||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (June 2013)|
June 9, 1980 |
Razer USA representative
|Years active||2007 – present|
Bachir "Chiren" Boumaaza (born June 9, 1980), widely referred to by his online pseudonym Athene, is a Belgian YouTube personality and social activist. As of June 2013, Boumaaza's YouTube channel, "AtheneWins," has over 715,000 subscribers and has accumulated over 426,402,135 views. Boumaaza has been featured on the Wall Street Journal, CNN, Fox News, CNBC and Bloomberg Television.
Early and Personal Life
Boumaaza was born in Antwerp, Belgium to a Moroccan father and a Belgian mother. He attended Sint-Agnes, Lyceum Borgerhout and Lyceum Deurne. He is in a long-term relationship with his girlfriend, Tania Derveaux, who also produces content on YouTube.
Boumaaza first began creating YouTube videos in 2007, playing the role of an eccentric World of Warcraft player named Athene. Boumaaza's videos often depicted him, his girlfriend Tania Derveaux, and his friend Daan "Furious" Leysen, playing online video games. In addition to his regular videos, Boumaaza released in 2008 a full length movie depicting the fictional life of his character Athene. Since then, Boumaaza's videos have broken away from strictly playing the role of the character Athene and have included personal vlogs, interviews, social and political activism, science discussions and charity work. Boumaaza has also supplemented his online video presence by creating a live video feed.
Together to the Top
In 2011, Boumaaza formed an online YouTube initiative called "Together to the Top" (TTTT) with the objective of promoting new YouTube content creators by featuring smaller producers' videos and offering backlinks on his YouTube channel.
In addition to providing backlinks, Boumaaza pledged to film a personal video (individual video responses) for each of his fans who subscribed and provided a backlink to Boumaaza's channel. As of August 2012, he has created over 9,000 personal video responses.
Boumaaza is presently a representative for the gaming peripherals and accessories manufacturer Razer USA. Boumaaza frequently hosts sponsored giveaways of Razer products on his YouTube channel, creates content for the company, and represents the company at various gaming conventions.
In 2012, Boumaaza raised $1,000,000 through a 100 day charity campaign (called OP Sharecraft 2012) that was promoted on his YouTube and online streaming channels. The amount was donated to Save the Children, an internationally active non-governmental organization that promotes children's rights, provides relief and helps support children in developing countries. More specifically, his donations through the program aided distressed areas in the Horn of Africa  and funded infrastructure projects in Mali. He successfully reached his goal live on the main stage at DreamHack. After reaching his donation target, Boumaaza and his video crew traveled to rural Mali to document and stream the charity work. The aid involved infrastructure developments and medical services to destitute communities.
Gaming for Good
In 2013, Boumaaza began Gaming for Good, an online platform to raise money for the charity organization Save the Children. The platform, which includes his streaming video content on Twitch.tv, offers donors points for their contributions, where the points can be redeemed for prizes such as access keys to computer games. All donations made through the platform are matched and multiplied by the United States Agency for International Development USAID, an agency of the United States federal government, by a factor of 13x. As of late February 2014, Gaming for Good has raised just over $13 million for charity.
In early September 2013, Boumaaza coordinated a charity raising event through his Gaming for Good platform which involved dozens of online video content streamers centered primarily around the online video game World of Warcraft. The campaign managed to raise over $2,000,000 in one weekend, exceeding the initial goal of $500,000.
Social and Political Activism
Boumaaza and his crew have been outspoken critics of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and have supported pro net neutrality causes. In response to the SOPA and PIPA legislation in the United States, Boumaaza organized a "Senator Tweet Bomb", coordinating thousands of users to send messages via Twitter to U.S. Senators, the White House, and eventually, United States President, Barack Obama in protest of the legislation.
Boumaaza began participating in the online poker scene on PokerStars under the pseudonym "Chiren80." Through a software program that allowed him to play many hands simultaneously, Boumaaza was able to set a high volume hands-played record by playing 1,000,000 hands in one month, in addition to winning thousands of dollars through his high volume play. He made $300,000 in the course of one and half years. As a result of his fame in the online poker community, Boumaaza participated in the World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP) and was invited to a 2010 PokerStars tournament in the Bahamas.
Popular Scientific Endeavors
In 2011, Boumaaza released a full length documentary called "Athene's Theory of Everything" on the subject of conscious experience and perception. Although the work was not peer reviewed and neither scientifically nor philosophically rigorous, Boumaaza and his crew 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.
Boumaaza's YouTube channel frequently offers videos discussing scientific topics (in addition to a video series titled "Serious Science"), often featuring one of Boumaaza's acquaintances, Frederik, who is a graduate student in particle physics.
University of Gaming
In early 2011, Boumaaza and his team proposed to found the "University of Gaming" in Belgium, a school which would accept applicants from around the world to attend courses taught by Boumaaza on gaming strategy, psychology, science, finance, and other subjects. In early August 2013, Boumaaza announced that his team would not be able to deliver on physical classes for the University of Gaming due to time and resource restrictions, and has since opted to provide dedicated online video courses for the curriculum.
- Talamasca (6 Jan 2008). "Wrath of the 1337 King: seriously, wtf?". Joystiq. Retrieved 14 Nov 2012.
- Official YouTube channel with subscriber and view count. http://www.youtube.com/user/athenewins?feature=CAkQwRs%3D
- Boumaaza's official Facebook profile.https://www.facebook.com/Chiren80/info
- Link to the movie itself, hosted on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MNvUSfRHzdQ
- Official video stream. http://www.twitch.tv/AtheneLive which he uses to Stream his games and advertise charity.
- Over 9,000 personal videos announcement. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XQQYPT4Ouuc&feature=plcp
- Boumaaza's official profile on the Razer corporate website. http://www.razerzone.com/academy/?author=8
- Official website of the fundraiser. http://www.opsharecraft.com.
- Save the Children's official coverage: http://www.savethechildren.org/site/c.8rKLIXMGIpI4E/b.8157995/
- NeekoMonster http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-778978 "Athene raising money for african famine"| 20 Apr 2012
- "Athene and Operation ShareCraft Fundraise for Hunger in Africa". Save the Children. Retrieved 2012-12-19.
- Website for the platform. http://gamingforgood.net/
- Article on Gaming for Good. http://www.polygon.com/2013/7/25/4555666/gaming-for-good-charity-offering-download-keys-for-donations
- Official Poker Rankings profile for Chiren80. http://www.officialpokerrankings.com/pokerstars/Chiren80/poker/statistics/E2AB805477EC4A76BC3D3AD908BD924B.html?t=8
- Link to the official documentary hosted by YouTube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dbh5l0b2-0o
- Information from official website: http://www.universityofgaming.com/index.php
- Beyond 'Draw My Life' (University of Gaming). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0uW-IL8h5GY