Jesus is the Better Bitcoin

We are approaching a once-every-four-year phenomenon. No, not the Olympics or the pageantry of elections, but the Bitcoin-halving (due in April). Monetary rewards for mining new bitcoins (which happens through computers solving complex math problems) get cut in half. Prior halvings coincided with all-time highs and, of course, the accompanying speculation and mania of a digital gold rush. We can likely expect more of the same this time. There are sure to be Pokemon coins spun out that leap up a thousand percent in a week before crashing. There will be more Sam Bankman-Frieds.[1]


Yet the fascination builds. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently approved eleven Bitcoin ETFs.[2] There must be something here beyond Ponzi schemes, money-laundering warlords, and the cha-ching of a slot machine. As interest keeps growing in Bitcoin you can talk about why, with every good thing about Bitcoin, Jesus is better.



Calling bitcoin trustworthy is a bit of a joke, considering that in the past seven years, the value of one bitcoin has both increased nearly two thousand percent and dropped over eighty percent. That hardly screams dependable. Yet trustworthy is precisely the word proponents use, but on different grounds. Bitcoin’s circulation and price derive from a rules-based structure that mimics a natural resource, like gold. This means that it’s subject to supply and demand, but not the Fed.


That’s probably the biggest internal value the Bitcoin network brings which all its arguments hinge on, and it’s a big one. Back in the day, the dollar used to be backed by the gold standard, meaning, for every dollar the US printed, it backed it up with a chunk of real gold. We ditched that in 1933 and started using “fiat” currency. The word fiat also shows up in theology, as in God decrees what will happen by divine fiat. That’s how we now decree that dollars have value—by government fiat. We trust world currencies like the yen, pound, and dollar inasmuch as we trust the government behind it.


Trusting in a Lack of Trust

Fans of Bitcoin tote the token as trustworthy because of its independence from outside meddling. National currencies are exposed to volatility through things like interest rates and ballooning debt that stokes inflationary money-printing. Bitcoin approaches money like the US Constitution approaches government—founded on the self-evident truth that all men are endowed with inalienable corruption.


Therefore, the currency is decentralized (DeFi). Instead of leaning on governments or financial institutions, people exchange directly with other people. Bitcoin attracts criminals and con-men for the same reason that cash and diamonds flow through shady characters—because you are dealing with people, who are eminently untrustworthy.


Jesus is More Trustworthy

Who can find a trustworthy man (Prov 20:6)? If you’re an Argentinian who’s experienced hyperinflation (over 200% in one year) [3], or you’ve seen your house and farm burned by a marauding military coup, you start thinking seriously about where can you safely create a nest for an egg. The average American sees less dramatic grievances, but it takes only a small sampling of the malfeasance all around us to become disillusioned with “the system.”


Gold, bitcoin, and a diverse portfolio all promise a trustworthy safety net, but Jesus is what we really want. He tells us to store up treasure in heaven where moth and rust do not destroy and centralized institutions don’t prey on their customers (Mt 6:19-21).


“The king is not saved by his great army; a warrior is not delivered by his great strength. The war horse is a false hope for salvation” (Ps 33:16-17). Whether it’s bitcoin or a collection of condos, we want to keep our hope for salvation ready and waiting in the stable, but these things fluctuate and fail. God offers us eternal and secure deliverance in Jesus, but He owns us, not the other way around.



It’s expected that the last bitcoin will be mined in the year 2140, capping out the total supply just below 21 million. For reference, there are 440 million pounds of gold in the world. That means bitcoin is relatively scarce and will only get scarcer.


Here’s the trouble: anything valuable is scarce, but not everything scarce is valuable. I have a paint-by-number picture of a raccoon crossing a river on a fallen tree that I did in elementary school. I’ve never seen another one like it, but I’m not banking my retirement on that. From a sheerly human perspective, everything in this world has value only by consensus. That’s not very sure footing. Predictions about future valuations signal that you have now entered the carnival of speculation. It’s a neon festival where eyes pop and greed devours.


The crypto landscape has become a playground for moonshot promises, scams, fads, pump-and-dumps,[4] and people like the Dogecoin millionaire, who put his eggs in a single basket that went from 3 million to $50k in a year.[5] There is nothing innovative about get-rich-quick schemes which God warns against (Prov 13:11). At fifteen years old, it’s hard to call Bitcoin a fad, but only time will tell how far it will escape the label.


The Search for Lasting Value

Insert boilerplate financial advice here—talk with a trusted adviser; stick to a budget; set goals, etc. More important is Jesus’ response to a guy who interrupted his teaching, demanding Jesus sort his brother out—to tell him to split the inheritance. Jesus fired back at his heart, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions” (Lk 12:15).


The real question is where do you go to find value? Where should you invest? These are really asking the question: where will you put your faith? There may be only 21 million bitcoin, but there’s only one Jesus. And if he’s going to outlast the sun, then he’s a good bet to outlast Bitcoin (Rev 6:13-14; Mt 24:29). Jesus’ value started at infinity, and you’ll keep reaping more as you go after him (Ps 119:96).


The book of Proverbs extols the superlative value of Lady Wisdom, which we know foreshadows Jesus. “The gain from her is better than gain from silver and her profit better than gold. She is more precious than jewels, and nothing you desire can compare with her” (Prov 3:15-16). If you spend time with Jesus, if you grow in your knowledge and love for him, if you pour yourself out for others for the sake of gaining more of his spirit, then you will be mining the rarest treasure of all.

Justin N. Poythress (DMin Westminster Theological Seminary) is the pastor of All Saints Church in Boise, ID. You can find more of Justin's writing on his blog, Time & Chance.