Written By: Victoria Sechrist
Bitcoin has hit record highs in the last couple of months. It begs the question: Is it here to stay? Should Catholics take notice? Will this affect the Church at some point?
- Bitcoin is a global digital currency, also known as a cryptocurrency. You can use your U.S. Dollars or any other foreign currency to buy bitcoin, and then use that bitcoin to buy goods and services online. Bitcoin is not accepted everywhere as a payment method, but the number of businesses that accept it is increasing every year. The list includes businesses from many industries, including:
b. Tech companies
d. Sports teams
e. Cell phone service providers
However, what makes bitcoin unique is that it has the potential to allow people from different countries to buy and sell goods without doing a currency exchange. People from the U.S. could buy goods from people in France, for example, with bitcoin, bypassing an exchange rate.
- Bitcoin isn’t a physical coin. Bitcoin is a digital asset that has no tangibility. You won’t get a physical coin in the mail if you buy bitcoin.
- Bitcoin only has worth insofar as people agree that it has worth. If everyone on the planet agreed that bitcoin was worthless and would have no future on Earth, then its value would plummet to $0. The reason Bitcoin is increasing in value is because demand is growing for a limited supply of it, as more people believe bitcoin has a future as a digital currency.
- As of 2021, Bitcoin is still just an adolescent, having been created in 2009. At the time, it was worth $0. Since then, it’s peaked above $40,000 with wild swings in between.
- There is a limit on the number of bitcoin that can be in existence. That “magic” number is 21 million bitcoin. As of the beginning of 2021, there’s between 18.5 million and 19 million bitcoin in circulation.
- Bitcoin isn’t widely accepted in the Catholic Church as a donation method. It’s hard to find any Catholic Churches in the United States that accept bitcoin as a payment method for donations. Will that change in the future? Possibly. The US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has not released an official stance on bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency. One organization called Catholic Blockchain wants to change that and have the Church integrate blockchain technology (which is what bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies run on) with the Church’s activities. Contrary to what you may find lurking on the Internet, the Vatican did not announce its own cryptocurrency called SoulCoin.
- Bitcoin has no inherent worth. You have infinite worth. If everyone on Earth except you died, Bitcoin would have no relevance. You couldn’t do anything with it. The same would go for money, in general. When people are not around to assign worth to currencies or money, it has no value. Bitcoin won’t feed you, won’t take care of you, and won’t help produce other goods. The lack of intrinsic value in bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency actually highlights your inherent value, as a son or daughter of Christ. In the same example, if everyone on Earth died except you, your worth wouldn’t change because you get your inherent worth from God, not other people.
If you want to see what Bitcoin is worth at any given time, you can just search “Bitcoin to USD” into any online search engine.