Press Releases We’d Like to See: Iceland Embraces the Bitcoin Economy

Continuing our series of monetary-themed press releases we’d like to see (but probably won’t):

Iceland Embraces the Bitcoin Economy
Unveils comprehensive program for
21st century financial leadership

REYKJAVIK, Iceland — May 1, 2013 — The Republic of Iceland today announced a comprehensive program to make Iceland the leading nation state in the emerging Bitcoin economy.

“Bitcoin is a math-based, digital currency that provides the foundation for addressing many of the financial challenges afflicting both the real economy and the digital economy today,” said Snorri Thorodinsónssónssónssónssón, Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs for the Republic of Iceland. “With our abundant, low-cost geothermal power and our formative experiences in the recent global financial crisis, no nation is better positioned than Iceland to help develop a new set of digital financial institutions the 21st century so desperately needs.”

Bitcoin’s many benefits – including cryptographically secure transactions, lower transaction costs, fraud mitigation, nearly instantaneous payments across the globe, transparent accounting and reduced dependence on “too big to fail” banks – make it the obvious foundation upon which to build a new financial system. As Iceland develops its digital economy powered by geothermal energy, a Bitcoin-based economy broadly benefits digital businesses hosted in Iceland, creates opportunities for new Bitcoin-based businesses and increases overall economic efficiency.

“Iceland intends to be at the vanguard of the new digital economy,” Thorodinsónssónssónssónssón continued. “While some may put their confidence in the resolve of policymakers, we put our confidence in the cryptographic assurance arising from the second preimage resistance of the SHA-256 hashing algorithm.”

The government’s comprehensive program includes:

  • Bitcoin Payments – Iceland will immediately accept Bitcoin as valid payment for all government transactions including taxes, customs, duties and other fees.
  • Government Finance – Iceland will sell the first Bitcoin-denominated government bonds and offer its citizens the option of Bitcoin-denominated assets in government pension plans.
  • Economic Development – in conjunction with the burgeoning data center industry in Iceland, the government will incentivize new Bitcoin-based businesses, including exchanges, mining operations and a new generation of financial institutions, to locate and grow in Iceland.
  • The Icelandic Bitcoin Furnace – the Icelandic government will sponsor the crowdsourced design of a custom, ASIC-based Bitcoin mining device for the home. The device will offer terahash-class mining performance along with highly efficient heat recirculation for the long Icelandic winters. The government has reserved significant 28nm semiconductor fabrication capacity for production of the final design, which will also be made available as an open source reference design.
  • Advisory Services – Iceland will make its expertise in Bitcoin available to other sovereign nations interested in joining the 21st century financial economy through a range of consultative services. These services will initially be available through Icelandic embassies in Athens, Dublin, Lisbon, Madrid, Nicosia, Paris, Singapore and Zurich.

No diacritical marks were harmed in the making of this post.

And if you are a Bitcoin-related (or other cryptocurrency) startup, whether you are in Iceland or not, I want to talk to you. See the About page for information on how to contact me.

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