Introduction

“The Scriptures are shallow enough for a babe to come and drink without fear of drowning and deep enough for theologians to swim in without ever reaching the bottom.”

- St. Jerome

“The principles of Bitcoin are shallow enough for a babe to come and drink without fear of drowning and deep enough for mathematicians to swim in without ever reaching the bottom”

Wisdom cries aloud in the street,
in the markets she raises her voice;
at the head of the noisy streets she cries out;
at the entrance of the city gates she speaks:
“How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple?
How long will scoffers delight in their scoffing
and fools hate knowledge?
If you turn at my reproof,
behold, I will pour out my spirit to you;
I will make my words known to you.

Proverbs 1:20–23

What is Bitcoin for Churches? Why is this resource needed? And why should the church care?

Bitcoin for Churches is a collection of essays, articles and questions compiled with a specific focus for the body of Christ. This study guide begins with a brief introduction to the history of money and economic theory and progresses through the effects that our current fiat monetary system has on the world. It then progresses to the fundamentals of what Bitcoin is and what it is not. It covers the fundamental issues of why Bitcoin should matter for the believer and the church. It concludes with practical steps to acquire Bitcoin and how to safeguard it.

Bitcoin should not be ignored. If Bitcoin is a scam, the knowledge gained through this manual from understanding our economic system and the injustices it perpetuates will be invaluable. But Bitcoin is not a scam, and this course will clearly demonstrate this.

If Bitcoin is a novelty that is here today and gone tomorrow this knowledge will still be invaluable. But based on the Lindy principle, Bitcoin has already overtaken the internet in its pace of adoption. It is here to stay.

However, if Bitcoin is a once in a millennium opportunity, or what is called a “Black Swan Event” then it would do us well to understand what it is and how the church can benefit from it. Prominent thought leaders in the space have called it the greatest asymmetric bet in the history of mankind and likely one of the greatest inventions of all time.

The obvious question comes to mind. “If it is all of these things, why isn’t everyone jumping on board?” As you ask that question, consider another time in history. Consider the time that Jesus lived among us. Jesus, the smartest man in the history of the world. Was He well regarded? Did He stand out from the crowd? How many people believed Him while He was alive?

Further, Bitcoin is not part of some elaborate marketing scheme or a product of a company with a marketing budget. It was created in an “open environment” and is what is known as open-source code. Because it is open source, it can be verified by anyone at any time, and it is not controlled by any one entity. It has been running without interruption or hacking since its inception in 2009. In effect, it is available to anyone who wants to find it, but there is no mechanism to “promote” it. Promotion only comes from the scores of people and companies that have adopted it. It waits to be found by those who are seeking.

In the following pages, we will see very clearly that the economic system we currently have is not just. It favors the rich over the poor. It corrupts our understanding of who God is and it affects our relationship with Him. And it was created by fallen men and some would say with evil intent.

This study guide will teach you the fundamentals of Bitcoin. The guide will explain what Bitcoin is, what it is not, how it works, how it is used, and how it is stored. The guide will also answer common objections or FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt) about Bitcoin. This is ONLY about Bitcoin. The reason for this should become clear as you start the study. Bitcoin is different. Bitcoin is not like the other cryptocurrencies out there. From a Christian’s perspective, the uniqueness of Bitcoin should make sense, because we are used to such exclusionary thought about our beliefs — for good reason.

As you learn more and more about Bitcoin, you go down the preverbal “rabbit hole.” This is common lingo in the Bitcoin community. In the beginning, the technology behind Bitcoin was the purview of the “cypherpunk” community. This community existed to fight for individual freedoms in the digital realm which they saw being threatened by US surveillance agencies, namely the NSA. Bitcoin would not exist without this group. We could liken this group to our founding fathers. Men who fought for freedom from the injustices of the Crown. Freedom knows no faith, religion, ethnicity, or skin color. Men want to live in freedom, but governments want to take it away.

The evidence will be presented for review, reflection, consideration, and action.

Generally speaking, Bitcoin adoption naturally falls along generational lines. “Boomers” likely dismiss it either because it is “too complicated” or “it’s a scam.” Many Boomers dismiss it out of willful neglect. Meaning, Boomers are clearly the generation that has benefited the most from our current economic system and see no reason to change. After studying the material, the Boomer may want to consider his/her moral obligation to his fellow man. While the Boomer may not adopt Bitcoin because their financial situation is solid, they should consider how adoption can help their fellow man and the church.

The younger “Zoomer” generation generally quickly gravitates towards Bitcoin because they are a “digitally native” generation and readily see the injustices in society. Bitcoin will allow them to participate in economic wealth generation like no other generation in the history of mankind.

As the body of Christ, we should strive to live free of unjust government mandates. We should love our fellow man: not just the “neighbor” next door, but the “neighbor” across the world. Bitcoin is the answer to stopping government control and surveillance. Bitcoin will allow us to love our neighbor as ourselves. We explore this in a couple of essays regarding the morality of Bitcoin and see that monetary colonialism is alive and well and results in the continued oppression of developing countries.

Lastly, it is the opinion of the author that Bitcoin may offer the opportunity to store up wealth in the time of plenty for the time of drought that may be ahead (Genesis 41). This is not meant to be a “prophetic” proclamation about the end times or tribulation, etc. But it would be difficult not to think that the world we are living in is drastically changing. Something is up. Bitcoin is a unique asset that could be an escape hatch.

If the only conclusion drawn from this study is that our economic system is broken, corrupt, and unjust, then that is enough. Bitcoin fixes this! This alone should be enough for the church to adopt Bitcoin.

How this study guide is organized

The guide is a compilation of essays followed by questions. Each section with its essays and questions can function independently of other sections. Hopefully the flow of the sections conveys the “general problem” leading to the “solution.” And in this flow the study guide will answer, “why it matters.” Why it matters for you and the Church. Ultimately, Bitcoin is an investment and most people who first come to Bitcoin come for the “Number Go Up” technology (NGU). It is the author’s hope that, while yes you too can benefit from the NGU technology, you approach Bitcoin with a different lens. A lens that looks to God’s purposes first.

This guide will form a solid foundation of knowledge with guided questions to help you challenge and re-orient your presuppositions. Invariably most Bitcoiners dabble with “altcoins” (sh*t coins in common parlance) first, lose money, and come back to Bitcoin after “learning their lesson.” “Newbies” (those new to Bitcoin) also tend to panic sell at inappropriate times. This guide is meant to prevent these events from happening because it will quickly introduce concepts that most Bitcoiners spend hundreds of hours learning. It’s only in the learning that Bitcoiners realize their mistakes. This guide is meant to prevent these mistakes but more importantly ensure that you approach Bitcoin with a pure Christian worldview.

Some sections may require more time to review than others. In Chapter 1 section C, there is an extensive list of scripture pertaining to money. This section may be studied by itself or used throughout the study as a basis for everything else.

This guide IS NOT exhaustive. Most people who get into Bitcoin spend at least 100 hours before feeling competent to discuss Bitcoin. This does not imply that much study is needed to use Bitcoin. In fact, the author suggests that students download the Fold app (foldapp.com) to begin learning to use Bitcoin. This app is very cool in the fact that you can start winning fractions of a Bitcoin by spinning a simple wheel — no purchases are necessary. For the one teaching the class, it is highly recommended to read “Thank God for Bitcoin” by Jimmy Song et al; “The Bullish Case for Bitcoin” by Vijay Boyapati; “The Bitcoin Standard” and “The Fiat Standard” by Saifedean Ammous. And watch the video on YouTube with Michael Saylor and Ross Stevens (https://youtu.be/NoobUKNttmw). Additionally, Michael Saylor’s website (Hope.com) is an excellent resource for starting the journey down the rabbit hole.

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If you would like a copy of the manuscript, please message me and provide your email and I will send a copy.

You can follow me on Twitter @entsurg

Learn from like-minded Christians on my weekly podcast: https://feeds.captivate.fm/mission-bitcoin/

Bitcoin for Churches — CONTENTS:

1. Monetary & Economic History

A. Quiz

B. History of Money

C. The Biblical View of Money

D. The Morality of Money

E. History of Keynesian Economics

F. History of Austrian Economics

2. Principles of Fiat Money

A. Fractional Reserve Banking

B. Cantillon Effect

C. Multiplier Effect: How Fractional Reserve Banking Creates Money

D. The Debt Cycle

E. Inflation and Hyperinflation

F. Debt Slavery & Monetary Colonialism

a. Bitcoin as Legal Tender? Why El Salvador’s Plan Isn’t as Crazy as You Think

3. What is Bitcoin is NOT

A. Bitcoin is not a Ponzi scheme

a. How Bitcoin is Different Than all the Other Cryptocurrencies

B. Bitcoin is Not the Mark of the Beast

C. Bitcoin is Not Boiling the Oceans

4. What is Bitcoin

A. What is Bitcoin

a. Origins

b. What Problem Does Bitcoin Solve?

c. Bitcoin’s Growth Since Launch

B. How Bitcoin Solves the Store of Value Problem

a. Is it too Late to Invest in Bitcoin?

b. Is Bitcoin too Volatile?

C. Principle of divisibility — The Satoshi

D. What Is Bitcoin Decentralization?

E. Trustless Technology: The Core of the Blockchain

F. Is Bitcoin Anonymous?

G. Introduction to blockchain technology

a. What is Proof of Work (PoW)?

b. What is a Hash?

c. What is SHA-256 algorithm and how does it work?

d. What is a Mining Rig?

H. Security of Bitcoin

a. How Secure Is the Bitcoin Blockchain, and Is Your Cryptocurrency Safe?

b. Security of exchanges

i. The History of the Mt Gox Hack: Bitcoin’s Biggest Heist

c. Storing Bitcoin

i. What is a Bitcoin Key?

ii. Not Your Keys Not Your Coin

iii. Bitcoin Wallets: How, Why and When to Hold Your Own Private Keys

5. The Christian Worldview and Bitcoin

A. Stewardship

a. The Moral Case for Bitcoin

b. Speculative Attack

c. Stock to Flow Model (S2F)

d. The Bullish Case for Bitcoin

B. Time Preference

a. Bitcoin, Time & Eternity — Aligning with God’s Time

6. Bitcoin and the Church

A. Bitcoin Citadel or City on a Hill?

B. Vignettes: Leveraging Bitcoin for Good

7. Bitcoin and Missions

A. Mission Bitcoin Manifesto

8. Serving God vs. Serving Money

A. Reflecting on Scripture

9. Next steps

A. Buying Bitcoin

a. Exchanges

b. Apps

B. Storing Bitcoin — in depth

a. Securing Your Wallet

C. Running a node

D. Lightning network — 2nd layer

E. Bitcoin Pay Server — accepting donations

a. What is a BTCPay Server? Free & Open-Source Bitcoin Payment Processor

Physician, Entrepreneur, Follower of Christ