Native American Group Launches Bitcoin Clone

March 3, 2014 | Andy Cush

Bitcoin, with its detachment from the dollar and lack of regulation, is catnip for libertarians and anyone else looking for distance from the federal government. The Lakota Nation, a Native American group with roots in North and South Dakota, has every reason to want just that, and recently adopted a Bitcoin alternative called MazaCoin as its “official national currency.”

“My family fought and died on this soil,” Payu Harris, the developer and Lakota activist who founded MazaCoin, told Forbes“Suddenly the story of Custer’s Last Stand wasn’t just words on a page but something deeply personal. 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.”

MazaCoin would allow Lakota people to buy and sell from each other without using the U.S. dollar, and Harris “wants to see if it’s possible to sidestep the federal government and use the tribal nation’s limited sovereignty to set its own rules on cryptocurrencies,” according to Forbes.

The inaugural block of MazaCoin was hashed last week, and Harris has lofty ambitions for its use. “I think cryptocurrencies could be the new buffalo,” he said. “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.”