The crypto industry is slowly but surely becoming one of the topics that constantly provokes heated discussions between ardent supporters and opponents, taking its place somewhere between the topics of politics and religion. Some think that Bitcoin and all cryptocurrencies are a bubble that will certainly burst soon, and others, on the contrary, remain confident that the financial future of mankind is behind cryptocurrencies. This often resembles a heated debate between liberals and conservatives, atheists and religious figures. The latter are also split in their views on the blockchain, and some even attempt to collect donations in cryptocurrency.
The London Turkish mosque Shacklewell Lane managed to collect cryptocurrencies in the amount of 13,983 pounds during the celebration of the Islamic holiday of Ramadan. At the same time, its fiat alms could not overcome the mark of 3,500 pounds. The religious organization realized its project with the help of blockchain project Combo Innovation, which specializes in financing Islam. Within a month, 24 donations from different parts of the world came to the wallet of the mosque.
"Many people in the mosque were initially skeptical about the fact that we took new kinds of money. The fact that we received four times as much from donations in cryptocurrencies than fiat, however, shows how important it is to open these new digital funds," said Erik Guney, head of the religious community. Interestingly, by becoming the first Turkish mosque to accept cryptocurrency as donations, Shacklewell Lane stands in opposition to Ankara.
"The purchase and sale of virtual currencies are currently incompatible with religion due to the fact that their valuation is open to speculation, and they can easily be used in illegal activities such as money laundering. They are also not under state control and surveillance," as stated by the Turkish religious affairs department.
Other Islamic leaders are sure that "flirting with cryptocurrencies" will not bring any good. For example, the Grand Mufti of Egypt has already spoken out against cryptos, saying that their anonymity provides scope for the actions of drug traffickers and operations involving other illegal goods on the Internet.
Nevertheless, more and more religious organizations are showing a genuine interest in cryptocurrencies. In January, an evangelical church in Zurich began accepting Bitcoin as a tithe.
A church spokesman, Nicolas Legler, said that both Bitcoin and other digital currencies will soon be inseparable from the everyday life of each person. Therefore, they need to keep up with the times.
The new community wants to use the Ethereum blockchain to better serve the gospel.
"I believe that blockchain technology is one of the most important innovations in the last ten years," said the South Korean co-founder of the Brantly Millegan project. "And the Catholic Church, as the largest global organization in the world, has a unique opportunity to reap the fruits of its use."
What benefit can this bring to the church in the opinion of the Catholic crypto evangelist?
In his opinion, cryptocurrency represents, above all, the empowerment of the poor in developing countries. Secondly, they are fast, cheap, and secure international payments ensuring longterm storage of important information. It is these properties of payments that are necessary for various sacraments and rituals. The group also wants to represent Catholic values in the growing blockchain community. "The crypto industry is full of smart people. They are absolute fanatics of their ideas, which can radically change the world," said Millegan. "We want the Catholic tradition to be at the table during discussions about this."
"Most of the Catholic community is still wary of websites, smartphones, and social networks," the religious leader summarized. "We need to do our best to seriously tackle modern technologies before we are left behind. And we think that the blockchain should be at the top of the priority list."
At the end of 2017, the Christian Traders organization introduced CT Global as a cryptocurrency for the global Christian community. The company claims it to be the eliminator of the giant gap between Wall Street and Main Street. CT Global’s token is based on the Ethereum blockchain. The ICO ended in December 2017.
According to the creators, since many people in the world do not have a bank account, but most of them, even in the poorest regions of the world, have inexpensive phones with Internet connection, and they will be able to use alternative financial assets in the form of CT Global tokens.
Buddhists also did not shy away from blockchain. Last summer, a group of Buddhist programmers said that they are going to create the world's first intellectual crypto community, the "Lotos Network.”
The main goal of the project is to create a "global monastery" using its own cryptocurrency, "Karma Tokens.” The latter can be earned through training and meditation.
The community will be based on its own economy surrounding Karma Tokens, which, according to the authors, is the first concept of the "Buddhist economy,” and this definition belongs to the philosopher and university professor at Berkeley, Clair Brown. In Lotos, they are sure that it is possible to create an economy free from the materialistic shackles of ordinary currencies.
By creating a transparent spiritual community based on the blockchain, the developers hope to largely eliminate corruption and fraud. "Decentralization solves the main problems of religion such as corruption, incentives, efficiency, and accessibility. Transparent transactions make corruption impossible. Karmic stimulation becomes palpable. Efficiency is carried out empirically through open source protocols. Global accessibility is achieved through a cloud-based matchmaking service," says the project white paper.
Members of the community will pay monthly fees for access to exclusive content. Also, participants can earn Karma Tokens by learning Buddhist practices. Tokens can be spent on courses, donations, and monthly fees.
The relationship between religion and new technologies throughout history has been quite complex, but that can change radically over time. Today, this is already being demonstrated by individual religious figures, as well as by whole institutions. Who knows, perhaps soon alms will be made in any church directly from your smartphone.