A crypto trying to reclaim a slur—is Maricoin really everything it’s set up to be?
The cryptocurrency market has been thriving all through 2021. As per the Bloomberg Galaxy Crypto Index, the cryptocurrency market grew by 160% in 2021, which is much higher than the growth that conventional assets saw in the past year.
The growth of crypto has inspired many to jump into the field, be it as investors, miners or even as developers creating their own currencies. With crypto receiving tremendous popularity, it is only natural that some cryptocurrencies have stirred up controversy. One of the new crypto coins caught in a whirlwind of drama and critique is Maricoin, a token which advertises itself as the world’s first LGBTQAI+ cryptocurrency. Now what you all must be thinking about is what the LGBTQAI+ coin is and what it looks like in practice. Let’s dive into these questions and learn more about Maricoin.
Maricoin is a cryptocurrency founded by Juan Belmonte and Francisco Álvarez. The name is a play on a Spanish homophobic slur. Transfer of tokens between users using Maricoin is to be called “trans”.
Belmonte and Álvarez made the coin with the purpose of harnessing the economic power of the LGBTQAI+ community to fight homophobia. In an interview with Thompson Reuters, Belmonte shared that the Maricoin crypto had been in the works ever since 2017, when the ultra-Conservative group HazteOir sent an anti-trans bus across Spain with the words “Boys have penises, girls have vulvas. Do not be fooled.” written on it.
How will Maricoin work?
Everyone that wishes to use the Maricoin crypto must sign an “equality manifesto”. This manifesto defends the rights of LGBTQAI+ and other minority communities. If a business using Maricoin violates the terms of the equality manifesto, they would be expelled from using it.
The businesses who sign up for Maricoin are put on a map that will be available to all LGBTQ travelers. At present, ten businesses in the Chueca neighborhood of Madrid are accepting Maricoin as a part of a pilot test. Belmonte and Álvarez hope that in the future, the coin would be accepted by LGBTQAI+ businesses worldwide. They aspire that eventually Maricoin could be used to give microcredits to such things as a queer-friendly café in South America.
Is Maricoin really everything its creators wanted it to be?
While the creators intend for Maricoin to channel the LGBTQAI+ community’s wealth for a good cause, the crypto has not received a very positive response from the community. Some on social media are criticizing the name “Maricoin” for its negative connotations, even calling it “queer capitalism” (making profits by incorporating elements of the queer movement).
Others have even said queer people don’t need a specific currency for liberalization. One member of the LGBTQAI+ community tweeted, “Liberation is not having our own currency when most LGBT+ people live in precarious situations and close to poverty across the world.”
Besides receiving criticism from the LGBTQAI+ community, Maricoin has not seen a positive response from crypto analysts either. Founders Belmonte and Álvarez are inexperienced in the crypto space, and there is no whitepaper that contains details of the project and the problems it intends to solve. On the token’s website, there is no information about the team behind the project.
The claim that Maricoin is the world’s “first” LGBTQAI+ token is in fact not true. Queer-created cryptos LGBT Token and Pride were launched in 2018 and 2021 respectively, and they both have a whitepaper on their websites. The founders of Maricoin have responded to the backlash by saying that they are working hard on their whitepaper.
The token at present is not being sold on any marketplace, and it has only closed a waiting list at 10,000 Maricoiners, says Belmonte. It is releasing a second list where each coin can be reserved at US$0.025.
Header image courtesy of Maricoin’s Facebook page and Freepik