There has been an increased amount of excitement in the past year when it comes to Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. Much of that was based on the gains people have made in a short amount of time, yet most people don’t really know what Bitcoin is or what relevance it may actually have in the future. There have also been governmental attacks on Bitcoin in some countries, and biblical “scholars” have suggested that Bitcoin is the “mark of the beast.”
To begin with, what are Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies? An article written in February 2018 from cnet titled, “What is Bitcoin? Here’s everything you need to know,” states the following:
“Bitcoin was invented in 2009 by a person (or group) who called himself Satoshi Nakamoto. His stated goal was to create ‘a new electronic cash system’ that was ‘completely decentralized with no server or central authority.’
“Bitcoin is a digital currency. No bills to print or coins to mint. It’s decentralized — there’s no government, institution (like a bank) or other authority that controls it. Owners are anonymous; instead of using names, tax IDs, or social security numbers, bitcoin connects buyers and sellers through encryption keys. And it isn’t issued from the top down like traditional currency; rather, bitcoin is ‘mined’ by powerful computers connected to the internet.
“A person (or group, or company) mines bitcoin by doing a combination of advanced math and record-keeping. When someone sends a bitcoin to someone else, the network records that transaction, and all of the others made over a certain period of time, in a ‘block.’ Computers running special software — the ‘miners’ — inscribe these transactions in a gigantic digital ledger. These blocks are known, collectively, as the ‘blockchain’ — an eternal, openly accessible record of all the transactions that have ever been made.
“Using specialized software and increasingly powerful (and energy-intensive) hardware, miners convert these blocks into sequences of code, known as a ‘hash.’ Producing a hash requires serious computational power, and thousands of miners compete simultaneously to do it. When a new hash is generated, it’s placed at the end of the blockchain, which is then publicly updated and propagated. For his or her trouble, the miner currently gets 12.5 bitcoins — which, in February 2018, is worth roughly $100,000. However, the amount of awarded bitcoins decreases over time.
“Ultimately, the value of a bitcoin is determined by what people will pay for it. In this way, there’s a similarity to how stocks are priced. The protocol established by [the creator] Satoshi Nakamoto dictates that only 21 million bitcoins can ever be mined — about 12 million have been mined so far — so there is a limited supply, like with gold and other precious metals, but no real intrinsic value. This makes bitcoin different from stocks, which usually have some relationship to a company’s actual or potential earnings. Without a government or central authority at the helm, controlling supply, ‘value’ is totally open to interpretation. This process of ‘price discovery,’ the primary driver of volatility in bitcoin’s price, also invites speculation and manipulation.”
There are currently more than a thousand other cryptocurrencies in existence today. Aside from Bitcoin, which is the real progenitor of them all, other well-known alternative currencies include Ethereum, Ripple and Litecoin.
Many have stated that Bitcoin is in a bubble and that it will collapse, but Bitcoin is still holding strong, hovering at around $9,000.00 as of April 2018, which is still a sizable increase since last April when Bitcoin was only at around $1,300.00. Bitcoin is even a hit in countries where they face currency troubles, including Sudan, Kenya, South Africa and Brazil.
In a January 2018 article by The Wall Street Journal, they state that “Bitcoin has been a means of navigating financial obstacles, like the lack of conventional banking services or limited access to foreign currencies, and even to skirt sanctions… The main attraction in bitcoin is the ability to transfer money without any restrictions or going through a bank. ‘This was very important as there were U.S. sanctions imposed on Sudan,’ said a web developer who was one of the earliest bitcoin enthusiasts in Sudan.”
The article goes on to say that “In the developed world, central banks and senior bankers have warned investors away from such currencies, which they say they don’t trust. In frontier markets, some people are turning to Bitcoin precisely because they don’t trust the country’s bankers or the state. Buying cryptocurrencies is seen as a protection by people who have been constantly disappointed by central banks and politics… When conventional money fails, Bitcoin wins.”
The article continues, “Bitcoin, a digital form of money with no government or central bank behind it, is often seen as a replacement currency in countries rocked by political or economic instability. People can use Bitcoin, and similar digital currencies, as a store of value or as a way to circumvent government money-changing limits.”
Some have wondered and contemplated the following questions: If more and more countries get involved and ultimately the whole world, could Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies be the future of where money is headed, especially in light of all the technological advancements we see today? Is the world leaning towards a cashless society since many use debit and credit cards for their financial transactions rather than cash?
A recent YouTube video about Bitcoin and its future claims that the current financial system is based upon debt since most nations of the world have a central bank which prints their nation’s currency and loans it to the nations. The video goes on to say that ever since the great recessions of 2007 and 2008, the main central banks of the world have been engaging in something called “quantitative easing,” which involves printing a large amount of currency which drastically increases the money supply. When it comes to supply and demand, the more you increase the supply of something while demand remains consistent, the value of that supply gets reduced. This is how the financial system has been propped up, creating massive bubbles which will eventually pop. When it does, the current global financial system will implode and those in power will look for a new answer. The video suggests that this answer is Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies which will be the global currency replacing the current global financial system.
We do not imply or suggest that we believe that we will see a cashless worldwide society in the future. For instance, recent attempts in Germany to diminish or even eradicate bills and coins were strongly rebuked and rejected by the overwhelming majority of Germans who like their coins and bills too much and are unwilling to give them up. We also strongly believe and have declared that the Euro will not fail and that it will be maintained by the prophesied ten European core nations or groups of nations, as the Euro will be the glue which will keep them together.
On the other hand, it is noteworthy that financial institutions around the world perceive Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as a major threat to their existence and survival and have become anxious to advocate or “warn” against them—sometimes with mean, deceptive and fabricated arguments such as the concept that cryptocurrencies are being used for illegal and criminal activities such as money laundering or even child pornography. These “charges” are totally untrue in the vast majority of cases. With that same rationale, one could say that much of the money, deposited in big financial institutions, is being used for or has been gained by criminal activities, and such a statement might even be much closer to the Truth. At the same time, some governments are anxious to forbid or severely restrict cryptocurrencies in their countries, being afraid that they could be a threat to their big banking institutions, while other governments are anxious to get a piece of the pie by trying to tax severely those who are investing in cryptocurrencies.
Such inconsistent and hypocritical conduct and approach should not surprise us in a world which is ruled by Satan the Devil. In addition, as alluded to at the beginning of this article, uninformed and ignorant biblical scholars, ministers and religious “experts,” especially in traditional “Christianity,” have been deceived to suggest that cryptocurrencies may constitute the “mark of the beast.” But could this possibly be the case?
The above-mentioned video refers to Revelation 13:16-17 which says, “He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.” The video makes reference to the popular concept that the mark is an actual microchip inserted into people’s hands which provides many different benefits such as tracking, storing health records, financial information, which can serve as identification so there is no need for wallets and ID cards and which gives you access to doors without a physical key. The video concludes by saying that Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies will be part of the implementation of the mark of the beast, though it will never be labeled as such.
But is this what the Bible is referring to when talking about the mark of the beast? Satan knows what the mark of the beast is, and so he will try to deceive gullible people to focus on something else… such as a microchip or Bitcoin. The Truth is, however, that the mark of the beast is something altogether different.
First of all, Revelation 13 describes two “beasts” which are symbolic descriptions of powerful political and religious world empires. The first beast is described in Revelation 13:1-10 where John sees in a vision a beast rising out of the sea which has seven heads and ten horns, and on his head ten crowns. This is very similar to the description of Satan in Revelation 12:9 where he is identified as a dragon, showing that Satan is giving his power to the beast (compare Revelation 13:2, 4). For more information on what this beast is actually all about, please see our Q&A.
The second beast is described in Revelation 13:11-18 where John sees a beast with two horns coming up out of the earth. It looked like a lamb but spoke like a dragon. Quoting from the same Q&A, we say that “This second beast is obviously a religious power which is influenced by Satan, while pretending to speak on behalf of Christ. We read in 2 Corinthians 11:15 that Satan’s ‘ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness.’ Jesus warned that many would come in His name, admitting that He was the Christ or Savior, and deceive many through their wrong teachings (compare Matthew 24:4-5).”
“The second beast will be able to perform ‘great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men. And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to do…’ (Revelation 13:13-14). We read in 2 Thessalonians 2:9-11 about the end-time representative or leader of this second beast power, as follows: ‘The coming of the lawless one [the man of sin or son of perdition, who will claim to be God, verses 3 and 4] is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs and lying wonders and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them [that is, He will allow it] strong delusion, that they should believe the lie…’
“We read in Revelation 13:14 that the second beast will make an ‘image’ to the first beast, which we identified as the Roman Empire. Historically, the Roman Church gradually adopted the governmental system of the Roman Empire and created for itself an ‘image’ of the same.”
We see then that the mark of the beast is inseparably tied to political and religious powers—not to cryptocurrencies which these powers try to regulate, suppress or defeat. Revelation 13:16-17 explains that the image will cause people to accept “a mark” of the first beast “on their right hand” or “on their foreheads.” Without it, they cannot buy or sell (compare Revelation 14:9). Continuing on with the Q&A we state that “This mark of the first beast is clearly associated in Scripture with the violation of God’s Sabbath commandment (compare Exodus 31:13; Ezekiel 20:20; Isaiah 56:2; Isaiah 58:13; Amos 8: 5; Exodus 16:23, 26; Exodus 31:15). In the Bible, the ‘right hand’ is associated with work (Psalm 90:17; 137:5). The ‘forehead’ is the seat of thoughts (Ezekiel 3:8; 9:4; Revelation 7:3). We are told that the ‘little horn’ would try to ‘change times and law’ (Daniel 7: 25)—that is, God’s law regarding holy time. The Roman Church has changed the calendar in Europe which identifies Sunday as the last day of the week, rather than the 7th-Day Saturday-Sabbath. It commands that Christians are to rest on Sunday, and it did command in the past that they were to work on Saturday. We will experience something similar very soon. The ‘image’ will influence the first beast–the final European revival of the ancient Roman Empire–to enjoin people to work on the Sabbath, while prohibiting to work on Sunday. As in the past, it will thereby ‘cause’ the death of true Christians (compare Revelation 13:15).
“God warns us not to worship the beast and his image, and not to receive his mark on our forehead and on our hand (Revelation 14:9). If we do, we will ‘drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation’ (Revelation 14:10). On the other hand, true Christians WILL be killed for their refusal to worship the beast and its image, and to receive the mark. But notice how Revelation 20:4, 6 describes their glorious future: ‘… I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshipped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads and on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years… Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection… they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.’”
When referring to the number of the beast, Revelation 18 states that this is the “number of man” which is the number “666.” We are told that we are to “calculate the number of the beast” with “understanding.” Continuing on in the Q&A, “In the Greek, every letter has a numerical value. The numerical value for ‘Lateinos’ is 666. Therefore, the first beast is again clearly identified as the Roman Empire, as the number 666 identifies the founder of the Roman Empire–Lateinos. Although the designation ‘beast’ in Revelation 13 describes the Roman Empire, it can also refer to the representative or ruler of the final revival or resurrection of that Empire (compare Revelation 16:13; 19:20). It is likely that the numerical value of the name of that human leader–referred to as a MAN (compare again Revelation 13:18)–will also be 666.”
The mark of the beast has been in existence for a long time and even though it will reach its climax in the days ahead, it cannot possibly be a reference to microchips or Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies as these did not even exist in times past. For more information, please read our free booklets, “Europe in Prophecy” and “The Ten European Revivals of the ancient Roman Empire.”
Lead Writer: Michael Link