How does someone, self-described as “not at all a young person, having seen well over half a century on this planet – my entreprenurial days…well behind me” leave quiet semi-retirement and the enjoyment of the autumn of his life to create not one but two of the most interesting altcoins to date?
I have had the recent privilege of conversing with AnonymousPirate (hereafter referred to as AP), the creator of MazaCoin and Maplecoin, of which MazaCoin is an officially recognized sovereign currency by and for the Lakota Nation, about his history with crypto currencies, about MazaCoin, and what it means for impoverished nation states. While we discussed some of the features of the coins he has created, we also discussed how the currency has evolved and been developed to assist the needs of an impoverished native american population.[hr]
Me: How did you get involved with the MazaCoin project?
AP: It actually started as a hobby. I am a Crypto Currency miner and trader for a living, and I became curious how these coins worked. As a miner I was intimately familiar with how a blockchain works, and began developing certain theories as to how to improve it. As a trader I also had certain economic concepts regarding Crypto Currency. So I built a coin called LydiaCoin with absolutely no intention of ever releasing it to the public. I just wanted to play with it in my spare time, which is what I did. Then the original Forbes article came out about Payu Harris and his BTC Oyate Project, an attempt to utilize Crypto Currency as a means of alleviating poverty in the Oglala Lakota Nation. Reading it, I guess I had one of those strange epiphany moments of innovation. The thing that kept going through my mind was Payu’s talking about their intention to use their marginal sovereignty to create a Crypto Currency haven. So, I thought why not use that sovereignty to create their own money? A sovereign national crypto currency? I wrote to Payu, I think it was just after Thanksgiving 2013. He took to the idea instantly and he was like, can you build such a coin for me? I was like, well…actually I already have one sitting here on a shelf, so to speak. Do you want it? The rest, as they say – is history.
Me: The Lakota Nation has had a free bank associated with gold and silver for a long time. Is this an extension of the desire of monetary sovereignty that the Lakota nation has been asserting for a long time?
AP: First, neither I nor the MazaCoin Development Team in any way speak for the Oglala Lakota Nation. That said, we have had extensive dealings and communications with the founders of the Free Lakota Bank and I would say the answer to your question in my opinion is: absolutely.
The Free Lakota Bank is a private initiative founded by a couple of individual members of the Oglala Lakota Nation with the assent of their Treaty Council, who hold the “symbols of sovereignty”. Pretty much exactly like MazaCoin actually.
Both MazaCoin and the Free Lakota Bank are, as I stated – individual initiatives that have received the assent of the Lakota Treaty Council. On issues of sovereignty, ONLY the Treaty Council can assent – the elected government of the Tribe are at best considered land managers and at worst, collaborators with the enemy nation trying to destroy them. Bear in mind that the Lakota in general see themselves as still at war, and the BIA approved “elected” tribal government’s primary duty is to try to squeeze some little bit of money from the USA and “police” the Lakota in accordance with the wishes of the BIA and FBI.
Me: Let’s talk about some of the features of the coin itself. Auroracoin and Scotcoin are both doing airdrops, where qualified citizens/residents can download the wallet software and receive their respective coin for free, and then use it or dispose of it however they see fit. I see with MazaCoin you are doing something similar where you are helping to get this coin in to circulation through something like an airdrop. Can you elaborate?
AP: Yes, but our grants are not an air drop. There are important differences. For one, an air drop is by definition a one time affair. The MazaCoin Tribal Trust is designed to be a perpetual fund. (You can read more about these funds here – http://www.mazacoin.org/about.html)
The amounts chosen were part of a predictive formula we created to try to figure out how we can make the fund sustainable in perpetuity. They are subject to change should we turn out to be wrong.
Me: Can you comment on how many of these grants have been given to date?
AP: We have given out only a few personal and business grants to date. There are difficulties, as we do not simply want to throw MazaCoin into the air and say here you go. We want to work one-on-one right now with individuals and businesses to educate them and help them use the grants productively. In a year or two once understanding of what Crypto Currency is expands, the pace of the grants will surely increase exponentially. This is a difficult process that requires great patience and perseverance.
Me: Your pre-mine and grant set up are fairly unique from what I have seen. Is there a reason you set it up as you did?
AP: It is unique, totally unique in the history of Crypto Currency. No one has ever tried anything like this before.
Reason? I guess the reason would be innovation and courage. If we succeed, we will forever change the lives of one of the poorest nations on earth and in the process give hope and a template to every other Tribal or micro-nation in the world that is mired in poverty caused by economic oppression. And we believe in 5 to 10 years it will work. That’s your “reason”.
Me: Did you arrive at those number with a formula and lifespan in mind or did you just pull those numbers out of your nethers?
AP: Leaving aside the rather rude way you phrased that question: The expected lifespan of MazaCoin is 100 years. The formula we worked with to arrive at the final Master Coin Formula includes the eventual full adoption of MazaCoin by at least 50% or more of all the Tribal Nations in North America in the course of the next ten to fifteen years.
MazaCoin began it’s life as a sovereign national currency, but the vision is actually for a sovereign commonwealth currency similar to the Euro which can serve any (and all) the Sovereign Tribal Nations of North America as a unified monetary system. Again, like the Euro.
Me: Sorry about that… I was making a lame attempt at humor. Can you share how the roll out has gone?
AP: I think as well as can be expected considering we launched during some pretty turbulent times in the Crypto Currency world. We are being traded on over a dozen exchanges around the world with some really excellent volume. We have a dozen or more private mining pools offering services. We were accepted into the premier Alt Coin payment processor CoinPayments which facilitates any merchant or organization in the world, online or off – to accept MazaCoin for payment. We have received truly massive press coverage (I spend several hours a day still giving interviews like this one).
Not bad considering we are less than three months old. We are pleased and pleasantly surprised.
Me: How much MazaCoin has entered circulation?
AP: That is information you can easily get yourself, refer to the Coin Market Cap chart here -> https://coinmarketcap.com
Remember to deduct 50 million from that number, as the Oglala Lakota National Reserve and the MazaCoin Tribal Trust hold nearly 50 million MZC from the pre-mine. The National Reserve in particular (25 million MZC) is not designed to ever enter circulation, it is a symbolic sovereign reserve set back for emergencies and to leverage for credit for economic development loans.
Me: Are you doing anything specific to recruit businesses to get more adoption?
AP: We saw to it that we were accepted into CoinPayments. That is absolutely critical because they offer the tools necessary to merchants to accept it as payment. And we are working on developing an ATM and an Android App. As for direct recruitment, no – that is not really a focus at this time. Our job is to create and maintain the tools and software. A coin dev team can only do so much. Now, Payu Harris is working to recruit businesses directly on Pine Ridge, and you can ask him about his efforts.
Me: You’re intimately involved in a number of national/international coin projects…are you planning more?
AP: Planning more? God no. Creating MazaCoin nearly killed me, figuratively and literally. I was sort of hoping it would be my only coin. Then, things just started happening and people came to me with ideas and asking for help.
Me: Is this going to be your full-time employment then?
AP: But I didn’t plan it, and to be honest there are many days when I am not terribly happy about it. History has a way of grabbing you by the scruff of the neck and leaving you little choice in the matter it seems. However I expect this is just the beginning and there will be more. And I am currently working on a book about making Crypto Currency so I suspect that won’t help make me any less popular as a coin maker. I do however intend to limit myself to the so-called National Coins. I like this genre a lot and want to specialize just in this type of Crypto Currency.[hr]
Community currencies and timebanks are certainly on the rise, and are popping up all over the world. These decentralized currencies like Bitcoin and now MazaCoin, which has a centralized element in the form of a pre-mined grant fund, are the next iteration of millennia old experiments in new currency.
Will MazaCoin realize its goal of freeing an impoverished nation? And if they do, what does that mean for other nation-states that have struggled for monetary independence?