The ultimate cyber punk of the 1980s and the 90s hadn't imagined this up. The ontological discourse of centuries hadn't foreseen something of this sort. Even the uber nerds may not have been ready for this. Yet Matt Liston, a block chain entrepreneur and former CEO, has managed to stun the religious and excite the irreligious alike. He has invented the world's first block chain religion.
Yes, 'the world's first' qualification must be in highlight, because it will soon have copies, lookalikes, pretenders and usurpers.
The new religion is built on the Ethereum block chain. It's not known if Liston harbours ambitions of deification or if he wants to be the Dalai Lama of the new religion. Unveiling his blockhead religion, Liston called it 0xΩ, or "Zero times omega".
"It's a religious framework that could allow for belief sets to update much more quickly and also to democratize the relationship between membership and convergence on what everyone believes in this religion," the flame paper unveiled by Liston explains. The flame paper is the wannabe Talmud, or Bible, of the new religion.
The new religion claims to be the most democratic religion that ever appeared on the face of the earth. There's no iron curtain separating the deity and the devotee. There's no god invisible behind the rising columns of smoke from the altars. The text of the religion is open to be amended by the believers. The cardinals will not hector you from the pulpits and the Imams will not issue a fatwa for not crossing the t's and dotting the 'i's.
Charity begins at home
While the tenets of the new religion takes shape, Liston said charity will be high on agenda. The religion will mop up donations, and charity will begin at home -- that is in the real world, not in the cavernous interiors of a netherworld.
And the religion is miracle-proof; that is, it cannot be hacked! There won't be surprises. Everything happens in the most democratic and transparent way. If there's disagreement among the members, there will be a constant process of voting. Eventually, new religions can be formed by the dissenters. So it still retains a bit of apostolic zealous, so to say. All beginnings are alike. after all!
"In this religion, the people participating and involved could essentially vote and continuously change the structure and nature of it," said Avery Singer, a supporter of 0xΩ, told the Forbes.
The new religion hasn't yet decided how to address its pontiff. The chances are that he will be called the 'Cryptsiah' or 'Cryptophet'.
And, if reports are to be believed, the newest religion on earth will have a painful divorce with money and finances. Liston says financial benefit is not the aim. He added that he would make contributions to the religion instead. That certainly makes him the first ever founder of a religion who pumped angel funding into the outfit.
Religion and lawsuit
It's not clear, as of now, whether Liston would have the bandwidth and comfort to have a glittering launch of the new cryptocurrency religion. Grandiose plans may depend on the outcome of a $152 million lawsuit that he slapped on his former company, Augur. The CoinInsider says Liston's 'crisis of faith' probably happened after he fell out with his former employers.
Liston's primary objective seems to be the dismantling of the governance structures in existing religions. Then he will move to the business of religion. He calculates that religious donations run into more than $100 billion every year. And what happens to this huge sum of money? Or ideally, how should that be used?
In his superbly ideal model, the partakers of the new 0xΩ religion will have the ultimate say in identifying projects of piety and fulfilling their religions missions. However, as the terms of reference of the new religion move to the spiritual from the temporal, things might become vexing -- the members are granted the right to tinker with the sacred texts, helping them evolve. And this process happens in a high-security framework the block chain is known for. The member participation takes place through a smart contract and a blockchain enabled code that helps the members view data without anyone's interference.
"The idea is you can take an existing religion, say Judaism, and you could place the scripture in a blockchain," Liston said. So, as far as you can see, the religion 0xΩ would give the discontents of the world religions a platform for alternate readings. That's a dangerous terrain that Liston promises to tread upon.
I wish Liston roped in William Gibson to give him a helping hand on the exotic screenplay. Anyway let the block chain save him. Amen!