Cryptocurrency is referred as a religion by many people. Some have even declared Satoshi Nakamoto as its prophet. Many billboards marketing crypto solutions use slogans that resemble the Jesus slogans used by many religious organizations. There is also a dietary restriction list for bitcoin.
The Dirty Secret of the Religion
Religious studies do not make a common definition of this term. Traditions like Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and others exist. They have many common things but the concept of declaring them as religion is a new construct. The idea of religion that covers morality, cultural ideas, practices and afterlife came up around 16th century in Europe. Before this, Europeans had only three categories of people: Christians, heathens and Jews. The long wars between Protestants and Catholics during Protestant Reformulation were declared as religion wars. It was used as a way to differentiate between Christians. Europeans during this time came across other cultures through colonialism and exploration. The traditions they saw at new places looked similar to Christianity and so those traditions were also considered religions.
No Religion Word in Other Cultures
It is interesting that historically a word equivalent to “religion” cannot be found in non-European languages. The definition of religion kept changing over the centuries. Now it is mainly the political interests that determine what constitutes a religion.
Bitcoin As a Religion
Many financial analysts make this claim to warn investors about the risks of bitcoin. They have declared it a religion and not the investment option. However, religion can be an investment system as well as a political or any other system. Religion has always invited criticism as being away from common sense, reason and logic. Those who call bitcoin a religion make its investors look fanatics who are not taking rational financial decisions.
The religion has been defined in various ways by theologians, legal purists and sociologists. Bitcoin has become highly attractive for a group of people and their devotion to it makes it look like a religion.