Atheistcoin: Can you believe in this?

Monday 21 July 2014

There are lots of altcoins out there. Many of them have no purpose, other than to make money for the early backers and speculators. But some altcoins are trying to accomplish things, promote ideas, address specific problems in the world. Atheistcoin is a crypto currency with an ideology.

atheistcoinAtheistcoin (ATH) was launched June 9th, 2014 with a small, tech savvy group determined to create a community. Their website has lots of information about the effort, and there are plenty of ways to interact with the community such as the forum, irc channel and bitcointalk topic and of course, their twitter account .

BitScan chatted with core team member SiriusCrypto, who summed it up nicely:

We, as crypto-enthusiasts wanted to take these two important things in our life and combine them, that’s how we came to start Atheistcoin. We believe that Cryptocurrency is the future, and the future of a stable, positive civilization relies on knowledge. Thus spreading knowledge and free-thinking will make both of these aspects thrive. 

The Atheistcoin had no premine or IPO, and will ultimately yield 4.5 million coins. This coin uses very advanced tech including the Grøstl proof-of-work algorithm, which is friendly to general purpose computers including devices like Android tablets and Raspberry Pis. They use an ambitious but not too wasteful 45 second block time, adjusted using the Dark Gravity Wave 3 difficulty retargeting algorithm. For more detailed information about technical specs, issuance of the currency, mining software choices, available mining pools and more please visit the website at atheistcoin.org. The information is laid out beautifully; in fact the website, wallet and all supporting materials are artistic and aesthetically pleasing.

Do we really need this?

This question should always be asked of a new crypto-currency. It seems logical to believe that of the hundreds of altcoins active today, only a small number will survive as viable coins even one year from now. If they have a purpose, however, they have a chance of survival. 

The real world uses for Atheistcoin go far being simply tipping bloggers. This is a crypto currency designed to foster free speech, help provide legal aid, promote unbiased education, and help those who are subjected to religious persecution. A high priority goal for this community is to establish a non-profit organization to further these ambitions.

Political speech is a precious right in those places where citizens can express it without fear of retaliation. Unfortunately that’s not always the case. For people living under the rule of theocratic governments, it’s often impossible to support anyone espousing secular viewpoints and policies. Even in societies with secular governments, people living in rural and deeply religious areas are often faced with a range of coercive actions at work and in their communities. People who do not believe in the deity of the majority are often wary of repercussions resulting from publicly expressing views which are contrary to local, religiously-based viewpoints. 

Supporting and expressing the tolerance for these ideas in areas where religion, politics and money converge can be tricky. With Atheistcoin, individuals wishing to retain some degree of privacy can contribute to a non-profit that aggregates contributions and donates money without revealing the identities of individual contributors. In America, according to a recent Pew Research poll, atheists are viewed negatively, and among US evangelical Protestants they are viewed more negatively than any religious group.

Promoting education is a goal that came up multiple times in our discussion with core team members. Scientific discourse is often viewed as threatening to various religious groups, and is seen to compete with traditional religious ideology. The result can be that the teaching of critical thinking is stifled. Unfortunately there is a long, consistent history of religious authorities applying pressure to stop the teaching of science.

How it is having an effect

Mubarak Bala atheistcoinCurrently in the United States the version of this particular struggle is the campaign promoting the teaching of creationism, a religious belief, in publicly funded schools. But the problem is hardly restricted to a single country or culture. A little funding to buy books or bring Internet access to a village, for example, can often go a long way to addressing these imbalances.

The Atheistcoin community recently setup an address to help Mubarak Bala, a Nigerian engineer forcibly committed to a mental hospital after declaring to his family that was an atheist. He started secretly tweeting his pleas for help and his story under the handle “ExMuslim” thanks to smartphones from some staff members.

Legal aid is one of the priorities for this community, in order to aid those like Mubarak Bala who find themselves trapped in situations simply because they are not willing to express their support for the religious views of their family and community.

Atheistcoin is a coin on a mission. It is not anti-religion, it is providing a way for free thinkers to come together and try to improve the world. Empowering those who are afraid to voice their opinions, supporting the cause of spreading basic and scientific knowledge, and even providing legal aid to those in need - these are the lofty goals of Atheistcoin.

Mike Ward


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