“Bitcoin Center NYC congratulates the Lakota Nation on being the first native people to launch their own currency (digital) and declare it to be the official one. MazaCoin like its digital currency peers holds great promise for humankind due to its speed, security, and versatility."
28 Feb 2014A new crypto-currency in the style of bitcoin has been adopted as the official reserve currency of the Oglala Lakota Nation.
The Lakota people are indigenous to parts of North and South Dakota and are made up of a confederation of seven Sioux tribes, with notable members including Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse, who defeated Custer at the Battle of Little Bighorn.
They now live in a semi-autonomous “nation” within the United States. This frees them to diverge from US law to a certain extent – some tribes have legal gambling operations, for example - but they remain overseen by the US Congress.
Developer and Lakota member Payu Harris has now developed a new digital currency called MazaCoin, based on the existing ZetaCoin protocol, and convinced chiefs to adopt it as the official national currency.
Harris told Forbes that he hoped it would help lift the tribe out of poverty: “I looked at how things were for the tribe now and suddenly had an idea about how we might fix it. We can’t continue to be 20 years behind the times, always trying to catch up. We have to be forward-thinking.
think crypto-currencies could be the new buffalo. Once, it was everything for our survival. We used it for food, for clothes, for everything. It was our economy. I think MazaCoin could serve the same purpose.
“We’re not going to ask the federal government if we can do this. I refuse to ask them to do anything within my own borders.”
Reports suggest that the FBI has since contacted the tribe’s chief to inform him that crypto-currencies are not yet considered legal tender. This leaves the future validity of its adoption as an official currency under question.
Nonetheless, the Traditional Lakota Nation has pre-mined 25 million MazaCoins as a starting point for a national crypto-currency reserve. A further 25 million coins have been mined to form a Tribal Trust, from which grants of coins will be given to any tribe member, local business or non-profit organisation.
Unlike the bitcoin protocol, which will only allow 21 million coins to ever be mined, MazaCoin is inflationary. In the first five years it is estimated that 2.4 billion will be mined, with one million each year after that.
The very first block mined was dedicated to the “Great Spirit and the prosperity and wealth of the Oglala Lakota Nation”.
James Barcia of the Bitcoin Center NYC, set up to promote the adoption of bitcoin, said that he would lend any help possible to MazaCoin.
“Bitcoin Center NYC congratulates the Lakota Nation on being the first native people to launch their own currency (digital) and declare it to be the official one. MazaCoin like its digital currency peers holds great promise for humankind due to its speed, security, and versatility," he said.
“Blockchain technology is scarcely understood outside of the growing but still tight circle of digital currency adopters. The Lakota Nation is stepping way out in front of most other populations in establishing MazaCoin and in placing big bets on digital currency’s endless good. In addition, having a powerful currency will advance the cause of Lakota sovereignty for generations to come."