Olaf Carlson-Wee has been living on Bitcoin for the past three years. When he started working at Coinbase, a company for trading Bitcoin, he chose to get paid in Bitcoin instead of dollars. Since then, he has mostly used the digital currency to buy things he needs.
Bitcoin is a type of internet money, different from our typical paper and coin currency in that is not physical – you can’t touch or see it. Also, it is not regulated by a government, like other types of money. Bitcoin was started in 2009, and in that time went from what seemed to be an experiment waiting to fail to now being recognized and used by businesses.
Why did Carlson-Wee decide to receive Bitcoin instead of dollars? Two reasons, he said, first – speculation, he expected Bitcoin value to go up, which would translate into more wealth with time, and second, ideology. Since money that is controlled by government and banks can fluctuate – go up and down in value, the people who have this money are often frustrated by these changes outside of their control. Currency that is not made or regulated by a government, or traded by banks would therefore not be affected by those groups in power. So in turn, Carlson-Wee’s Bitcoin money cannot go up or down in value because of the decisions of the federal government.
Because Carlson-Wee receives his payments in Bitcoin, and most of the world operates on dollars, he has to think of ways to get what he needs with Bitcoin. For example, he sometimes pays a friend in Bitcoins, and the friend will pay for him in dollars, if Bitcoin is not accepted where he would like to use them. For Carlson-Wee, using Bitcoin became a lifestyle, where his normal activities reflect his faith and dedication to the new currency. They have become the way of storing wealth, and the measure of value by which he measures other things.
As Christians, we are called to use a currency different then this world. A type of treasure you can’t see, count with your hands or keep in a bank account. It is a kind of wealth that isn’t dependent on regulations or markets for its value. It is an investment that will certainly grow and pay off. Considering how stable and reliable it is, it would be wise to invest.
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21
Your treasure will come to dictate the flow of your life, so chose wisely. For Carlson-Wee, his worldly choice of currency became a lifestyle, a serious commitment, Bitcoin has become the measure of value of all other things. What will your currency be?