Matt Liston, the former CEO of blockchain-based market prediction platform Augur, has founded a new religion on the Ethereum blockchain which might change the fundamental structure of religions. Religions are, in general, highly centralized, and hardly anyone can have an influence on the dogmas of their faith. However, this new religion 0xΩ (pronounced Zero Ex Omega), is different from all those age-old religions which have failed to keep up with the fast-changing cultural realities of modern life.
First thing first, what is blockchain? ‘Distributed ledger’ technology as the blockchain is commonly known as, is a secure, decentralized, publicly-held "digital ledger" of continuously growing records called 'blocks'. Blockchain technology is eliminating the middleman while providing a trusted decentralised exchange and therein lies the true power of blockchain.
Zero Ex Omega (0xΩ) was founded (or launched) by self-proclaimed atheist Matt Liston in mid-May. Liston, who recently left his position as CEO of the blockchain project Augur, seems to have focused his energies on democratizing faith by creating a religion based on blockchain technology that, in a decentralized manner, helps users create consensus. At the launch event at the New Museum, New York City, Liston also handed out what may be called the holy book of the new religion. Titled "flame paper", it outlines the religious governance model of 0xΩ. 0xΩ will present both a blockchain system for pre-established religions and a new faith-based order of its own.
The structure of 0xΩ is somewhat similar to governance models employed by publicly traded companies. It will allow followers to identify, approve and evolve their own sacred texts via a smart contract, blockchain-enabled code, giving them assurance that they're all viewing the same data without any middleman intervention.
Despite being the originator of the religion, Liston has refuted the claims that he is a "Cryptprophet" and said he doesn’t have any divine knowledge.
"It makes me uncomfortable to think about that," says Liston. "It seems inappropriate. If I'm claiming to start a religion, it's probably disingenuous if I claimed not to be a figure within the religion. But I don't like the sound of that."
When asked what this blockchain-based belief system plans to worship, Liston has this answer:
"We're incentivizing mind sharing, and eventually mind upload to use consensus to form a structure of collective consciousness. And then, we'll elevate an individual interaction with a religious structure as a group participation in a collective consciousness where the structure itself is God."
Liston also hopes to modify the core beliefs on the existing religions with his blockchain-based model.
"The idea is you can take an existing religion, say Judaism, and you could place the scripture in a blockchain," he said. "Doing so would allow the followers of that religion to change its core beliefs, as well as sanction religious artefacts/structures via consensus."
Liston's idea of "democratizing religion" is certainly a novel one. But it remains to be seen how it affects the structures of the existing ones. 0xΩ is one of the most unusual uses of blockchain technology ever. So it's highly likely that we will see an increase in its followers in the coming weeks.