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A Christian view on Bitcoin

Updated: Jan 17, 2022

The content is for informational purposes only, you should not construe any such information or other material as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.

Tertullian, a prolific early Christian author from Carthage in the Roman province of Africa, asked the question, "What has Athens to do with Jerusalem?".

What indeed has Athens to do with Jerusalem? What concord is there between the Academy and the Church? What between heretics and Christians? Our instructions come from “the porch of Solomon,” who had himself taught that “the Lord should be sought in simplicity of heart.” Away with all attempts to produce a mottled Christianity of Stoic, Platonic, and dialectic composition! We want no curious disputation after possessing Christ Jesus, no inquisition after enjoying the gospel! With our faith, we desire no further belief. For this is our palmary faith, that there is nothing which we ought to believe besides.

Tertullian, Against the Heretics

Tertullian argued against the efforts of early Christians to try and incorporate autonomous pagan thought into the understanding of Christian doctrines, rather than starting with the revelation of God and working from there [1]. Tertullian's question inquires into the proper relation between Athens, the prime example of secular learning, and Jerusalem, the symbol of Christian commitment and thought. How should faith and philosophy interact? (Read Bahnsen's take here).

Jerusalem and Athens is the title of a book that is a collection of essays by leading (mostly) Reformed scholars on various aspects of the thought of the late professor of apologetics at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, the Dutch-American Cornelius Van Til. Van Til somewhat follows Tertullian in driving the antithesis between Jerusalem and Athens even further than Tertullian did in positing the difference between Christian and heathen thought as complete antithesis (in principle), and not merely a matter of degree.

The question, "What has Bitcoin to do with Jerusalem?", therefore, asks the question of how the Christian faith and Bitcoin should interact.

Given my endorsement of Van Til's thought, the title would seem to imply that a seemingly secular (and proclaimed neutral) technology, like Bitcoin, developed by an anonymous individual (or group) called Satoshi Nakamoto, [2] has nothing to do with Jerusalem (Christianity) because of the wedge between the Christian and the non-Christian view of the world. But is this the case?

Bahnsen notes that Tertullian’s question on the role of philosophy in Christianity dramatically expresses one of the perennial issues in Christian thought [3]. It is the case that there is a way to understand Van Til's antithesis between Jerusalem and Athens that will completely shut down the link between the two. But, we must not forget that humans, due to God's common grace, might sometimes attain great insights that can be salvaged. A recent book I read on G.W.F. Hegel describes a view of non-Christian thought as "shipwrecks", and these shipwrecks can be of grand ships (like the philosophy of Hegel and Aristotle). As Christians, we can salvage much of the wreck without adopting the wreck itself.

When we look at the same question with a thematic focus on Bitcoin, it is the opinion of this writer (as it was Tertullian, Van Til and Bahnsen's contention with the philosophy relation) that it's going to become apparent (looking at the current state of world affairs) that we'll soon need to operate based on some answer to the question "What has Bitcoin to do with Jerusalem?", and that Bitcoin offers much that can be salvaged for good use in the Christian context.


  • Why write on Bitcoin?

  • What is Bitcoin?

  • Bitcoin is not neutral.

  • What does the Bible have to do with Bitcoin?

  • The Bible on sound money.

  • Bitcoin as money, judged by Biblical standards.

  • The ethics of inflation.

  • The ethics of Bitcoin.

  • Bitcoin and hope.

  • What has Bitcoin to do with Jerusalem?

Why write on Bitcoin?

To capture this section in a single paragraph - my motivation for writing on Bitcoin in the context of the Christian worldview is first and foremost because I am a Christian who likes Bitcoin. I see the world and everything in it in relation to its Creator. I'm a Bitcoin enthusiast and I want to contribute something to the conversation. I want to encourage secular Bitcoin enthusiasts to look at their own feet to see where they're standing when arguing an ethical case for Bitcoin from a worldview that denies the Triune God.

The world has been forever changed by the Covid-19 pandemic. Proper economic management and the definition of "money" is being brought under the spotlight and it will affect all people in some measure.

At the time of this writing, Bitcoin (cryptocurrencies) is (are) being debated in the US senate. Bitcoin advocates claim that Bitcoin represents "Hope". Others compare Bitcoin with the 16th century Reformation. Bitcoin also touches on the subject of ethics, property rights and privacy which invariably will lead to religious-themed conversations on the grounding of these principles (i.e. according to what standard?) by the advocates when pressed far enough. Others view Bitcoin as an attack against the state. Others view Bitcoin as having the power to unite deeply divided nations, which almost seems like Bitcoin has bearing on the one and the many. Much of this dialogue is generated by a post-pandemic view of the world where deficiencies in government were exposed, businesses destroyed and an immense amount of people driven to bankruptcy.

The religious language used by Bitcoin enthusiasts is all-around.

The above should make it clear enough that Bitcoin requires at least some attention from a specifically Christian perspective. This writer contends that the principles the undergird the Bitcoin network are Christian principles and that if Bitcoin is to succeed, it needs to be married to an all-encompassing worldview that gives a grounding to the arguments made in its favour. It is also the case that people seem to ascribe characteristics to Bitcoin that can only be gained by repentance of sins and submission (acknowledgement) to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. This needs to be corrected lest people end up setting Bitcoin as a false idol of hope (escape from the hardships) of this world.

At the end of the day - nothing is certain except God's decree.

What is Bitcoin?

If we really want to effectively answer our title question, it's going to require at least some level of understanding of the underlying technology.

Bitcoin (₿) is a decentralized digital currency, without a central bank or single administrator, that can be sent from user to user on the peer-to-peer Bitcoin network without the need for intermediaries [4]. It is also known as a cryptocurrency.

Bitcoin is a purely digital phenomenon, a set of protocols and processes [5]. Don't be fooled with images of golden coins with the ₿ engraved in the coin.

The blockchain

A blockchain is simply a type of database. A blockchain collects information together in groups, also known as blocks, that hold sets of information. Blocks have certain storage capacities and, when filled, are chained onto the previously filled block, forming a chain of data known as the “blockchain.” [6]

An illustration of the Bitcoin blockchain, step by step to complete a transaction
Investopedia Blockchain illustration

The key feature of the Bitcoin blockchain that makes it valuable is its decentralisation. The computers that store the blockchain are not all "under one roof". You can use your home computer to connect to the Bitcoin network and start validating transactions (via proof of work). The blockchain can be explored here.

Another key feature of the Bitcoin blockchain is transparency. Let's say someone hacks your Bitcoin wallet and steals everything in it. While the hacker may be entirely anonymous, the Bitcoin that they extracted are easily traceable. If the Bitcoin that was stolen through the hack were to be moved or spent somewhere, it would be known [7]. However, this transparency does not come at the cost of privacy. There are Bitcoin wallets with thousands of Bitcoin in them (which amount to billions of dollars), but the identity of the owner cannot be known unless they send the Bitcoin to an exchange where the exchange has performed KYC (know your customer) checks on the address on the exchange.

The second to last key feature to emphasize is security. A side-effect of the decentralisation of the Bitcoin blockchain is that if one of the computers attempts to tamper with the blockchain (e.g. change information to try and double-spend money), the other independent computers will pick up the bad player and prevent the transaction from going through. The size of the Bitcoin network makes this type of event (called a 51% attack) nearly impossible. Bitcoin has effectively solved the Byzantine general problem.

Therefore, Bitcoin provides users with near infallible property rights. Someone can't steal your Bitcoin unless you send it to them via a scam, or if they somehow manage to get your private keys (almost like your banking pin). No one can confiscate or repossess your Bitcoin without your consent. No one can take it from you while you are sleeping. No one can shut you out from accessing your Bitcoin.

Limited supply

The last feature that we should emphasize is that the Bitcoin network has a limited supply of Bitcoin that can be "minted". The supply cap is set at 21,000,000 with there currently being about 18,700,000 Bitcoin in circulation [8].

With Bitcoin, your wealth concerning Bitcoin cannot be diluted via the government or some other third party diluting your value (by artificially increasing the supply) and effectively taking your property from you via inflation. We'll discuss inflation and the ethics of inflation in the next few sections.

Bitcoin is not neutral

Two thousand years ago, Jesus, God incarnate, said the following:

Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.

Matthew 12:30, ESV

Everything in creation belongs to Jesus.

For the earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof.”

1 Corinthians 10:26, ESV

The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein.

Psalm 24:1, ESV

Everything in creation is controlled by Jesus.

And Jesus came and said to them, ”All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.”

Matthew 28:18, ESV

If it is the case that everything is either for Christ or against Him, that everything belongs to Jesus, and that everything is under the authority of Jesus, it must necessarily be the case that this includes Bitcoin as well.

Moreover, Paul infallibly declares in Colossians 2:3-8 that “All the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden in Christ.”

Note that Paul says all wisdom and knowledge is deposited in the person of Christ, whether it be about the First World War, the literature of Shakespeare, the laws of logic, or Bitcoin! [9][10] Every academic and financial pursuit and every thought must be related to Jesus Christ, for Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6).

To avoid Christ in your thought at any point, then, is to be misled, untruthful, and spiritually dead. Therefore, Bitcoin as technology or idea is not neutral with regards to Christ, it belongs to Christ and is (in its entire conception) deposited in Christ who is the source of all truth and knowledge.

It must once be noticed then that Bitcoin (or anything else for that matter) cannot be viewed in isolation from the Christian worldview. The technology that made Bitcoin possible has its origin in the creativity of the Triune God who is the Creator, and in this sense, when we look at Bitcoin from a technological perspective, we should see how Bitcoin reveals the creativity of God to us and we should praise Him for that. But, just because something is possible in creation, does not mean it is good or permissible. We should look at the motives behind the creation/use of something to make that judgement (e.g. the creation of a knife for the cutting of food can be seen as "good", as we can actually eat our and cut our food to the glory of God, but we cannot make a knife to murder a human to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:32).

The non-neutrality of Bitcoin with regards to the Christian worldview also becomes more apparent when we consider some of the ethical aspects of its nature. Once Bitcoin advocates starting making a case for Bitcoin along ethical lines, it's more clearly not indifferent towards different ethical and religious perspectives.

What does the Bible have to do with Bitcoin?

Now that the non-neutrality of everything that is (including Bitcoin) is established, we can consider what the Bible has to do (if anything at all) with Bitcoin. In A Survey of Christian Epistemology, Van Til anticipates exactly this type of question when he writes on the ultimate authority of the Bible in all spheres of life. He uses the investigation into some kind of animal in Africa as an example, but it's applicable for our purposes as well.

Would it not be the height of absurdity when the subject under investigation is some form of animal life in the heart of Africa to consult the Bible about information as to that “fact”? Yes, we answer, that would be absurd, but that is not what we mean...
We are not speaking of getting definite bits of information about certain definite “facts” of biology or physics. But it will be granted at once that whatever “fact” there may be in the heart of Africa or anywhere else is a part of some great realm of “facts”...
The Bible does not claim to offer a rival theory that may or may not be true. It claims to have the ultimate truth about all facts...
The very contention of theism is that a fact, to be known truly, must be known as a theistic fact. Hence it is manifestly illogical and unfair for the opponents of this position to begin by assuming that facts can be known as antitheistic facts.

Van Til, Survey of Christian Epistemology

Hence, it is not that the Bible offers us a handbook for understanding Bitcoin, or to get started with the mining of Bitcoin - but that the Bible contains the ultimate truth about Bitcoin. The fact of Bitcoin, like all other facts in the world, are theistic facts as they find their origin and interpretation in the Triune God.

The Bible, in a certain ultimate sense, has everything to do with Bitcoin.

Christian authors have attempted to throw a religious light on Bitcoin, but their project ultimately failed when they admitted that their entire thesis still holds for all world religions as long as you hold to the premise that stealing is wrong [11]. This cannot be farther from the truth, as it would mean that Bitcoin is neutral with regards to Christ, which is false (as shown previously). To admit this, as the authors did, is to admit that the Bible does not really have anything to contribute to the discussion beyond some vague moral idea that we should not steal.

When writing on Bitcoin from a Christain perspective it's not simply as trivial as looking at a neutral object from a different viewpoint as the prior mentioned authors did. Rather, it's a radical reinterpretation and judgement of the concept at the deepest level.

If the Bible's ultimate interpretation of Bitcoin is rejected, it will ultimately serve to lead people away from the Truth (even if it affords some kind of material benefit to this side of history). The Christian (from here on, true) view of a technology like Bitcoin will serve to avoid disappointment when Bitcoin cannot fulfil the needs of people that can only be fulfilled in Christ; the Christian view can provide a framework in which Bitcoin can reach its full potential to ultimately serve as a tool image-bearers of God can use in a way that glorifies God; and, as we'll see, the Christian view is the only view that can give a grounding to all of the sound ethical arguments Bitcoin advocates make for Bitcoin, which takes the case for the technology much farther than the mere opinion of a few high-profile individuals.

The Bible on sound money

Money is a commodity accepted by general consent as a medium of economic exchange [12]. In an economic system, the members labour in the production of goods and services. As payment for their labour, they receive money: something of equal value to the labour they have contributed. This money can be used to purchase goods and services from the economy’s marketplace.

The Bible speaks positively of at least two uses of money that captures what it can be used for even today. Money simplifies and facilitates the exchange of goods and services between humans. Greek Christians would not have been able to assist Christians in Judea had it not been for the existence of money, which functioned as a substitute for their labour and was easily transported ( Rom 15:26-27 ). The Old Testament acknowledged that there could be times when it was difficult for God's people to bring the actual first fruits of their harvests and flocks over the great distances separating them from the temple in Jerusalem. In such cases, the people were to sell the products in question for silver and bring the silver to Jerusalem, where one could purchase the appropriate products necessary for the celebration ( Deut 14:24-26, Ezra 7:17 ) [13].

Hence, money was accepted as a tithe, and it was put to good use to support some of the early Christians.

For all the good that money can bring as an easily transportable medium of exchange, the Bible provides us with guidelines when it comes to its use. Let's take a look at a few examples that give us pointers as to what a sound and Biblical view of money would entail.

Wealth gained hastily will dwindle, but whoever gathers little by little will increase it.

Proverbs 3:11, ESV

If you don't work for your money, it will be much easier to lose it as the value you attach to it will be next to nothing for you.

Whoever oppresses the poor to increase his own wealth, or gives to the rich, will only come to poverty.

Proverbs 22:16, ESV

The money we earn should be earned fairly.

Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who act faithfully are his delight.

Proverbs 12:22, ESV

Connecting with the above verse, if we lie to increase our wealth, this is an abomination to Lord.

The ten commandments serve as well here. Especially the 8th and 10th commandments: You shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not covet. If we are deadset on making material gains, theft is an easy way to do so. Think of corporate and government corruption. We hear of billions of dollars being "lost" in the news.

These are all symptoms that surface because we have built a society that loves money, and not Christ.

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.

1 Timothy 6:10, ESV

We are not to love money. The love of money tends to lead to people seeking to increase their wealth via dubious means as condemned above. We should love Christ, and be content with what He has given us. We should live in total dependency on Him.

... for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

Phillippians 4:11b-13, ESV

We need to be content with what we have, knowing that we have been given the strength to endure all circumstances in Christ. He gives us what we need: Our daily bread. Note the context of this verse in Phillippians - it's one of the most taken out of context verses in the Bible.

He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income; this also is vanity.

Ecclesiastes 5:10, ESV

Recall 1 Timothy 6:10 above. If we love and seek after money, we will never be satisfied. At the end of the day, the love of money leads to vanity. There's no hope or salvation to be found in material wealth.

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also

Matthew 6:19-21, ESV

Finally, the treasure we do gather should be a treasure not stored where thieves and rust can destroy it but it should be in heaven. We are all destined to die once, and then comes judgement (Hebrews 9:27). It is the case that no amount of material wealth will be able to assist us on the day of judgement. It is also the case that nothing we gather on this Earth will carry over to the new Earth. This is why the writer of Ecclesiastes, King Solomon of Israel (whose extreme wealth is a well-documented fact), writes at length of the vanity of chasing Earthly gains.

Bitcoin as money, judged by Biblical standards

In this section, we provide an overview of how Bitcoin (in and of itself) measures against the above Biblical guidelines.

The good

Bitcoin, like other forms of money, can also be used as a medium of exchange. We can exchange our fiat currency for Bitcoin on the blockchain, and then switch it back to fiat currency whenever we please.

Bitcoin is also easily transportable. It is the most transportable medium of exchange to ever be invented. Like the Greek Christians were able to assist the Christians in Judea via easily transportable non-perishable mediums of exchange (money), so Bitcoin enhances this ability and enables us to send support to Christians and other people in need anywhere in the world. All the receiving person needs is a Bitcoin wallet that is usually attached to a phone number [14]. No banks are involved, no one can block the transaction, and it's instant. The early Christians could only dream of this type of capability.

Bitcoin can arguably be described as "better" money from a Christian-ethical perspective because of its decentralised and transparent structure together with the fixed supply.

The decentralised and transparent structure specifically discourages people from attempting to steal Bitcoin by means of double-spending or trying to hack someone's wallet. In this way, Bitcoin discourages "lying lips" (Proverbs 12:22), and there's no way to increase your Bitcoin wealth without actually earning it.

The fixed supply means that your wealth cannot be diluted by a bad player. No one is given the power to increase the money supply, which by itself encourages corruption in the entity with this kind of power (more on this later).

The limitations

However, because we live in a world tainted by human sin (including our own), Bitcoin cannot fix the human heart's totally depraved nature.

Like with fiat money, people will still try to hoard Bitcoin in vanity to gain "certainty" or secure their future. Bitcoin does not in and of itself encourage people to depend on Christ alone.

Bitcoin does not discourage the love of money. This would be evident enough after just spending a few minutes reading the tweets of Bitcoin enthusiasts.

Bitcoin cannot satisfy the needs of the human heart. Idols will always disappoint. True satisfaction can only be found in God, and when we're most satisfied with God, He is most glorified [15].

Although Bitcoin discourages crime and encourages honesty, it's still not immune from attack. We've already mentioned the very remote possibility of a 51% attack. More practically, someone can still force you to give up your Bitcoin whilst holding you at gunpoint. It is also the case that the privacy that affords makes it a currency of choice in ransomware attacks [16].

Why do we mention these things? Although Bitcoin is "better" money by Christian standards, it's not the solution to the problems of the world. Sin remains our first and foremost problem, and just because the structure of Bitcoin might discourage bad behaviour, it doesn't change the fact that people still covet the money of other people, lusting after worldly gain.

The ethics of inflation


In modern times the use of paper as purchasing media to represent money developed. As the precious metals money began to accumulate, societies developed storehouses, banks, where that money could be kept safely. These banks issued paper certificates to the customer who could then use the paper as a purchasing medium in his business transactions. There was no inherent economic value in the paper. What the paper represented, the precious metal in storage, was what had value [17].

It is the case that the wealth of a country can increase beyond merely the precious metals that it owns. Hence, the banking system matured to expand the number of paper certificates in circulation so that they would represent the increase in the goods and services produced beyond the supply of precious metals on deposit [18].

In two steps, the world moved away from the above standard (called the gold standard) where each unit of currency can be redeemed for gold in the 1930s and 1970s. Learn more about the gold standard below.

Another brief concept that is important to explain is the reserve requirement imposed on banks. When you deposit your money at a bank, the reserve requirement (stated in percentage) is the proportion of that money the bank is required to keep in reserve (i.e. they're not allowed to lend it out) [19].

The requirement for banks in the US prior to Covid-19 was sitting at 10%. At the time of this writing, it is 0%. This means banks are allowed to lend out all the money deposited with them. This drastically increases the money supply (read more here).

When the gold standard was in place, reckless increases in the money supply were kept in check as individuals could at any point redeem their currency for the fixed amount of gold (or other precious metal) at a bank. If the money supply is not kept in check, the banks will simply lose all their gold and the currency will come worthless.

Now that the gold standard has been removed, there is no way to keep reckless money creation by the government and other institutions in check. The risk? Inflation.


Investopedia defines inflation:

Inflation is the decline of purchasing power of a given currency over time. A quantitative estimate of the rate at which the decline in purchasing power occurs can be reflected in the increase of an average price level of a basket of selected goods and services in an economy over some period of time.

Investopedia, Inflation

Purchasing power can be defined as the value of a currency expressed in terms of the number of goods or services that one unit of money can buy.

We've all felt the effects of inflation in some way or another. A concrete example from South Africa would be the price of 6x1l milk having increased from ~80 ZAR to ~100 ZAR in the past year.

There are many factors driving inflation (e.g. demand-pull inflation, cost-push inflation [20]).

With a thematic focus on Bitcoin, our interest in this section is to specifically look at the effects of government fiscal policy on inflation. A central bank, reserve bank, or monetary authority is an institution that manages the currency and monetary policy of a country. They have the power to increase the money supply to pay for government expenditure as needed.

Whenever the money supply is increased, it acts as an indirect tax on your wealth. Consider the following example: You have $100, and the government has $100. The government has the ability to increase the money supply at will. To pay for their "infrastructure bills", "universal healthcare" etc. they decide to increase the money supply to pay for it. The government, via the money printer, prints $100 more dollars for their use. Now, you have $100 dollars and the government has $200. Previously you owned 50% of the wealth, and now, by no act of your own, you only own 33% of the wealth.

The catch, however, is that the money supply has increased by 50%, reducing the buying power of the $100 you do have. The prices of daily items (like coffee, or milk) increase as the scarcity of money reduces.

Purchasing power of the USD over time
Purchasing power of the USD over time

Remember, money is what you earned for your labour in producing goods or services. By printing money, the government has effectively taken some of the value you've produced and re-allocated it to them.

It's because the government has this kind of power that it can fund infrastructure bills and wars as it sees fit. The government does not need the permission of any citizen to print trillions of dollars to buy bombs and weapons for war. It simply prints the money and makes you indirectly pay for it by diluting your wealth.

The ethics of inflation

William Larkin wrote an extensive piece on the ethics of inflation that can be accessed here.

He defines inflation as follows:

Inflation is the creation of excess purchasing media or credit beyond that which represents the wealth, the production of goods and services, of a country. It violates the biblical commands to have just weights and not steal. Its immoral consequences are the oppression of the poor, especially the elderly; the promotion of sloth and covetousness; and the destabilization of society.

William Larkin, The Ethics of Inflation

Larkin evaluates the ethics of inflation under the following three sub-headings:

  • Just weights

  • Theft

  • Consequences

Just weights

You shall not have in your bag two kinds of weights, a large and a small. You shall not have in your house two kinds of measures, a large and a small. A full and fair weight you shall have, a full and fair measure you shall have, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you. For all who do such things, all who act dishonestly, are an abomination to the Lord your God.

Deuteronomy 25:13-16, ESV

In economic dealings, the Israelites were commanded to have just weights. To have stones of varying weights carrying the same markings is described as an abomination to the Lord. Abomination is a strong word. It means to loath or disgust, someone or something.

The issue at stake in having just weights is that some criminals would have marked weights that actually weigh less than the markings. When produce is then weighed for purchase, they'd scam the purchaser by making them pay for a certain weight of produce, whilst giving them less.

In ancient Israel before the exile, the value or price of goods was stated in terms of units of weight of a precious metal, silver (50 shekels of silver, 2 Sam 24:24). The transaction was accomplished when the silver was weighed out (Gen 23:16; Exod 22:17; Jer 32:9–10; cf. Ezra 8:25–33). If the weights were not their proper weight, if they were too light (compared to the indicated value), then the amount of silver exchanged for the goods would be too little. The weight unit of money, a shekel of silver, in that transaction would in effect be devalued [21].

In order to make this more tangible, let's take a look at some numbers.

Let's say someone owns 1kg of silver and wants to purchase 1kg worth of produce. In order to measure the amount of produce he can buy, he carries around a 1kg weight to measure at the market. Now, let's say a criminal does the same, but he carries a 1kg marked weight that actually weighs 0.5kg. When both persons get to the market, for the same amount of silver (1kg), the honest trader can buy 1kg of produce with his just weights, and the criminal can buy 2kg of produce.

What the criminal has effectively done is artificially and falsely increased the supply of silver in the market via dishonest weights beyond the actual circulating amounts. The amount of silver traded that day is 3kg (but in reality, it was only 2kg).

Viewed as an isolated system, the 2kg was used to buy 3kg of produce. The forces of supply and demand would then react to this increase in the supply of money and demand for goods, by increasing the prices of goods. The effect is that the value of silver per kg is reduced by a 1/3. The following week, the honest trader finds that he can only afford 2/3 of what he could afford the previous week. He has become poorer by no act of his own.

Just like the OT criminals would lighten their weights in order to make the single piece of silver buy more items (which effectively increased the money supply), money printers can actually increase the money supply making your marked bills worth less and less over time as the wealth is redistributed.

The point is this - in modern times the procedure for devaluing a currency has not ceased but has greatly simplified. No longer do we need to make effort by tampering with weights or, change the mix of metals in silver or gold coins, or clip coins. All the government has to do is increase the supply of money in excess of the productivity of a nation and this has the effect of lessening the real value of each paper bill, or number you see in a savings account. This has the exact same effect of a lessened weight being attached to the numbers you've saved up.

It, therefore, seems appropriate to compare this government practice to the Biblical command of just weights can condemn it as such. For examples of the outworkings of reckless printing, see Zimbabwe, Venezuela.


Another way to view the above situation is with a thematic focus on theft. If there are only 2kg of silver in circulation, it means that our honest trader holds 50% of the wealth since he owns 1kg of silver. When the criminal reduced his weights, artificially increasing the silver supply to 3kg, our trader suddenly only owns only 33% of the wealth.

Because the government issues much of the monetized deficit in transfer payments to special need groups, inflation is actually a method for redistribution of wealth. Those who contribute little or nothing to the nation’s productivity receive money whose value has actually been stolen away from the value of others’ hard-earned dollars [22].

Larkin does not intend this to mean that we should be against helping special needs groups, it's just that the chosen method (via the money printer) and not via direct taxation has other consequences, is prone to more corruption, and does so without giving people a say - violating the eight commandments [23].


Finally, Larkin discusses the ethics of inflation by looking at its consequences.

First, inflation oppresses the poor, especially the elderly on fixed incomes. Second, it destroys the ethical values which govern economic life. Third, inflation destabilizes national life [24].

For this sub-section, I'd like to specifically focus on the oppression of the poor and the elderly. Imagine you've been saving your whole life to retirement, and now you get to retire on a fixed income for the rest of your life. Inflation eats away at this income, and as the cost of living increases, there's nothing you can do to keep up with it.

If you're on the poorer part of the spectrum, with no property to your name or fixed assets, problems appear as well. As prices rise, it becomes more and more difficult for you to afford a home or some kind of real asset. At the same time, the rich (who already own homes) remain happy as their property prices stay on the rise. The gap between the rich and poor becomes larger and larger, and the irony is that social security funds that are usually funded by inflation-causing deficit spending (that intends to help the poor), actually does them a further injustice.

The Bible clearly teaches that it is wrong to oppress (Exod 22:21–24; Jer 7:6; 22:3 ; Zech 7:10) or prevent justice (Deut 24:17; 27:19 ) for the widow. The widow of biblical times and the elderly on fixed income today are in very much the same economic position [25].

Bitcoin and inflation

We've already discussed how Bitcoin can function as "better money" in many ways. One of the items we mentioned was the fixed supply. Let's focus on this aspect keeping the previous section on inflation in mind.

The argument is that central bank money printing will lead to inflation or a decrease in the value of money over time. Bitcoin, by contrast, has a fixed limit of 21 million coins that can ever be created. This limited supply allows bitcoin to resist inflation [26].

Since no one has the power the redistribute the wealth by changing the weights on the Bitcoin network (and bad players intending to do so can only do so with a 51% attack), in theory, the Bitcoin you have today will retain the same "real weight" that it had ten years ago (Ceteris paribus).

Until Bitcoin's invention, all forms of money (including gold) were unlimited in their quantity and thus imperfect in their ability to store value across time. Bitcoin's immutable monetary supply makes it the best medium to store the value produced from the limited human time, thus making it arguably the best store of value humanity has ever invented. To put it differently, Bitcoin is the cheapest way to buy the future, because Bitcoin is the only medium guaranteed to not be debased, no matter how much its value rises [27].

In theory, Bitcoin provides just weights, makes inflationary theft impossible, encourages honest principles, does not oppose the poor and the elderly.

The ethics of Bitcoin

Leaving inflation aside, let's look at some other categories where Bitcoin serves the Christian worldview.

  • Property rights and theft

  • Security

  • Privacy

Property rights and theft

Any person who owns Bitcoin achieves a degree of economic freedom which was not possible before its invention. As mentioned before, Bitcoin holders can send large amounts of value across the planet without having to ask for the permission of anyone [28].

This means that property rights are almost guaranteed for anyone worldwide. All you need is a connection to the internet. But, you don't have to store your money "on the internet" as you can use hardware or paper wallets. This means that oppressive governments lose their ability to confiscate your property if it's stored in Bitcoin. Christians can send support to Churches in China and Afghanistan at a moment's notice without disclosing their identities (more on this when we discuss privacy).

Property rights is a big argument in favour of Bitcoin, but is property rights really a human right?

We first need to realize that every single thing that exists in the heavens and on the earth belongs to the Lord (including Bitcoin)

The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein.

Psalm 24:1, ESV

God then gave man stewardship responsibilities. We are to rule as His "vice-Kings" in a sense, maintaining, caring and working with what the Lord has given us. One day, we'll have to give an accounting for what we've accomplished with what God has given us (Luke 19:11-27). At the end of our lives, nothing we've gathered here will come with us to the next life - confirming that it never really was ours, to begin with.

It is in this context that we find the sixth and tenth commandments.

You shall not steal... You shall not covet your neighbour's house; you shall not covet your neighbour's wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbour's.

The sixth and tenth commandments. (Exodus 20).

Since God has given each of us stewardship of parts of Creation, we are responsible for those parts. To steal someone else's property or to covet someone else's property, is to in effect claim that God made a mistake in giving some people stewardship of some part of Creation (that belongs to God). To steal or to covet is, therefore, to indirectly steal from God.

Bitcoin, by making it (nearly) impossible to take someone else's Bitcoin via dishonest actions, is built on the fundamental Biblical principle that we are not to steal or covet the property placed under the stewardship of someone else. In a Godless atheistic universe of chance, there's no such thing as property rights. All that is, is matter operated on in an ultimately chance-related environment. One piece of matter cannot own a different piece of matter in any meaningful way. This means that "stealing" becomes and incoherent concept as well.

On the other hand, in pantheistic worldviews, all is one. As Parmenides of old said, all is one, therefore all appearance of change and distinction (e.g. this is mine and this is yours) is an illusion and illogical [29].

It is only in the Christian worldview that property rights are secured as a human right, and must be fought for, for all people regardless of their country of residence or age.


Another important feature of the Bitcoin network is the security that it offers. In addition to guaranteeing the property rights of people who own Bitcoin, it also secures those property rights. It would be quite useless if you could write your name next to a Bitcoin, and anyone can come and easily erase it (or replace it with their own). In a perfect world, sin would not be a problem. All people would be God-fearing and honest in their dealings. Unfortunately, since the fall in Genesis 3, we have rebelled against God's law and went on to devise all types of schemes to enrich ourselves using dishonest means. I'd like to quote from Romans 3 (as I usually do when discussing the nature of man).

“None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.”...
“There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

Romans 3:10;18, ESV

The above gives us a glimpse into the nature of sinful man and is the reason why Bitcoin must use complex algorithms to ensure the integrity of the network. We can't rely on the honesty of people, because people by nature (prior to regeneration) are lying, thieving adulterers are heart.

The decentralised network provides one of the most secure (for you) systems in the world (arguably more secure than the centralised banking system). In oppressive countries, your bank accounts can be frozen and your assets confiscated by a single powerful entity. Not with Bitcoin. They might be able to throw you in jail, but they can't touch your Bitcoin.

This kind of security is required because of sin. It is a love for sin that causes people to steal, and governments to turn tyrannical. The Bitcoin network offers protection from these bad players.

Securing your assets (ensuring that no one can touch them) is ultimately an ethical thing to do. This conclusion is easily reached when we understand that it is only the Christian worldview that provides us with a foundation for property rights. Once you've been entrusted with assets in the world by God to work with for His glory, it is also your responsibility to secure those assets. It would be reckless (and sinful) to take what God has given you, and negligently leave it vulnerable for sinners to confiscate and exploit. Hence, the security that the Bitcoin network offers is an objectively ethical extension of the property rights that it aims to protect.


Bitcoin can support strong privacy. Some believe this privacy makes the Bitcoin network an illicit activities facilitator.

A point to remember when discussing privacy is that

Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. Therefore whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed on the housetops.

Luke 12: 2-3, ESV


Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? declares the Lord. Do I not fill heaven and earth? declares the Lord.

Jeremiah 23:24, ESV

Even if Bitcoin can be used in a way that makes transactions completely private and untraceable to human eyes, there will be justice on the day of judgement if the privacy the network offers is misused.

Despite some of the risks, the privacy that the network offers can be used in many valuable ways. We mentioned earlier that Christians can send support to Churches in China and Afghanistan at a moment's notice without disclosing their identities. This way, oppressed people can support themselves in oppressive countries by buying food and clothes, not risking that an oppressive entity can trace them via some centralised system that knows their names.

The point to keep in mind is this. In the Bible, where we do see privacy with regard to our actions, privacy is conditional and temporary. We’re all going to stand before God one day. Every one of our deeds will be shouted from the rooftop eventually [30].

Bitcoin and hope

Michael Saylor is a Bitcoin investor and advocate whose company, MicroStrategy has accumulated about 105,085 Bitcoin, currently valued at $5,464,420,000 (5,4 billion) [31]. He has created a website where people can educate themselves on Bitcoin, called "Bitcoin is hope", he says [32].

Jack Dorsey, founder of Square and Twitter hopes, “My hope is that it creates world peace or helps create world peace.” [33]

Here's the thing. Why is Bitcoin needed in the first place? It's needed because people are sinners in need of a Saviour.

Corrupt and oppressive governments (like China Afghanistan), oppression of the elderly and the poor, theft, lying lips, covetous hearts are all symptoms of our total depravity. Sure, Bitcoin makes it harder to be oppressive, to lie, to steal etc. but it does not address the heart issue. Bitcoin does not make the sinner righteous before a Holy God. It is destined for us to die once and then comes judgement (Hebrews 9:27). Bitcoin cannot help us on the day of judgement when our wicked hearts will be laid bare before the world and the Judge.

Bitcoin is a useful tool and a gift from God that allows us to operate in a world tainted by sin, but it's not our hope.

When we see Bitcoin, we must see our own depravity reflected in the way it works to counter the effects of sin. Just like Bitcoin makes it harder to steal, you can cut off a man's hands and he'll no longer be able to steal, but you haven't changed the man, who still is a thief, now just sitting there longing for the possessions of others. Bitcoin should point us to Christ, who is Hope

You see, Jesus Christ is the way the Truth and the life (John 4:16). It is only through His work on the cross (not the proof of work of the Bitcoin network) that we can find true hope. On the cross, Jesus Christ bore the full wrath of the Father for our sins against Him. He died in our place and rose on the third day to give us the eternal hope that one day we too will resurrect from the dead and live a life free of sin in the presence of God. In this new world, untainted by sin, Bitcoin will not be needed. Having been made righteous in Christ, the Holy Spirit applies for this work in our lives and changes our hearts so that we no longer long for the things of this world (i.e. sin), but we long for the things of God.

This is our only hope in life and death.

Q: What is my only hope in life and death?
A: That I am not my own, but belong with body and soul, both in life and in death, to my faithful Saviour Jesus Christ.
He has fully paid for all my sin with his precious blood, and has set me fre from all the power of the devil.
He also preserves me in such a way that without the will of my heavenly Father not a hair can fall from my head; indeed, all things must work together for my salvation.
Therefore, by his Holy Spirit he also assures m of eternal life and makes me heartily willing and ready from now on to live for him.

Heidelberg Catechism, Lord's Day 1

What has Bitcoin to do with Jerusalem?

True wealth is found only in Christ. One day, Bitcoin will be no more. When you research, buy, or sell Bitcoin, praise God for His wonderful Creation which He upholds that allows us to build these kinds of technologies. Think of the sin Bitcoin attempts to counter. Think of your need for a Saviour. Hope for the day when something like Bitcoin won't be needed anymore.


[1] Dominicana. 2021. What Hath Jerusalem to Do with Athens? | Dominicana. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 09 August 2021].

[2] Investopedia. 2021. Satoshi Nakamoto Definition. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 09 August 2021].

[3] Bahnsen, L. Greg. The encounter with Jerusalem and Athens.

[4] "Statement of Jennifer Shasky Calvery, Director Financial Crimes Enforcement Network United States Department of the Treasury Before the United States Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Subcommittee on National Security and International Trade and Finance Subcommittee on Economic Policy"(PDF). Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. 19 November 2013

[5] Investopedia. 2021. How Bitcoin Works. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 10 August 2021].

[6] Investopedia. 2021. Blockchain Definition: What You Need to Know. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 10 August 2021].

[7] Ibid.

[8] AP NEWS. 2021. EXPLAINER: Why has the price of Bitcoin been falling. [ONLINE] Available at:,21%20million%20will%20ever%20exist.. [Accessed 10 August 2021].

[9] Bahnsen, L. Greg. Always Ready.

[10] Note that Bahnsen, writing in the '90s obviously did not mention Bitcoin, but it's fitting to add it to drive home the point that everything belongs to Jesus Christ, no matter when it was invented. All knowledge is analogical - a re-interpretation of God's original creative knowing of all facts, including Bitcoin.

[11] Ugly Old Goat. 2021. A Critical Review: Thank God For Bitcoin | by Ugly Old Goat | Medium. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 11 August 2021].

[12] Encyclopedia Britannica. 2021. money | Definition, Economics, History, Types, & Facts | Britannica. [ONLINE] Available at:,the%20principal%20measure%20of%20wealth.. [Accessed 11 August 2021].

[13] 2021. Money Definition and Meaning - Bible Dictionary. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 11 August 2021].

[14] Kayla Matthews. 2021. 5 Ways to Send Bitcoin Via Text. Texting has become a popular way to… | by Kayla Matthews | Blockonomics Blog — Bitcoin Payments & More. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 11 August 2021].

[15] Desiring God. 2021. God Is Most Glorified in Us When We Are Most Satisfied in Him | Desiring God . [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 13 August 2021].

[16] BBC News. 2021. Gang behind huge cyber-attack demands $70m in Bitcoin - BBC News. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 13 August 2021].

[17] The Ethics of Inflation – by William J. Larkin, Jr. | Reformed Theology at A Puritan's Mind. 2021. The Ethics of Inflation – by William J. Larkin, Jr. | Reformed Theology at A Puritan's Mind. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 21 August 2021].

[18] Ibid.

[19] The Balance. 2021. Reserve Requirement: Definition, Impact on Economy. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 21 August 2021].

[20] Investopedia. 2021. Inflation Definition: Formula & How to Calculate. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 20 August 2021].

[21] The Ethics of Inflation – by William J. Larkin, Jr. | Reformed Theology at A Puritan's Mind. 2021. The Ethics of Inflation – by William J. Larkin, Jr. | Reformed Theology at A Puritan's Mind. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 30 August 2021].

[22] Ibid.

[23] Ibid.

[24] Ibid.

[25] Ibid.

[26] CoinDesk: Bitcoin, Ethereum, Crypto News and Price Data. 2021. Bitcoin and Inflation: Everything You Need to Know. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 05 September 2021].

[27] Ammous, S., 2018. The Bitcoin Standard. John Wiley & Sons. pg. 199.

[28] Ammous, S., 2018. The Bitcoin Standard. John Wiley & Sons. pg. 200.

[29] Encyclopedia Britannica. 2021. Parmenides | Greek philosopher | Britannica. [ONLINE] Available at:,of%20non%2DBeing%20are%20illogical.. [Accessed 06 September 2021].

[30] Warhorn. 2021. Is the Right to Privacy Biblical? - Warhorn Media. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 07 September 2021].

[31] MicroStrategy. 2021. MicroStrategy Acquires Additional Bitcoins and Now Holds Over 105,000 Bitcoins in Total. [ONLINE] Available at:,price%20of%20approximately%20%2437%2C617%20per. [Accessed 07 September 2021].

[32] MicroStrategy. 2021. Bitcoin is Hope. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 07 September 2021].

[33] Maggie Fitzgerald. 2021. Jack Dorsey hopes bitcoin will help bring about world peace. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 07 September 2021].



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At Apologetics Central, we are committed to providing biblically grounded, Reformed presuppositional apologetics resources to equip believers in defending the Christian faith. As a ministry, we strive to uphold the truth of God's word and present it winsomely to a world in need of the gospel.


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