During the financial crisis of 2007-2008, the Icelandic government imposed new restriction on the movement of capital into and out of the country. In 2014, when the cryptocurrency Auroracoin was launched in Iceland, these restrictions were still in place, and some Icelanders hailed the Auroracoin as welcome loophole. The restrictions were finally lifed in 2017.

The Auroracoin was originally based on the Litecoin and utilized a scrypt Proof-of-Work algorithm. In 2016, a new codebase was implemented; one with multi-algo architecture. The new codebase was based on DigiByte and had already proved its efficiency with the cryptocurrency Myriadcoin.


How old is the Auroracoin?

The Auroracoin was launched in February 2014 by the alias Baldur Friggjar Óðinsson.

The basics

Abbreviation: AUR

Symbol: ᚠ (the rune “fé”)

The rune ᚠ was chosen as a symbol for the Auroracoin because it symbolises cattle and other valuable domsticated animals, and has therefore also been used on Iceland to denote mobile wealth (as opposed to real estate).

Why Auroacoun instead of Bitcoin?

When the Auroracoin was launched, the Icelandic Foreign Exchange Act included rules that made it difficult to freely obtain and use Bitcoins in Iceland.

Also, half of the initial Auroracoins were distributed for free among the circa 330,000 people listed in Iceland’s national ID database, making them more appealing that Bitcoins that had to be bought. You can read more about this distribution of free Auroracoins below.

The free distribution of Auroracoin on Iceland

Right from the start, half of the created Auroracoins were designated to be handed out for free to the circa 330,000 people listed in Iceland’s national ID database. This meant roughly 31 Auroracoins per person. Interestingly, the Auroracoin project actually received permission from the Icelandic government to use the database for this purpose, even though the creation of the Auroracoin was far from non-controversal in the country.

The first phase of the distribution was carried out from March 25 to July 24, in 2014, when each qualifying claimant received 31.8 AUR. At the first day of free distribution, the AUR was trading at a value of 1 AUR: 12.11 USD, so each recipient on that day got a free gift worth around 385 USD. (Although, if everyone had tried to exchange their Auroracoins for dollars at once, the value would probably dropped significantly.) When the first phase was completed, a total of 35,430 persons had accepted auroracoins, meaning that a total of 1,126,6744 auroracoins had been distributed for free.

The second phase of the free distribution commenced right after the end of the first phase, and continued until November 24 that year. Since the distribution of auroracoins during the first phase (unsurprisingly) had caused a sharp drop in the value of the AUR against the Icelandic krona, the number of free AUR coins distributed during phase two was bumped up to 318 coins per qualifying individual. When the second phase ended, 5 024 persons had accepted free Auroracoins and almost 1.6 million free Auroracoins had bee distributed.

The third and final phase of the free distribution took place from November 25, 2014, to March 24 the following year. Now, each qualifying individual got 636 Auroracoins. During this phase, slighty more than 2,600 persons received free Auroracoins, meaning that over 1.65 million coins were distributed.

After the end of the third phase, a lot of Auroracoins that should have been handed out for free remained unclaimed, since far from everyone of the eligible persons had claimed their coins. As designated from the start of the project, these unclaimed coins – a total of 5,344,628 AUR – where “burned” which meant that they were made inaccessible by being transferred to the address AURburnAURburnAURburnAURburn7eS4Rf on April 22, 2015.

The Auroracoin Foundation

The Auroracoin Foundation encourages technical development of the Auroracoin system and promotes the use of this cryptocurrency in Iceland. The found was established in March 2015 and received 1 million AUR from the developer.