Cryptocurrency Auroracoin Given to Every Person in Iceland

A team of Icelandic cryptocurrency enthusiasts is gearing up to launch an altcoin designed specifically for Iceland's population.

AccessTimeIconFeb 5, 2014 at 10:30 a.m. UTC
Updated Sep 11, 2021 at 10:19 a.m. UTC
10 Years of Decentralizing the Future
May 29-31, 2024 - Austin, TexasThe biggest and most established global hub for everything crypto, blockchain and Web3.Register Now

A team of Icelandic cryptocurrency enthusiasts is gearing up to launch an altcoin designed specifically for the population of Iceland.

is a litecoin-based digital currency, 50% of which is pre-mined. This is where it gets interesting: the pre-mined coins will be distributed to the entire populace of Iceland starting on 25th March. Each one of the country’s 330,000 citizens will receive 31.8 auroracoins.

Why Iceland?

Iceland’s banking sector does not have a very good track record, and this appears to be the driving factor behind auroracoin. The team cites the government's use of strict capital controls following the collapse of the local banking sector in 2008.

These controls are still in effect, and the auroracoin team disputes the notion that they are good for the economy, or the people of Iceland for that matter, stating:

“These controls were supposed to be 'temporary', but as with so many government actions, they remain in place to this day. This means that the people of Iceland have, for the past five years, been forced to turn over all foreign currency earned to the Central Bank of Iceland.”

“This means that the people are not entirely free to engage in international trade. They are not free to invest in businesses abroad. The arbitrary use of power this entails and the unsustainable debt of the Icelandic government has created uncertainty and risk in all aspects of commerce.”

The developers' statement continues: “This has had a crippling effect on foreign investment, as foreigners in general avoid investing in Icelandic enterprises, because of the risk of not being able to convert their investment back into dollars or euros.”

Digital currencies are one way of getting around the restrictions. In theory, they could allow consumers and investors to do whatever they like with their money, but only if the government does not step in.

Auroracoin's developers also point out that the Icelandic krona has lost 99.5% of its value since 1960 relative to the US dollar.

Print money, get out of debt


The trouble with the Icelandic financial system is not that it is in some way different than financial systems in other western countries, but that it was relatively small to begin with.

Once the bubble burst, Iceland’s relatively small economy could not help and the country still finds itself in a world of trouble. That explains the devaluation of the krona, as the government can only service its debt if it keeps increasing the money supply, resulting in high inflation.

Auroracoin is supposed to be distributed to the entire population by an “Airdrop” which should reach every citizen. That’s what sets it apart from other altcoins – it will have a large user base at launch, provided people take interest. This is, in part, made possible by Iceland’s extensive ID database.

It is an interesting concept, but it might have a few problems getting off the ground.

First and foremost, it will not be easy to reach the entire population and get them on board. Even if this happens, the government may choose to get involved, but it's an interesting experiment nonetheless.

Iceland Image via Shutterstock


Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that covers the cryptocurrency industry. Its journalists abide by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by the Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, digital assets exchange. The Bullish group is majority-owned by; both companies have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary with an editorial committee to protect journalistic independence. CoinDesk employees, including journalists, may receive options in the Bullish group as part of their compensation.

Learn more about Consensus 2024, CoinDesk's longest-running and most influential event that brings together all sides of crypto, blockchain and Web3. Head to to register and buy your pass now.