7 reasons why some call Bitcoin a religion - and what this means for the crypto community

SALAMANTEX
4 min readMay 18, 2023

During Ramadan, we shared an article analyzing the question if crypto was considered haram or halal by the global Muslim community. In our research, we also came across several voices calling Bitcoin a religion of its own — something we couldn’t help but take a closer look at. This article is dedicated to the question if Bitcoin is indeed a religion and what difference this classification would make for the crypto community.

First of all, let’s have a look at the different definitions for ‘religion’:

Figure 1: Definition of ‘religion’ as per Merriam-Webster[1]

Merriam-Webster suggests four different definitions for the term ‘religion’. We will go through them to see which ones are applicable to our case:

We can rule out number 4, as ‘scrupulous conformity’ is opposed to the Bitcoin idea of decentralization and non-conformity with financial institutions.

2a is debatable as some people indeed refer to Satoshi Nakamoto, the anonymous creator of Bitcoin, as a God. Similar to other god figures in world religions, this god is somewhat intangible. However, in contrast to other gods, this one possesses an email address which makes him/her/them more approachable than any other god. Let’s pin down 2a as a could be classification for Bitcoin as a religion.

Definitions 1 and 3 also hold true — Bitcoin is indeed “a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith” as well as a “set […] of attitudes, beliefs, and practices”.

What does Bitcoin have in common with major worldwide religions, such as Christianity, Islam and Hinduism? Let’s dive right into the parallels. There are certain characteristics in the crypto, notably Bitcoin, world, that indeed have religious quality:

  1. Prophet / God: Satoshi Nakamoto, who to date remains anonymous[2], can be seen as the prophet or god of the crypto world.
  2. Sacred texts: Published in 2008, Satoshi’s Bitcoin launch whitepaper is the foundation of Bitcoin and a sacred script in the crypto realm.
  3. Path to salvation: “Some Bitcoiners view Bitcoin not just as a way to make money, but as the answer to all of humanity’s problems”[2]
  4. Holidays: Many Bitcoin enthusiasts celebrate January 3 as the Bitcoin anniversary. In addition, halving dates are celebrated as sacred dates. Another holiday is the Bitcoin Pizza Day on May 22nd, celebrating the first ever commercial purchase made with Bitcoin.
  5. Language: Similar to referring to Bible verses in the Christian community, the crypto world has its own jargon: HODL-ing (holding on for dear life) and WAGMI or GMI (we’re going to make it) are only two examples of this unifying language.
  6. Places of Worship: While we know temples, churches, mosques and synagogues as the typical places of worship, we believe that crypto community events can be seen as places of worship for the crypto community, especially large festivals.
  7. Judgment Day: “Some Bitcoiners believe in an inevitable coming ‘hyperbitcoinization‘ in which bitcoin will be the only valid currency. When this happens, the ‘Bitcoin believers’ who invested will be justified, while the ‘no coiners’ who shunned cryptocurrency will lose everything.”[3]

In addition to these parallels, we also found that there is a self-proclaimed ‘Church of Bitcoin’. It was founded in 2017 by Henry Romp and there are currently 106 members publicly listed on the website. It’s mission is to “free the world from the oppression that is currently enabled by government and central bank control over exchange.”[4]

Religion or not — we leave it up to everyone to decide for themselves how they want to classify Bitcoin and the wider crypto community.

We at SALAMANTEX believe that it is irrelevant if Bitcoin is considered a religion or not. What is actually worth debating over is the question if the crypto community is a supportive network or a toxic environment, as well as the role of crypto influencers in this differentiation. We will dedicate our next article to the question of how influencers make or break the crypto community’s value.

[TO BE CONTINUED]

[1] Religion Definition & Meaning — Merriam-Webster

[2] The people who are finding God through and in cryptocurrency. (slate.com)

[3] Why are people calling Bitcoin a religion? (theconversation.com)

[4] Home — Church Of Bitcoin

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