When the Buddha found enlightenment while meditating under a tree, he probably never could have imagined how his followers, many generations later, would practice the religion.
Today, a group of American Buddhists is combining digital technology – including cryptocurrency — with Buddhist practices. They’ve developed the Lotos Network, an online community of Buddhists students, teachers, and “digital temples.”
On Lotos Network, students can take one-on-one or group classes with Buddhist teachers, can track their own meditation progress and, interestingly, can contribute to a teacher or temple using “Karma Tokens,” the Lotos Network’s very own Ethereum-based blockchain cryptocurrency.
Unfortunately, a number of Buddhist temples have been accused of corruption. In Thailand, the police recently raided 14 Buddhist temples suspected of embezzling funds from the government that were intended for temple upkeep.
Lotos Network hopes to build trust between students and their teachers and temples by keeping publicly available logs so that students can see how their teachers are spending their contributions.
In this way, Lotos Network can “reward wholesome institutions by restoring their trust.” Temples will be motivated to stay honest, as their will be an “immutable audit trail” of all transactions. What’s more, temples and teachers will receive a reputation score that students can compare when shopping around for a teacher.
This approach raises interesting questions for businesses. Will customers eventually expect “transparency” to become more than just a buzzword? Could a retailer, an insurer, or a bank build customer trust by making their financial transactions public? Could cryptocurrencies help facilitate this process?
For example, Wells Fargo is facing class action lawsuit for opening a number of fake accounts. What if those transactions had been logged in an online database that both Wells Fargo employees and customers could see?
Or, what if Wells Fargo set up such a database to help its reputation recover after the scandal?
Lotos Network says that “Corruption in temples is common.” Let’s face it – corruption is common in all kinds of businesses, not to mention governments.
Other institutions could take a cue from Lotos Network, which is fighting corruption by making “all economic records transparent and recorded forever on blockchain.”