What is the Kingdom of Asgardia?
The Kingdom of Asgardia is a micronation populated by like-minded individuals all across the globe. The “Kingdom” that they refer to is the space inhabited by a small satellite which was launched by the founders of Asgardia in 2017, and is currently sitting in low orbit around the Earth. Citizens refer to themselves as “Asgardians” and although they don’t yet have a physical “Kingdom” to inhabit, they already have their own constitution, parliamentary system and even currency. Its founders have even expressed an intent for the space nation to apply to join the UN, believing that Asgardia already fulfils three of the four requirements. The fourth - being recognised by fellow member states - will surely come with time.
Why was it set up?
Asgardia was founded by Azerbaijani billionaire Dr. Igor Raufovich Ashurbeyli, who first announced the creation of Asgardia - the first ever space nation - back in 2016. The intention was to create a new, transparent and forward-thinking economy that was
free from the baggage of past conflicts and poorly-defined red tape. This new digital nation would create opportunities for businesses and nurture free-thinking - a utopia for those frustrated with their own nation’s clumsy progression or inaction on important issues.
How do its citizens benefit?
Asgardia’s website states that they want to create a truly humanistic construct where full democracy is possible. Transparency and data seem to be the key - Asgardians want to create a system of government that makes fraud impossible, delivers a stable currency and promises very little government interference. In addition, Asgardia’s aspirations of peace, progression and protection of our home planet make it an attractive prospect:
“Asgardia aims to unite people in a transnational, equal and progressive society to build a new home for humanity in space and protect our cradle — planet Earth.” - https://asgardia.space/en/pages/mission
What Does The Future Hold?
You’d be forgiven for thinking that Asgardians are mainly focused on establishing a physical space where they could live as the nation they wish to be - and indeed, plans are already in place for a form of “ark” that orbits Earth, trading and helping to protect the planet.
That’s not all though - future missions involve becoming an active member of the UN, demilitarising space and even seeing the first human born off-world. It’s hard to say yet whether any of these ideas will come to fruition, but Dr Ashurbeyli is absolutely dedicated to his cause, and, with the number of Asgardians just surpassing the million mark for the first time, it would seem that anything is possible.
Asgardia to me
It might surprise you to learn that I myself am a citizen of Asgardia. As a lifelong student of law, the prospect of breaking away from the modern legal and regulatory environment and starting afresh with a new framework of adaptive and relevant regulation is an appealing one.
When I set up the Courts of the Future Forum and Oxford’s Deep Tech Dispute Resolution Lab, the intention was to examine, and potentially reinvent the process by which the law serves its citizens. Becoming a citizen of Asgard speaks to that desire, and I am excited by the potential of shrugging off the constraints of legal systems developed through centuries of messy trial and error, and experimenting with a new, borderless world of opportunity for digital commerce.