The line between cryptocurrency and religion is a fascinating one, with many people believing the existence and presence of cryptocurrency can go against numerous religious teachings. This is because elements of cryptocurrency, mainly the investment in cryptocurrency can be considered as gambling, or as another activity which goes against many of the ethical and moral codes established within religions such as christianity and islam.
It’s a debate that has been ongoing for some time now. Thankfully, we are starting to see many scholars and religious figures begin to agree that cryptocurrency can be accepted by many religions, assuming it is used for legitimate means and in a legitimate way. According to Yahoo News:
“Cryptocurrencies typically aren’t backed by physical assets, and people can make massive profits through interest, causing a stir within the Islamic finance community. But a new paper released earlier this month might finally provide some clarity. Prominent Muslim scholars have released a whitepaper certifying that Ethereum’s native cryptocurrency, ether, is, in fact, Shari’ah compliant. The paper, by Amanie Advisors, said that because ether is a utility token, which is mostly used to power the network, the Shari’ah laws around currency don’t apply.”
As mentioned however, within Islam specifically in this case, the ways in which Ethereum can be used to be complicit with religious codes is slightly limited, because in order to remain ok to use, religious followers have to ensure they are using the likes of Ethereum in a certain way:
“The scholars reserve judgment on particular uses of the Ethereum network. If specific tokens, for instance, are used to make profits from interest, then that wouldn’t be Shari’ah compliant. And if Ethereum started being used as currency, then Amanie Advisors would need to take another look. They also said that both the Proof-of-Work and Proof-of-Stake mining mechanisms could be Shari’ah compliant, but Ethereum’s Proof-of-Stake mechanism is subject to review once work on it has been completed.”
This is a very interesting debate, one that brings with it a number of considerations for the future of cryptocurrency adoption. Moreover, it’s great to see religious figures at higher levels actually talking about cryptocurrency and considering it’s existence as a part of the fabric of the universe. Until we truly see cryptocurrency accepted within religions, cryptocurrency adoption isn’t a realistic prospect, therefore what we are seeing here from these scholars and others is certainly a great first step towards this.