. So, here we go. Those sections are filled with information about hotels, restaurants, and places to visit in the two major cities in Arenztopia. There are apparently a Texas Road and a Longhorn Street in the Arenztopia City.



The most interesting aspect of the web site is the newspaper. Those are weekly papers filled with imagination and details. They are from actual newspapers Tony created with his friends.

The actual Olb City Announcer newspaper
The COVID-19 virus has spread to Arenztopia

The Olb City Announcer newspaper is available for your entertainment for free now!

My favorite poem in the newspaper is “Social Distancing” by Mr. Tony Y.

Social DistancingToo Bad
I did'nt
Social Distance
because I
thought it
now I
have the

What’s next

I hope you will enjoy reading about Arenztopia. Tony and I wish to see you in the real world soon — perhaps riding subways in New York City, London, Beijing, and Tokyo as we used to do. Until then, keep safe and healthy!

About the author: Dr. Michael Yuan is the author of 5 books on software engineering. His latest book Building Blockchain Apps was published by Addison-Wesley in Dec 2019. You can get started with your first decentralized web app in 5 minutes using the BUIDL online IDE (with tutorials from the book). He is also the CEO of Second State, a company that focuses on bringing WebAssembly and Rust technologies to cloud, blockchain, and AI applications. Prior to Second State, Dr. Yuan was a long time open source contributor at Red Hat, JBoss, and Mozilla. Outside of software, Dr. Yuan is a Principal Investigator at the National Institutes of Health, with multiple research awards on cancer and public health research. He holds a PhD in astrophysics from the University of Texas at Austin.



Michael Yuan

Technologist and investor