On the 24th of March, every registered legal citizen of Iceland will be able to claim a handful of Auroracoins for free; Auroracoins are a virtual crypto-currency similar to and based on the ever-popular Bitcoin.
The original idea was thought up by an Icelandic entrepreneur called Baldur Odinsson who believes that distribution of the virtual cash to all 333,000 Icelandic citizens could help to restore some value to the Icelandic currency, the Krona.
The project has been made possible thanks to an earlier Icelandic government initiative which involved assigning a personal ID number to each Icelandic citizen. Each ID number is capable of being queried via a public database and this will enable Odinssons free Auroracoin project to verify that people are getting their fair share of the coins.
However, in order to give all Icelanders around 31.8 coins each, 10.5 million Auroracoins will be required. Mr Odinssons company is understood to be starting the process of mining the millions of coins required for the giveaway now.
Icelandic news reports on the project point out that the name "Baldur Odinsson" is a pseudonym and that his company is actually based in Panama. They also mention that Icelands tight controls on virtual currencies could prevent people from converting their free coins into a more valuable form of currency, including cash or other digital currencies such as Bitcoin itself but Mr Odinsson said in a statement that "Auroracoin will be immune to centralised meddling of any sort" by the government or other individuals.
Auroracoin has a slightly more stable exchange rate than the Bitcoin on which it is based, although, the plunge in the value of Bitcoin again late last week has negatively affected the value of Auroracoin.
More details on how Icelanders can apply to receive the free coins will be given at a later date but it has been confirmed that they will have until 24th of March, 2015 to claim their coins once they have applied. At this time, it is unclear what will happen to any mined coins that are still unclaimed after this date next year.
Source: BBC News | Image via auroracoin.org