The world of crypto can be a pretty weird place. Since Bitcoin and blockchain became a well-known quantity, we’ve heard stories of people buying pizza in the early days with amounts that would now be worth millions, people spending way too much money on GIFs in the form of NFTs, and now people claiming that Bitcoin came from the Christian God. As reported by Slate, a man named Tomer Strolight found God through, of all things, Bitcoin. He even went so far as to get himself baptized in the waters of South Beach, Miami, a notable crypto hotbed.
Strolight is far from the only one finding God through Bitcoin, though he is a prominent member of that community. He recently served on a panel at the first annual conference for Christian Bitcoin believers called Thank God for Bitcoin. This true belief in cryptocurrency runs deep, even amidst the massive crash that Bitcoin has had this year.
The devout mix of Christianity and cryptocurrency is a bit puzzling, but there could be several reasons behind this strange combination. If you’re unfamiliar with Bitcoin, it’s meant to be a decentralized digital currency. In other words, the currency isn’t owned or distributed by one central authority, like a bank or government. In order to ensure Bitcoin transfers and transactions are legitimate, they’re recorded and verified on an immutable ledger known as the blockchain. The verification is completed using peer-to-peer technology, where various nodes on the network need to independently verify before the transaction is accepted and added to the ledger. Bitcoin was first created in 2008 by an unknown person or group. It has been attributed to Satoshi Nakamoto, whose true identity is unknown. The name is more than likely a pseudonym. Though, it doesn’t seem too likely that Satoshi Nakamoto is the pseudonym for Christianity’s God.
The link between Christianity and Bitcoin could be due to a “paranoid streak of American evangelicalism,” according to Professor Joseph Laycock. Laycock is a professor of religious studies at Texas State University who has made some observations on this burgeoning relationship between religion and cryptocurrency. His observations mention how American evangelicals view the world as a battle between good and evil. The original mission of Bitcoin, which is to create a system of currency that isn’t regulated by a governing body or centralized authority, could be seen as a parallel to this. Laycock also brings up the “prosperity gospel,” which is a movement in certain Christian circles that believes those who follow Jesus should be rich.
While blockchain technology is used by various companies, it doesn’t seem that they’re divinely inspired in their decision to use it. Bitcoin is simply something built on the blockchain, so there’s no guarantee it has longevity as a useful blockchain application or currency. As with any blockchain-based project, Bitcoin is going to have its share of believers, especially because it’s the most well-known and mainstream of any blockchain technology. The extension of believing in Bitcoin to believing in God because of Bitcoin seems like an odd one, but stranger things have certainly happened.