Why Cryptocurrency has end-times relevance

What is Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency, and why should it matter to Christians and those concerned about impending end-of-the-world events?

Why Cryptocurrency has end-times relevance
Photo by Bermix Studio / Unsplash

You cannot ignore Cryptocurrency, it would be like trying to ignore the Internet in the year 2000. Investment is flowing in, companies are being created and growing rapidly, there is hype, very much akin to the dot-com-bubble. There have already been high profile frauds, hacks and bankruptcies. Millionaires and Billionaires have been made and some people have lost thousands and millions. Some people have literally lost the money by forgetting the passwords, or by throwing away the hardware.

What is Cryptocurrency

Cryptocurrency is almost synonymous with Bitcoin.  Bitcoin was the original cryptocurrency created by an anonymous person or group known as Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008.  Version 0.1 of the code was loaded to a file repository in January 2009.  That first block of code contained a headline from the UK Times newspaper from the 3rd of January 2009.

The Times 03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks.

This quote explains the purpose of Bitcoin, it is designed to be a digital storage of wealth, the value of which cannot be manipulated by any central entity.  Some people call it digital gold. The comparison is a good one because there is a finite number of Bitcoin available, 21 million. The aim of Bitcoin is to reintroduce a Gold standard, in response to the problems of the fractional reserve banking system where the value of assets inflate, bubbles in assets are expected and savings lose value over time.

New Bitcoins were introduced into circulation as computers solved increasingly complex mathematical operations. These operations confirmed users' transactions and the owner of the computer was rewarded with a predetermined amount of Bitcoin. This process is called mining. Mining has come under criticism as large amounts of energy are required but no useful work is done. Other coins, technology and business models have somewhat solved this problem, but with Bitcoin at least it still exists.

The crypto part of the name is because the complex mathematical operations are cryptographic in nature and result in a code, known as the blockchain, that cannot be changed. That is the genius behind the original code. It forms an enduring record of a transaction. The blockchain is distributed throughout the Internet and several mining nodes need to agree that a transaction has occurred before it is indelibly recorded on the blockchain.

Once Bitcoin was released as open-source software then a community was built around it that could improve and expand on the original code. As with any community, the opinions differed and the community split, resulting in two or more cryptocurrencies with similar but different code. Others saw value in the code and started their own projects based on the same concept but with different code. Still others simply copied the code and renamed it. The result is multiple cryptocurrencies. The value of any one cryptocurrency is based on perceived value in the world, basically how much fiat currency is invested into that coin project.

The Gold Standard

Whether the gold standard was the utopia it is often made out to be or not, is a hotly debated topic. At the turn of the 20th Century, most countries that had a central bank had gold reserves. These reserves were seen as the guarantee of value of the country's currency.  The currency itself could be freely converted into gold and the currency itself was a promissory note to pay the holder an amount of gold or silver.  Unfortunately, the standard kept changing, as successive kings needed more money, they would use less pure gold and silver coins thereby reducing both their perceived and actual value.

Pile of gold bullion coins and bars. Argor Heraeus, Münze Österreich and Krugerrand. If you use our photos, please add credit to https://zlataky.cz, when possible
Photo by Zlaťáky.cz / Unsplash

During the Great Depression of the 1920's and 1930's many countries sought to stimulate their economies.  The easiest way they could think to do this was to introduce investment into the economy, and to introduce investment without an investor they needed to suddenly strike gold.  But what they actually did was break the link between the currency and gold meaning that they could print money without a requisite increase to their gold holdings.  Only the US weathered the great depression without printing money and breaking their gold standard. This served to increase the perceived value of the US Dollar in the eyes of foreign investors.

The US maintained the gold standard throughout the Second World War and grew wealthy as their economic output increased and as they loaned money to the war efforts and rebuilding efforts around much of the world. Only in 1971 did President Richard Nixon end the convertibility of US Dollars into gold, in response to rising inflation.  Inflation is an increase in the cost of goods, but it can be caused by a decrease in the value of a currency.  A currency typically increases in value when more people are buying it than selling it and decreases in value when more are selling it than buying it.  The US Dollar became a reserve currency of many nations in large part because of the petrodollar. This was an agreement that the US had with the oil-producing nations of the Middle East (OPEC), that they would only sell oil in exchange for Dollars and no other currency.  This guaranteed that anyone who wanted oil had to first buy dollars. Consequently, many countries kept their "savings" in Dollars so that they could easily convert it to oil if they wanted to spend it. This is the meaning of reserve currency.

Once Richard Nixon had broken the gold standard, thanks to the petrodollar, the US still had a guaranteed income from those buying oil, and the US Federal Reserve could print paper dollars to deflate the value of the Dollar whilst artificially increasing the US economy.

If any nation looked to challenge the dominance of the US Dollar then they had to first answer to the mighty US military, which was not shy in exerting influence around the globe.

Government Interest

No currency, up to this point in 2022, has been able to challenge the dominance of the US Dollar. The petrodollar is still hanging on by a thread, and the US military remains unchallenged.

Photo by Michael Afonso / Unsplash

Bitcoin, however, has mounted its challenge and this time it cannot be solved militarily.  It could, however, be challenged through regulation, essentially outlawing it. Like how sanctions are placed on a country, except this time they would be placed directly on the currency. The governments could simply make it illegal to convert Dollars or Euros into Bitcoin.

We are currently in a situation where regulations are just beginning to catch up with the technology.  Various government regulations look something like this:

  • If you personally make a profit then we want to tax it
  • We don't want criminals to be making or transferring money using it
  • If we think you're a criminal then we want to ban you from using it
  • If we suspect fraud then we want the means to investigate it
  • If it starts to create competition for our own currency then we will ban it

Some conspiracy theorists believe Bitcoin was created by a three-letter government agency because the identity of the creator remains a mystery.

Indeed it presents some interesting features that would be desirable to world governments.  Not only does Bitcoin create an indelible record of every transaction, but it does so in a visible, transparent way. Everyone can query the blockchain and see that a transaction was made between Wallet A and Wallet B.  If the government, or anyone else for that matter, knows who owns Wallet A and Wallet B, then they can see every transaction that those individuals make.  A tempting prospect indeed.

Add a small regulation that they say is to prevent money laundering, otherwise known as Know Your Customer (KYC) regulations and suddenly they can see exactly who owns every wallet.

The graphic below gives a helpful overview of how the regulations are applied throughout the world.

Infographic: Where the World Regulates Cryptocurrency | Statista You will find more infographics at Statista

Government Control

What is also of interest to governments, that is not included in the Bitcoin concept, is control. Governments have gotten used to the idea of printing limitless amounts of fiat money.  Bitcoin has a limited supply and so they cannot control it in this way.  Indeed it was invented to prevent exactly that.  When governments deflate a currency they are effectively borrowing from future generations and rewarding themselves now.

Since 2008, the printing of money has become the go-to remedy for every possible crisis and has even got its own name, Modern Monetary Theory (MMT).

Governments are now working on their own digital currencies, so-called Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs) where they will offer the transparency and the transaction speed of Bitcoin whilst being centrally controlled.

The control would not stop at controlling the supply either. Many people envisage the day when Governments control not just the supply of the currency but who has access to that currency and what they can spend it on.  They could apply an expiry date to the currency to encourage people to spend instead of save. They could punish individuals by preventing them from buying flight tickets or beer or weapons.

Recent reports have suggested that governments would use it to make deposits directly to their citizens, but only where they meet a certain social credit score. Mention of a social credit system, however, brings with it fears of dystopia and Communism because that is the exact name given to the system by China where a person's creditworthiness is linked to their trustworthiness and their trustworthiness can be dependent on certain social behaviours.

Cashless Societies

Some propose cash as the ultimate way to avoid government control and that is certainly possible. Legally no one can refuse to accept cash as a form of payment, although it does not play nicely with the Internet.

Those who love privacy over convenience should continue to use cash and refuse to move to a cashless society. Personally, I like the convenience of carrying a single card around, or even just using my phone without a card. I like shopping on the Internet, although I know I should support local retailers more than I do.

I appreciate cash as a way to transact business away from the prying eyes of the government. The government will always use the argument that it is used by criminals. It is always the cry of those in power, that they need new laws to protect people and to punish crime. It seems to me that the biggest criminals are those who can influence the politicians and the police to do their bidding. They are above the law and don't transact in cash but instead use complicated off-shore company structures.

Is cash going to be the way to do business in the end-times? I don't think so. Governments want to get rid of cash and because they are the issuers of cash then they can, of course, remove it from circulation. They have already removed the 500€ note from circulation in Europe and some politicians and public servants are making noises about removing smaller denominations such as 100€ notes or $100 notes.

An alternative to cash is required that is not controlled by the governments.

End-Times

So we come to the focus of the article. Many people are expecting the implementation of a type of one-world communist government. You will rarely find communism mentioned today though, it has been replaced with socialism and new socialism. But what it boils down to is controlling the people, not so that they can achieve a happy life, but so that the powerful can live in their utopia being served by the masses. See what policies are put in place the world over, and see which countries are implementing freedom policies, untangling and simplifying legislation. Very few. They want gun control, currency control, tax control, not to mention all the pandemic related controls.

In the USA now domestic terrorists have been labelled a greater threat than actual terrorists.  These domestic terrorists are no more than you or I, who choose to disagree with the government. If you can be labelled a terrorist then the government has legal means to monitor your bank accounts, your phone records, your social media accounts and more. This same system could come to your country very quickly.

In Canada recently, the truckers who protested were labelled domestic terrorists and Prime Minister Trudeau implemented the emergency powers act supposed to be used when there is an imminent threat to the country, not when there is a peaceful protest in a democratic country. As part of the emergency powers they stopped the truckers accessing any bank accounts with their names on it, both personal and business accounts, and any accounts held at Crypto-currency exchanges. Secondly, they went after those who had supported the truckers by making a donation to the cause. These people's accounts were also blocked, as banks were tasked with suspending the accounts of any suspected supporters of the domestic terrorists.

In this scenario, or in fact, any scenario where banks are forced to close, such as policy decisions, war, terrorism, cyber-attacks, power outages etc., then having cash in the house is the first recourse. I'd suggest enough to pay your bills for up to 1-month. Don't spend it until you need to. If you were living in Ukraine when the war broke out then heeding this advice would give you access to fuel and food as you escape, and help you at least for a few days at your destination.

Gold coins and Bullion pure 24 karat gold
Photo by Sabrianna / Unsplash

Gold is not a useful currency for making transactions, not even for paying your rent. I like gold coins because they look like money and in some cases are legal tender, but they are typically 1oz in weight with a value in the region of 1500€. In emergencies, the value of gold goes up and some suspect it could go up many times in value, as high as 15,000€. Clearly, you cannot purchase your groceries in this way. You can get smaller denominations, but I see gold as a store of excess wealth that can be used to purchase land, a house or a business if necessary.

Silver is more useful but again the coins are typically 1Oz and the value is around 25€ per coin. The value could go up ten-fold to 250€ per coin. This you could pay your rent with, so by all means stock up on a few hundred, or a thousand coins.

Take a look at the smaller denominations too, you can get Gold and Silver in 1gram bars. At today's prices a gram of silver would be approximately 75 cents and a gram of gold approximately 55 Euros. You do pay a premium for this style of physical gold or silver though, upwards of 20% over the spot price. Also in most European countries you will pay VAT (mwst) on silver because it is not considered an investment, whereas Gold you will not pay VAT.

Cryptocurrency

Cryptocurrency has utility for the end times for three reasons:

  • Out of government control
  • Anonymous transactions
  • Divisibility

The first one is that it is out of government control. How is that possible, when the governments of Canada could ban people from their accounts? How this works is that the governments apply pressure to the exchanges who run as legal businesses in that country and implement KYC on all their customer accounts. Their interests are in keeping their businesses going, not in helping individuals get around government controls. So if your cryptocurrency is on one of these exchanges then yes, you can easily be banned from using it. If your bank accounts are suspended then you will also be unable to convert your fiat currency to cryptocurrency.

Therefore it is important to have some cryptocurrency in advance. If it is simply an investment, then keep it on the exchange, but if it is a backup in case the government comes after you, then you should have it on a digital or paper wallet. A separate article will discuss what this is and how to do it. Also bear in mind that not many places currently accept cryptocurrency so you cannot take it to the grocery store. Having bitcoin is going to be the best cryptocurrency to avoid government controls because it is the most widely accepted.

Bitcoin has a problem with transparency though. The government may not be able to stop you from using it in the way described above but they can probably see what you are doing with it and this may still give them cause to come and arrest you. I'm not advocating anything illegal here, but it is hard to predict in advance what might be illegal in 5 or 10 years' time, such as entering a shop without a facemask or donating to your favourite political party.

The most well-known and widely used privacy-respecting cryptocurrency is called Monero (XMR). If you have Monero the same rules apply, don't keep it on an exchange, but keep some on a digital or paper wallet in case you need it. When you make transactions with Monero, then no one can see who made the transaction or what the transaction was for.

As I bring this article to a close I'll make a final comment on how cryptocurrency can be used but I'll write another article with more of a walkthrough. Making a cryptocurrency transaction is as simple as entering the destination address. The address can be quite complicated so it is usually done using a QR code and an app on your phone. The app is a so-called digital wallet, you first load the crypto from the paper wallet to the digital wallet and using the digital wallet scan the QR code of the recipient and type in the amount to send. This can be done between two individuals face to face, or at an online store, or a physical store if they accept cyrpto.

In summary, as of 2022 it looks like a mixture of physical cash, gold and silver in a variety of denominations, and bitcoin and monero on paper wallets is going to be the way to go to ensure you're not stuck without a means to trade. Even when a future one-world-government seeks to stop Christians from buying or selling.

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