After several years of interesting research in Artificial Intelligence, David Lio got into crypto-currencies late in the game (late 2013), left California and his work in AI, and set up a crypto-currency consultancy in New York.
In that time, he’s begun working with podcaster Adam Carolla and AuroraCoin’s pseudonymous creator Baldur Friggjar Óðinsson.
We reached out to Lio earlier this week.
Cointelegraph: How did you get involved in the AuroraCoin project?
I identified AuroraCoin as an interesting project when it was announced on the BitcoinTalk.org
forums. As a scientist, I see AuroraCoin as an experiment in crypto-currency. Iceland is an island with a relatively small (~330,000) population that is both culturally homogeneous and geographically concentrated. Iceland is one of the most internet-connected countries in the world and also ranks 17th in the world by per-capita GDP (according to 2012 IMF numbers). All of this is not even to mention Iceland's storied history with currency turmoil, devaluation and control. Who in the world needs crypto-currency more than Icelander, and where could possibly be better to test and observe crypto-currency adoption?
I helped out where I could in the early days, attempting to compile a version of the code for Mac OSX, articulating and promoting the ideas of the project on the forums, and spreading the word at Bitcoin meetups in San Francisco and Silicon Valley. I recently moved to New York and spoke about AuroraCoin at the CryptoCurrency Convention 2014
Early on, I realized that there would be a lot of business development and brand building work to be done, and that this work couldn't be done by Baldur, the pseudonymous creator and core developer. You can't attend conferences and conduct interviews while remaining anonymous for very long. I offered to help on this front, and I continue to regularly communicate with Baldur about opportunities for the project as they arise. In that vein, I run the AuroraCoin.com site while Baldur runs the official project
CT: What have you heard from Icelanders who have claimed their coins? Has AuroraCoin been measurably successful so far in introducing people to crypto-currencies?
DL: With a robust verification process for claiming each stake and a 10% claim rate, the project has already been immensely successful. If you can find a way to break the process, let me know and we'll talk about a bounty! No one has come forward so far, so presumably, each of these claims is valid and from a unique Icelander.
One in 10 Icelanders aren't just aware of crypto-currency; one in 10 own some. We see new businesses, charities, organizations and individuals coming into the crypto-currency economy in Iceland every day.
There is a strong and growing Facebook trading group (sort of an AuroraCoin Craigslist). There was a car bought and sold in AuroraCoin the other day
, and there is some crypto-currency related news in mainstream Icelandic media quite regularly these days.
If for no other reason, AuroraCoin has already been a success because it has introduced so many people to crypto-currency (more than 30,000 people). The larger cultural discussion it has ignited is also important. Most folks involved in Bitcoin today really only interact with other Bitcoiners online and at meetups or conferences. Imagine if your family, building, block, city and entire country were learning about this exciting new money technology along with you. I, for one, am certainly jealous.
CT: The exchange value and market cap of AuroaCoin quickly fell then began a steady decline after the Airdrop. What happened? Is this a concern fo