“Users would be able to earn “Karma Coins” by meditating and teaching Buddhism. The coins could be spent within a special Buddhist community called the “Lotos Network.”
A group of Buddhist programmers says it’s time for the world’s first cryptocurrency-based spiritual community, built using “blockhain,” the booming new technology that makes Bitcoin and hundreds of other cryptocurrencies possible.
The proposed community is called the “Lotos Network,” and the creators want it to be a “global monastery” that uses its own cryptocurrency, called “Karma Tokens,” that community members can earn by meditating and teaching.
What is a Buddhist cryptocurrency?
At the core of the community would be its own economy, based on “Karma Coins,” which the creators say is the first real-world implementation of the concept of “Buddhist Economics.” That’s a term coined by philosopher E.F. Schumacher in the ’70s, and recently further developed by Berkeley professor Clair Brown. The currency would “reflect the true values of a Buddhist economy,” reads a post on the Lotos blog, meaning that the currency would be accumulated and spent “in ways helpful to the Noble Path.”
In 2013, a postgraduate researcher surveyed Bitcoin users to find out how they used Bitcoin. They found that the most common usage, reported by a third of users, was for anonymous gifts, tips, and donations. The results seemed to suggest that cryptocurrencies naturally encourage “gift economies,” which have roots in the Buddhist concept of dana, or “generosity.” Lotos Network picks up on the idea that one could create an economy free from the materialist fetters of common currencies.
A quick explanation of blockchain
(You can skip this section if you already know what Ethereum is.)
Blockchains are the technology behind Bitcoin, the world’s most popular cryptocurrency. On a blockchain, every transaction is anonymously tracked by the sender, the receiver, and a third party — and everyone in the world can see that anonymous data. This makes fraud and counterfeiting virtually impossible. Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin have no banks, fees, or geographic restrictions; this convenience makes them increasingly popular around the world.
Blockchains can be used for a lot more than just currency. They provide a reliable, transparent way to record any interaction between two parties. That could include a purchase, a contract, a vote, a conversation, or anything else.
Keeping this in mind, the second most popular cryptocurrency in the world is called “Ether.” Ether is the official currency of “Ethereum,” which is kind of like a whole society built with blockchain technology. On Ethereum, you can create contracts, organizations, roles, and even sub-currencies (called “tokens”) — all using blockchain.”