While the big Election Day in the United States is not too far away, Iceland’s voters will go to the polls over the weekend on October 29. A newcomer in the race, known as the Pirate Party, has the possibility to upset traditional politics through its stances on copyright law, direct democracy, and by nullifying the Icelandic Foreign Exchange Act, making Bitcoin legal tender in Iceland. Given Iceland was one of the only places to jail misbehaving bankers following the Global Financial Crisis, the country’s new political leaders should be a boon to Bitcoin adoption.
The sudden polls are due to the resignation of Prime Minister Sigmunder Davíð Gunnlaugsson, who stepped down after the Panama Papers scandal. Recent polls suggest that Pirate Party, founded by activists and hackers, is in second place, with anywhere from 21 to 22.5 percent of the vote. They are open to forming a coalition as well if it comes down to that.
With Iceland suffering so much political and economic turmoil in recent past years under both left- and right-leaning parties, it creates a unique situation to where Pirate Party has, for once, a legitimate chance of winning the elections.
If elected, Iceland could be a radically different country than it is now. Bitcoin and the underlying blockchain technology could be used in numerous applications that could benefit the citizens of Iceland as well as support the Pirate Party’s agenda.
The blockchain could be used to ensure that an unimpeded flow of knowledge and information was not restricted or censored in any way while aligning with policies regarding copyright. Communication could also be enhanced with the use of the blockchain as well.
Direct democracy could be made a lot more feasible if voting occurred on the blockchain, with the party hoping to use this new technology to get citizens to directly propose new legislation and use referendums to decide on laws.
Maintaining ledger records and transactions that are unable to be altered would ensure corruption, such as the Panama Papers scandal, would not happen in the first place. Also, the positive stance toward Bitcoin could help facilitate in repairing the economic damage that Icelandic banks have suffered since 2008, due to strict capital controls that were enforced in response to the plunging Icelandic Króna.
Reversing Iceland’s current regulations on Bitcoin would invite more potential money through remittances as well as companies looking to headquarter themselves in Iceland. This alone could have a butterfly effect by not only bringing in more companies into Iceland but potential jobs, which could help the economy as well.
With the citizens of Iceland making the decision on October 29, the whole world will be watching. This could be the start of a total renovation for the country of Iceland if the Pirate Party rises to power.