“No Stance” Is the Wrong Stance
The silence among Christians regarding bitcoin and cryptocurrency is surprising and alarming. While the Bible offers several hundred verses about prayer and faith, there are over 2,000 with the focus on money and wealth. Arguably, the most prominent verse of this nature is stated by Christ,
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. —Matthew 6:19–21
Christians are encouraged to look past temporal and corruptible wealth of the world. When we are heavenly minded, we can mitigate the allure of this world to desire the things that God desires.
However, we are not like the gnostics who completely disregard the physical realm as inconsequential. Christians have duties to live out their time in the world as full members in the name of the Lord God and Savior, Jesus Christ, as he was fully man in this realm 2,000 years ago.
Bitcoin is a very real part of our society but also very new. As any new concept or construct in the world, there will be supporters and detractors. Over its brief existence, it has only recently truly been a topic of global significance now and during its infamous spike and tank of 2017.
Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt Fueled by Old News and Propaganda
It was in 2017 that many Christian commentators came out to speak against bitcoin citing "volatility" and "risk," commonly exchanged for "illegal activities,” and the lack of "control" by appropriate authorities. While 2017–2018 was not a great time period for the asset, these negative statements about bitcoin are easy to make while it is on the way down for a brief moment. But now that it has recovered and grown three times past that peak to a total market cap of $1.1 trillion and the 15th most valuable currency in the world, one can't help but wonder with what type of eyes are we judging this new entity in the world.
Christian financial writers have used terms like "volatility" and "risk" in relation to investing as a form of subjective moral fencing or boundary, alluding to partaking in investments where risk was at all present as a form of gambling. Whether gambling is inherently wrong or not is not the point of this piece, instead whether volatility and risk should be avoided. In our current economic climate, any investment that does not keep up with the creation of M2 money supply as the cost of capital is a slowly losing venture (11% annually over five years, 26% in the last year).
Volatility is a measure of the range of potential returns. That is not inherently wrong. A return could be very positive, slightly positive, slightly negative or very negative. In the case of bitcoin’s 12 years of existence, if you hold it for any four-year period you would have increased the value of your holdings. This would surely be irritating for a day trader and even more so for the government that does not hold the power to manipulate its price like they do gold and silver. As Christians we are told not to deal in lies. If the morality of an asset is any factor in an investment decision, then a store-of-value asset that is traded all over the world experiencing true price discovery with minimal barriers is the closest to that virtue we can get. Bitcoin is the answer.
Risk is another word often depicted as evil or toxic. Risk is the "chance that an investment's actual gains will differ from an expected return." That doesn't sound bad at all, because risk is relative to expectations. Bitcoin’s portrayal as a speculative gamble, and therefore inherently evil asset, comes from a lack of understanding. The sinful nature of man has many times in history resulted in the destruction of something before it is fully understood. Why would a Christian, knowing the way the Pharisees received Christ or how we are generally received by the world, so quickly reject a proposed solution to the weaknesses of world currencies of the last 50 years?
Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word. You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father's desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me. —John 8:43–45
Based on the financial definition of risk, bitcoin’s performance is so that the longer you hold it, the more you can expect it to grow multiple times over as people grow to understand its value proposition. The only real risk out there is to the banking industry that may quickly become obsolete in their current existence like a pager or a newspaper.
The "illegal activities" argument makes me wonder if we are all indeed in a simulation similar to “The Truman Show,” “The Matrix” or the recently released “WandaVision.” The favorite currency for black market dealings is and has been, for as long most of us have been alive, the US dollar. If we deny the sin of one, yet ignore the sin of another, how righteous as we really? How does the most simplistic of rationale not heed this? When Christians work so hard to guard their minds and hearts from media propaganda, and then turn to support statements like this, it could only be interpreted as we are always vulnerable to the allure of the world's message.
For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”
Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. —1 Corinthians 1:18–21
Eyes That Discern
Additionally, it begs the question that if the media would attack bitcoin in the same way as it attacks conservative values, what does that say about the nature of bitcoin? Bitcoin is financial TRUTH. It is not manipulated by centralized powers. It cannot be taken from you at the whim of those worldly powers. When you work and earn income as a result, the powers of the world cannot make more bitcoin to debase (devalue) your wealth or inflate the cost of goods.
An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. It is the hard-working farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops. Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything. —2 Timothy 2:5–7
When people think of what money is, they are unknowingly groomed through our Keynesian worldview into thinking that the government should control our money. Because bitcoin is decentralized, many people find that scary, because all money they have ever known has an overarching ownership of their money. Every medium of exchange of note has a controlling authority. The Bitcoin monetary network of miners are financially incentivized to operate for the benefit of the network and its users through mining the remaining bitcoin and collecting the fees from the growing number of transactions. Central banks that own the fiat money do not make decisions to benefit the individual. This is evident by the gross inflationary policies throughout the world. Inflation, a word we have been groomed to accept, actually means "the devaluation of the individuals buying power.” What good is central control when the control is used to hurt and steal from its users?
Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. —Ephesians 4:28
If a man gives to his neighbor money or goods to keep safe, and it is stolen from the man's house, then, if the thief is found, he shall pay double. —Exodus 22:7
While Christians have been generally silent, it does trouble me that the little commentary I have seen seems to take mainstream media's answer to bitcoin. The mainstream media generally regard both Christian values and Bitcoin in a similarly dismissive fashion. Could that correlate Bitcoin and Christian characteristics more closely than people would admit? My perspective is a resounding yes!
When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. —John 6:13
May God bless you on your journey to economic truth.
This is a guest post by Ulric Pattillo. Opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC, Inc. or Bitcoin Magazine.