Iceland’s Pirate Party may very well win the national elections on Saturday.
According to recent polling, the Pirate Party, which stands for internet and financial freedom rose to fame employing swarm activism tactics, ranks as high as 22.5%. Meanwhile, the conservative Independence Party is polling around 21-23%, while its coalition partner, the Progressive Party, only garners 9%, and will likely lose its ruling status.
Last year the Pirates polled even higher, as high as 35%. If the election were held at that time, the party would have easily secured enough seats in parliament to comprise the second-largest group.
The Pirate Party rode a wave of anti-government sentiment related to financial scandals
The rise of the Pirate Party, a protest party with no prior political infrastructure, comes to Iceland in reaction to a series of financial scandals that have plagued the small island country. In 2008, the country experienced a banking collapse, causing political upheaval and resulting in the heads of the major banks being jailed. In the following years, an anonymous coder created Auroracoin, a Bitcoin-like cryptocurrency to be delivered straight to the Icelandic people as an alternative to the failed banks, resulting in 10% of the population holding cryptocurrency.
Then, earlier this year, the Panama Papers scandal broke, revealing how the world’s rich and powerful had hidden their wealth away in secret offshore accounts in Panama, all while continuing to subject the common people to taxation, regulations, and currency fluctuations that they themselves had avoided. The scandal implicated the Prime Minister of Iceland, causing him to resign, and prompting a renewed interest in the Pirate Party in a country still recovering from 2008’s banking collapse.
Could Iceland become the first to escape central banking?
A country with strict capital controls, Iceland has particularly suffered from problems associated with central banking, as its citizens are not easily able to escape its effects. Earlier this year, the Auroracoin Foundation, an organization built to advance Auroracoin among the people of Iceland, began a renewed adoption push, including the launch of Iceland’s first cryptocurrency exchange, public awareness bus stop advertisements, and gaining a dedicated documentary by Vice.
Now, even though the adoption push seems to have stalled over the summer, the strong polling by the Pirate Party can lead to a strong pro-cryptocurrency presence in the national parliament. Iceland could still embrace cryptocurrency before any other nation.