Auroracoin is a cryptocurrency launched in February 2014 as an Icelandic alternative to Bitcoin and the Icelandic króna. Its unknown creator or creators use the pseudonym Baldur Friggjar Óðinsson (or Odinsson). They stated that they planned to distribute half of auroracoins that would ever be created to all 330,000 people listed in Iceland's national ID database beginning on March 25, 2014, free of charge, coming out to 31.8 auroracoins per person.
Auroracoin was created as an alternative currency to address the government restrictions on Iceland's króna, in place since 2008, which severely restricts movement of the currency outside of the country. Iceland's Foreign Exchange Act also prohibits the foreign exchange of bitcoins from the country, according to a government minister.
By using the Kennitala national identification system to give away 50% of the total issuance of auroracoins to the population of Iceland, a process dubbed the "airdrop", the developer hoped to bootstrap a network effect and introduce cryptocurrency to a national audience.
On April 22, 2015 in accordance with the original airdrop plan, the unclaimed pre-mined coins were verifiably 'burned' or made inaccessible by being sent to the address AURburnAURburnAURburnAURburn7eS4Rf.
Some Icelandic politicians have taken a negative view of Auroracoin. During a parliamentary debate on March 14, 2014, MP Pétur Blöndal, vice-chair of the Parliament's Economic Affairs and Trade Committee (EATC), emphasized that potential tax evasion through the use of Auroracoin could impact Iceland's economy. He also said that the public should realize that Auroracoin "is not a recognized currency since no-one backs the medium".
MP Frosti Sigurjónsson, a member of the ruling Progressive Party and Chairman of the EATC, suggested in a blog post on his website that there is evidence that Auroracoin is an illegal financial "scam".
Óðinsson said that "(parliament) can make it illegal to own or trade Auroracoin, however, they will never be able to control such a decentralized system, or stop Icelanders from using the currency, without turning Iceland into a police state.”
Between its peak of around 0.1 BTC and the 30th of March 2014, Auroracoin's value fell to 0.004BTC. Auroracoin has fallen in value further since.
- Casey, Michael J. (2014-03-05). "Auroracoin already third-biggest cryptocoin–and it’s not even out yet". (Blog) The Wall Street Journal.
- Rizzo, Pete (2014-03-03). "Iceland’s Auroracoin passes Litecoin, becomes third largest altcoin by market cap". CoinDesk.
- Charlton, Alistair (2014-03-04). "What is Auroracoin? Icelandic cryptocurrency passes Litecoin with $1 billion valuation". International Business Times.
- "Höftin stöðva viðskipti með Bitcoin [Controls suspend trading in Bitcoin]". mbl.is (in Icelandic) (Morgunblaðsins). 2013-12-19.
- "As Auroracoin "Airdrop" Approaches, What Does It Mean When A Nation Adopts A Cryptocurrency?". Tech Crunch. 2014-03-01.
- Gola, Yashu (2014-03-15). "Auroracoin vs Icelandic Government". Forex Minute.
- Cawrey, Daniel (2014-03-14). "Icelandic Parliament Committee Holds Closed Session to Discuss Auroracoin". Coindesk.
- "Frosti Sigurjónsson" (in Icelandic). Frosti Sigurjónsson. 2014-03-07. Retrieved 2014-03-26.
Ýmislegt bendir samt til þess að hér sé um að ræða peningasvindl og brot á lögum.Blog cited to provide original source of Coindesk's translation.