Trading and Christianity has been topic of contention amongst the faithful for a while, and there have been strong viewpoints on either side. This is specially true when we throw in the mix the digital marketplace phenomena otherwise known as cryptocurrency.
Unless you have been under a rock, or perhaps building for bunker for the tribulation, you would have noticed a heightened interest in all things “Crypto” among both Christians and non-believers alike. Picture trading – but with the wins and losses are on steroids.
Whether you trade or not isn’t a salvation issue, although it could lead to many more problems, as we will see later.
⚫ Should a Christian invest in Bitcoin?
⚫ Is trading Cryptocurrency a sin?
We are here to break down whether it is right or wrong.
Before YouTube bombards us with another Etoro advert, let us caste our minds back to the city of Jericho, around AD32. We see an example of what could be considered trading in the rawest sense in Luke 19:11-27 in the parable of the 10 minas (one maneh = approx. £25,000).
Luke 19:15 - “He was made king, however, and returned home. Then he sent for the servants to whom he had given the money, in order to find out what they had gained with it.”
It is clear from the passage the servants would have gained this profit from a kind of arbitrage or buying low to sell high somewhere else. In fact, the servant that had simply buried the talent in the ground was chastised and judged for not using what his master had given him!
Luke 19:26 - “His master replied, ‘I will judge you by your own words, you wicked servant! You knew, did you, that I am a hard man, taking out what I did not put in, and reaping what I did not sow? Why then didn’t you put my money on deposit, so that when I came back, I could have collected it with interest?’”
From the parable of the 10 minas to the example-ship of great men like Joseph, we cannot deny God smiles on those who deal with “unrighteous mammon” wisely. The principle of arbitrage is certainly in the bible. “So cryptocurrency is biblical” we hear you say – not so fast. Let’s get a view on what this technology is.
Blockchain – the basics
If you already know the basics, feel free to skip to our next section. However, here is a brief breakdown for those looking to get into the know.
Even though it wasn’t in the public consciousness until early 2010’s, Blockchain technology has actually been in existence since the early 90’s. From a basic perspective, picture Blockchain as the marketplace and technology that houses much of the digital currency activity globally, including Bitcoin.
The origins of the most recent iteration ‘Blockchain 2.0’ are sketchy and the stuff of legends. The identity of the founder of its most successful product “Bitcoin” is unconfirmed. This should be enough to raise alarm bells, however there is more.
Over 12 years ago, a figure (or figures) by the fictitious pseudonym “Satoshi Nakamoto” released a white paper (academic paper) which spelled out the model for Bitcoin. The idea was to take the power away from the banks, and decentralize the financial market by providing a discreet, un-trackable means of buying and selling digitally. In effect, removing power from the current authorities and “sticking it to the man”.
Now, lets stop here. There are THOUSANDS of cryptocurrencies, from Ethereum to Litecoin, each with unique functions and attributes. Anybody with enough know-how can create a cryptocurrency surprisingly easily. In fact, “Jesuscoin” has recently been created as a satirical entity but is now a digital currency.
Where cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin have come into the public forum recently are through their sharp rise in market value. In 2015, for example, the value of on Bitcoin stock was a reported £215. As recent as February 2021 the stock had risen to a market high of £40,000, with a bubble burst and market re-evaluation looming.
So far, trading cryptocurrencies seems quite lucrative as long as strict lines are drawn. But the implications become more sinister the deeper we dive.
These are the pitfalls.
Is trading cryptocurrency gambling?
This section comes with a warning. If your cryptocurrency sensibilities and loyalties are easily offended, we regret any undue offense; we just want to inform biblically!
The lines instantly become blurred when we factor in our human tendency to go overboard. The making of money has always played a key factor in men and women forsaking the call and even salvation for the promise of financial security. We cannot tell you how many 10s and 20s of examples we’ve personally seen drifting from Jesus to self. By nature, fast-paced crypto trading is a practice by which you must remain constantly privy to market movements to protect or maximize your stock. This behaviour alone can have adverse effects on your spiritual walk if not harnessed.
Another interesting observation is the odd-lot theory/trading formula, predicated on the fact that the common, individual investor is almost always wrong. In other words, the common man entering the market is an indicator a stock is about to go bad. Those that get in last usually those that get stung the worst. The small investor gambles with common knowledge, and gets stung as they are the last to get in. They then panic sell which drops the price. And the cycle continues.
We don’t write this with the aim to discourage, but to warn and highlight the dangers of becoming immersed in the world of digital trading.
We will link a blog on here going into more depth about the relationship between gambling and righteousness.
Multi-level Marketing (MLMs) and cryptocurrency
Where there is opportunity to create alternative streams of wealth, there are ALWAYS opportunists who will seek to exploit this. Dr Ruja Ignatova, also known as “Cryptoqueen”, became the face of Onecoin, an early cryptocurrency with a £4 billion valuation. Sadly, in late 2017 she figuratively rode off into the sunset with her follower’s investments prior to the official launch, never to be seen again.
The devil is a deceiver, and although cryptocurrencies have undoubtedly created opportunities for some believers to thrive, Satan no doubt uses lures of financial gain to those in difficult situations.
⚫ Are you financially vulnerable?
⚫ Could this be the reason crypto entices you?
Unfortunately, due to the unregulated nature of cryptocurrency, believers stand to lose much more, with no compensation or financial protection.
We may dedicate a separate blog to this as more is revealed.
Godly stewardship vs Crypto Fear and Greed
God owns the cattle on a thousand hills (see Psalm 50:10), He is the creator and ultimately owns our possession. As Godly stewards over His money, we have a duty to ensure we don’t squander it.
Psalm 50:10 - "...for every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills."
Cryptocurrency, like every stock, is driven by market hysteria.
The heart of the teaching in Luke 19 and Matthew 25 is knowing who God is and not letting your greed overcome you. It was the servants greed and mistrust in his master that caused him to hide the wealth that was not his to begin with. Greed for more and mistrust play central themes in modern trading, unfortunately, as men and women seek the next crypto goldrush.
Remember, the wicked servant was fearful and mistrusting of his master; he greedily kept the mina to himself, burying it in the ground. You may be surprised to know, cryptocurrencies even have their own Crypto Fear and Greed index!
It is ingrained in our flesh to gain something from nothing. Part of the curse of Adam was that men would sweat and till the ground (Genesis 3:19), and we’ve been trying to run from that inevitability ever since! The reality is, returns often require hard work, and that which is easy to get is often even easier to lose, hence, Crypto fear.
If you are convinced about the very real prospect of accumulating a profit from cryptocurrency, we urge you follow our advice:
- Continually pray for Godly perspective and against a spirit of greed and fear that drives the crypto-trading industry
- Do your research – don’t jump in because of waves of speculation or due to FOMO (fear of missing out)
- Don’t put in more than what you’re wiling to lose.
Proverbs 20:20-21 - “A faithful man will abound with blessings, but he who hastens to be rich will not go unpunished. An inheritance gained hastily at the beginning will not be blessed at the end.”
The future of Bitcoin and biblical prophecy
Ultimately, we know from scripture we are headed toward a one-world currency, and blockchain certainly seems to be a large part of what will happen in these last days.
The book of Revelation describes the actions of the “second beast” enforcing the infamous ‘Mark of the beast’ in the future:
Revelation 13:16-18 – “…Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name.”
Biblical scholars have long accepted the likelihood of this universal rollout of a system of payment that requires identification and a universal currency. We are unsure who is behind the creation of the current Blockchain (beyond the moniker ‘Satoshi Nakamoto’), however, we have been made aware that this mysterious individual owns 1 million Bitcoins (approx. £40 billion) out of the current limited stock of 21 million Bitcoins in circulation. No entity will have more influence on the blockchain than the holder of the most lucrative stock on the planet.
This means potentially one man/woman could destabilize the entire cryptocurrency market by selling some, if not all of their stock at once, and tanking the price of all Bitcoin stock. Satoshi’s influence grows the scarcer Bitcoin becomes. An old intellectual coined the following term:
“Absolute power corrupts absolutely”.John Dalberg-Acton, 1887
And it has never been more apt.
As Christians we must remain discerning, knowing the digital currencies provided for trade are always at the mercy of a few people. We cannot gauge their moral compasses because their identities have been deliberately obstructed from the public.
This may well be the future of banking and finance as we know it, but is it a future we as Christians should embrace and rejoice in?
Conclusion: A Christian perspective on cryptocurrency
The basic principle of trading remains, in that “you should only trade with what you are willing to lose”. The problem is, being at the mercy of the earthly powers that be, combined with our own propensity to fall short and the spirit of the age makes aggressively trading cryptocurrency difficult to justify and maintain a good heart in. Frown upon hype and walk circumspectly (Ephesians 15:5).
There are some positives, though. We believe this is a unique opportunity to create wealth over time. Gung-ho, uninformed investing is not to be advised, especially with crypto. We recommend (if you decide to invest) you accumulate an excess i.e. that you are willing to lose, and then get a taste for trading with a zero-risk trading simulator like Bitcoin hero or Spark profit first.
Once you’re in the ‘game’ however, it is worth mentioning it is governed by speculation (here-say) and market manipulation. Many have sleepless nights worrying about their investments and are consumed by Elon Musk tweets, instead of being consumed by God in prayer.
The key to our approach is treating the money that we are stewards over as “precious earnings”. Would you consider good stewardship standing to lose a substantial amount if not all your investment on trading a highly volatile digital currency that has, by nature, no accountability?
Like most things, there is a thin margin between Wolf of Wallstreet -esque financial foresight and foolish dwindling. Understand you are dealing with unrighteous mammon.
We lean toward a “no” for investments on highly volatile stock. However, the practice of trading, be it crypto or traditional with your excess shouldn’t altogether be a salvation/denominational battleground. Smart investments are encouraged, as we have seen, but investing out of a greedy, mistrusting, and addictive heart is to be discouraged. Also, consider the spirit of the age, and where this technology is rapidly taking us. We are not outright deeming cryptocurrency evil, however we must be careful not to be consumed by this system.
Finally, let us remember those Holy-Spirit inspired words found in 1 Timothy 6:9-11:
1 Timothy 6:9-11 – “Those who want to be rich, however, fall into temptation and become ensnared by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. By craving it, some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows. But you, O man of God, flee from these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness…”