|Born||9 June 1980
Borgerhout, Antwerp, Belgium
|Residence||Forst (Lausitz), Germany|
|Other names||Chiren, Athene|
Ex-Razer USA representative
Bachir Boumaaza (born 9 June 1980), mostly known by the online pseudonym Athene, is a Belgian internet personality and Twitch.tv streamer. He is best known for using his trolling and self-proclaimed title as the best paladin in World of Warcraft. Moreover, he is the founder of Gaming for Good, a charitable storefront and donation platform that integrates with the popular streaming website Twitch.
In 2000, he started a short-lived political career that included his affiliation to the political party Young Green,his candidacy for Agalev, and his co-foundation of the political party NEE in 2005. Following the elections in 2007, Boumaaza decided to break away from politics. During the following five-year period he released YouTube videos under the name Athene featuring gaming content, social activism, self-development, poker, and science related topics. He launched his first charity project, Operation Sharecraft in 2012. Since then he helped raise more than $22 million for charity.
Born in Borgerhout, Antwerp, Belgium, Boumaaza is the son of Moroccan-Belgian couple. Both his parents worked in the Justice Department. Boumaaza claimed, in his book Mijn Egotrip, that his childhood was chaotic due to the cultural differences between his mother and father. And that he from young age was confronted with social issues, including racism and poverty, which instilled a sense of responsibility in him to change the existing conditions. Boumaaza was at a young age introduced to video games, and claims he quickly proved to be excellent at the games.
Political career and activism
Boumaaza entered politics in 2000, and joined the progressive party, Young Green. The party was the youth organization of Groen, formerly known as Agalev. He was, at the age of 20, chosen as a political candidate for Agalev and participated in the Belgian local elections, 2000. Having received a fair number of votes, Boumaaza was chosen as one the youngest close elected politicians in Belgium and served as first follower for Agelev.
With the intention to fight racism, Boumaaza applied, in 2001, to join the Belgian reality TV series Big Brother. He was selected from a pool of 60,000 applicants and appeared briefly in the second season of the show. In the aftermath of the show, he discussed his experience with, Flemish nationalist, Filip Dewinter. He later wrote an autobiography, at the age of 21, called Mijn egotrip which included his depiction of the events that took place on Big Brother.
In 2005, Boumaaza co-founded the Dutch political organization, NEE. Boumaaza operated as the official spokesperson and lead the organization to some success. NEE was an impartial political movement for voters who felt dissatisfied with the political climate. As voting is mandatory in Belgium, NEE provided people with the ability to cast blank votes in dissatisfaction. NEE would therefore not occupy their seat in case of election. NEE participated in both the Belgian local elections, 2006 and in the Belgian federal election, 2007 but did not receive enough votes to earn a seat in the city council or senate.
Together with a group of activists in 2008, Boumaaza started a self-development and activist movement called IPOWER. The movement advocated independent thinking, action and open-mindedness, and protested for net-neutrality.
Boumaaza began making YouTube videos in 2007. In the beginning, he focused mainly on World of Warcraft. In his earliest video, he played a character called Athene, an arrogant, conceited gamer. He has since then broken away from strictly playing the game and have uploaded videos ranging from gaming, science, charity, and self-development. Boumaaza has also supplemented his online video presence by broadcasting himself live on Twitch.
The original Athene series
The original Athene series was created in 2007. Boumaaza played the role of a conceited World of Warcraft player named Athene. His YouTube video “Best Paladin of The World pwning nubs on My Heart Will Go On from Celine Dion” marked the beginning of the series. The original series revolved around the strange and fictional character, Athene, and included in-game commentary of World of Warcraft as well as a personal storyline that followed Athene’s everyday life.
The series also featured full-length mockumentary named Wrath of the 1337 King that followed Athene’s everyday life. The mockumentary highlighted his delusional relationship with reality, as he could not tell the difference between fact and fiction, between video games and reality. The series lasted roughly two years and slowly came to pass, as Boumaaza and his film crew focused other projects.
In 2009, while still uploading videos to YouTube, Boumaaza decided to break away from his regular schedule to focus on poker. He managed to turn $5 into $300,000 within a year in through a scheme that has raised ethical concerns among the poker community and wrote poker history by playing 1 million hands in 1 month. The gambling site PokerStars also gave him a sponsorship and accepted him on their team of professional players, “Team PokerStars Online”. In addition, he also participated in the World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP), and was in 2010 invited to the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA), an annual televised poker tournament.
In 2010, Boumaaza claims to have taken a small break from YouTube to conduct new research in the fields of quantum mechanics, relativity and neuroscience. His silence from YouTube broke in 2011 when he released a full-length documentary called Athene’s Theory of Everything.Although, the work was never peer-reviewed and neither scientifically nor philosophically rigorous, Boumaaza claimed that the work could have implications for science and metaphysics and that many of its conclusions were supported by evidence in the field of neuroscience. The vast majority of the claims found within have been debunked by various accredited academics. He continued his alleged scientific work and has since then released several more “scientific” YouTube videos, ranging from human psychology, physics, quantum mechanics and other thought-provoking topics about human nature.
Together to the Top
Boumaaza formed an online YouTube initiative named “Together to the Top” in 2011. Boumaaza wanted to promote new YouTubers by featuring videos and offering backlinks on his YouTube channel. In addition, he pledged to film a personal video for each of his fans who subscribed and provided a backlink to his channel.The movement grew in considerable size as it gave smaller content creators a voice on YouTube.
Union for Gamers
Boumaaza started Union for Gamers in 2012 in cooperation with Curse Inc. Union for Gamers is a global YouTube network, made by gamers for gamers, that offers independent YouTubers different benefits. At the time in 2012, independent YouTubers were dealing with unbreakable and illegal contracts. Boumaaza wanted to provide the gaming community with an alternative and therefore decided incorporation with Curse Inc. to create Union for Gamers. Union for Gamers offers a 90% revenue share, an uncapped and a non-obligatory contract that gives independent YouTubers the personal choice to leave when they want.
Razer offered Boumaaza a $500,000 sponsorship 2011. But instead of taking the sponsorship himself, he decided to sponsor the community and was given $500,000 worth of gaming equipment, which he freely disposed among members of his then large and active community. Boumaaza wanted to stimulate an active community to fight different issues such as poverty, famine and Net neutrality, and decided to reward active community members with Razer gear in exchange for their efforts. In 2012, Boumaaza called upon his community to fundraise $1,000,000 in 100 days for the Horn of Africa. He was at the time fundraising for his campaign, Opsharecraft, and was giving away Razer equipment to people who donated or raised awareness around his cause.
In 2012, Boumaaza started Operation Sharecraft to raise money for the Horn of Africa. He managed to raise $1,000,000 together with the gaming community. Boumaaza livestreamed himself, together with friends, Reese Leysen and Tania Derveaux, for 100 consecutive days to raise funds and awareness around the issue. As a way of fundraising, him and his team would often resort to bizarre activities, often requested by donors, which included dancing, acting and other unusual activities. Donors were also given Razer equipment in exchange for their support and efforts. This was part of Boumaaza’s sponsorship with Razer Naga.
Operation Sharecraft was part of DC Entertainment’s charity campaign, “We Can Be Heroes”. DC Entertainment matched all donations 100% up to a million dollars and worked together with Save The Children, the International Rescue Committee and Mercy Corps to provide aid for the hunger crisis in Horn of Africa. After reaching his donation target, Boumaaza and his video crew travelled to rural Mali to document the charity work. The aid involved infrastructure developments and medical services to destitute communities.
Gaming for Good
In 2013, Boumaaza created an online platform called “Gaming for Good” to raise money for the charity organization Save The Children. People who donated, using the platform, would receive points which they could use to redeem video games on the “Gaming for Good” website. The games were donated by multiple game developers to create an incentive for people to donate to charity. All donations on platform were multiplied by the United States Agency for International Development, an agency of the United States federal government. As of early July 2014, Gaming for Good raised nearly $15 million for charity.Boumaaza also gave several interviews and made appearances to promote his charity work and Gaming for Good, including at CNN, Bloomberg and FOX.
In September 2013, Boumaaza and his crew coordinated a fundraising event called “The Siege”. The Siege was a World of Warcraft event where two top guilds, Midwinter and Method, that would race each other, and try to complete a raid-specific instance as a fast as possible. The fundraising was conducted with Boumaaza’s platform “Gaming for Good”, where volunteers could create their own fundraising campaign and, together with Boumaaza, raise money for Save The Children. The campaign managed to raise over $2,000,000 in one weekend, quadrupling the initial goal of $500,000.
Race for Survival
In October 2014, Boumaaza visited Save the Children’s newborn survival program in Ethiopia as part of their “Race for Survival” campaign. As a way of fundraising, he livestreamed himself directly from the field in Ethiopia. And although his efforts were not unassisted, he managed to raise 4 million for Save The Children. This marked a milestone, as Boumaaza had independently raised more than 20 million for charity.
His efforts were not unassisted, as the campaign included several other streamers, who had started their own fundraiser by using “Gaming for Good”. The “Gaming for Good” platform was updated, in 2014, with a feature that allowed anyone to fundraise for Save the Children. Boumaaza handed out Razer products to participants who proceeded to reach certain donation targets. In addition, all donations were multiplied by a factor of 16 from USAID, an agency of the United States federal government.
In 2015, Boumaaza went to Liberia to raise awareness and funds for the recovery of the Ebola crisis. He later released a documentary about his experience on the frontlines, titled The End of Ebola, which described his experience in the affected regions. Boumaaza sought to clear up common misconceptions about the disease and its consequences on the victims and families. Boumaaza gave several interviews and made appearances to promote his charity work, including at Bloomberg.
In 2015, Boumaaza assembled a humanitarian emergency response team. The team consisted of a group of livestreamers, more commonly known as Avengers, that in case of a category one disaster would fundraise to relief the crisis. As with most of Boumaaza’s projects, the Avengers had close ties to Save The Children since all donations went to their programs.He managed to gather around 500 streamers who pledged to fundraise.
In 2016, Boumaaza, and his crew traveled to Ethiopia to raise awareness and funds for Save the Children’s east Africa Child Relief fund. Ethiopia was at the time suffering from its worst drought in 50 years.As part of the Avengers project, over 2500 live streamers fundraised. The campaign raised US$390,000 to relief the category one disaster.
Gaming for Good relaunch
In 2016, the “Gaming for Good” website was relaunched as a streaming overlay and a donation platform for the livestreaming platform, Twitch.tv. As people frequently donate to streamers on Twitch, the platform provided an additional option for viewers to support charities by donating to Save the Children.
In 2013 Boumaaza launched a gaming supplement named Athene Extreme. The supplement was developed in cooperation with Mind-FX and the co-founder of Razer, Robert Krokoff. Boumaaza felt there was a need for a completely natural gaming supplement as gamers frequently consumed unhealthy and damaging energy drinks. The supplement contained a mixture of sugars, sweeteners and plant extracts. 10% of all revenue went to charity.
Real Talk Podcast
Boumaaza has throughout his livestreams on Twitch talked about physics, psychology, neuroscience, activism, and self-development. These talks have since then been edited into podcasts, available on his SoundCloud profile.
The Singularity Group
In 2015, Boumaaza created the singularity group. The singularity group is a network of volunteers who strive to make a positive difference in the world. They have carried out projects like Gaming for Good, a simple click, documentaries, DubiEx, and Clash of streamers. The group is currently residing in Germany.
Purpose and DUBI
In 2017, Boumaaza created two charity-driven cryptocurrencies named Purpose and DUBI. Purpose and DUBI are both utility tokens and will supposedly be integrated with his future projects. According to the whitepaper, the goal of the currencies is to distribute DUBI to the world’s population as a basic income. It will supposedly be gradually distributed among developing regions first.
In early 2018, Boumaaza and his independent group of volunteers released a decentralized and fee-less cryptocurrency exchange named “DubiEx”. The exchange works as a user-interface for smart contracts on the Ethereum network. Users can trade with each other, with absolutely no middleman. This hands-off, decentralized approach, is what allows DubiEx to remain fee-less.
- Athene’s Theory of Everything (2011)
- God is in The Neurons (2011)
- The Afterlife Dysfunction (2012)
- 9:30 Neuro-Awareness: The Real Secret (2014))
- My Life as a Gamer (2014)
- The End of Ebola (2015)
- Science finds God (2016)
- What is Consciousness? (2017)
- The Ultimate Truth (2017)