MariCoin is a new cryptocurrency token that bills itself as the “first coin created by and for the LGBT+ community.” Co-founded in Madrid by Francisco Álvarez and Juan Belmonte, and backed by Miami-based venture capital firm Borderless Capital, the cryptocurrency aims to a offer a “social, ethical, transparent and transversal means of payment” that can be used at LGBT-friendly businesses worldwide.
But the burgeoning token has been met with a mixed reception from members of the queer community. While the MariCoin waitlist has reportedly reached 10,000 people, some observers have questioned the token’s legitimacy, and many others criticized the use of a common Spanish-language homophobic slur in its name.
Keep reading for more about this new token.
MariCoin is the brainchild of Spanish entrepreneurs Francisco Álvarez and Juan Belmonte. A serial entrepreneur and storyteller, Álvarez is also the CEO of Startify, a startups ecosystem in Europe and Latin America. Belmonte is a hairdresser and salon owner.
Belmonte told Thomson Reuters Foundation that the idea for MariCoin was born out of a desire economically empower queer people. "Since we move this economy, why shouldn't our community profit from it, instead of banks, insurance companies or big corporations that often don't help LGBT+ people?"
MariCoin piloted in the Chueca gay district of Madrid in December and opened up its global waitlist this month. It’s expected to begin listing on crypto exchanges that support the Algorand blockchain on January 31st.
Skepticism & Criticism
Soon after word got out about MariCoin, many on social media criticized the name of the token due to it’s play on a homophobic slur. The word “maricon” in Spanish is akin to “faggot” in English.
MariCoin CEO Francisco Álvarez told Cointelegraph that the play on words was an attempt at reclamation of the slur by “turning an insult into a fortress.”
Still, its wordplay is not the only aspect of MariCoin’s name that is receiving side-eyes from skeptics. Some take issue with it having “coin” in its name at all, arguing that it’s not a coin, but a token. Others have gone as far as calling it a “scam.”
Not the first…and probably not the last
MariCoin bills itself as the “first coin created by and for the LGBT+ community,” but there have been other queer-created crypto tokens dating back to 2018 and 2021, with LGBT Token and Pride, respectively.
History aside, MariCoin is just the latest example proving the level of interest that LGBTQ people have in crypto. In fact, a 2021 Harris Poll found that 25% of LGBTQ Americans own crypto.