Cryptocurrency: A Great Investment or Fake Money?
I have a friend who related a story of a conversation with his fourteen-year-old son over the weekend. Maybe you can relate. He reported that at 8 AM, he saw his son was lumbering out of his room before church. The unsuspecting adolescent sat on the couch to gather his wits before starting the day. Dad remembered that his son had received some money for his birthday the previous week and decided this would be as good a time as any for a helpful little chat. Pulling a $20 bill from his pocket, he showed it to the sleepy teen, saying, “You see this bill? If you put it under your pillow for one year, it is still $20.” One eye, half-open, stared at the bill. “But, if you put this bill in a savings account for one year, you will have $21,” adding a second bill to give clarity to his point. Prince Valium wasn’t in the mood for financial lectures replying, “Dad, do we have to talk about this now? I’m still waking up.” This respectful request only served to animate the earlier-caffeinated father, “You don’t have time to wake up! You’re losing money right now! Now how does $20 turn into $21? Say it with me, INTEREST!” By this time, the drowsy youth understood that the only way to make it stop was to play along, “In.. ter.. est. Ok, thanks, Dad” “No, say it one more time. INTEREST!”
I was highly amused to hear this story’s recounting later that day with both dad and son present. It reminds me of my current opinions toward cryptocurrency that I want to share with you today. If your money is sitting in a savings account, slowly gaining .25% APY, you don’t have time to waste. Your savings are about to be decimated by inflation faster than you can say “infrastructure bill”! The time to figure out what cryptocurrency is was yesterday.
One of the most striking parables in the ministry of Jesus is that of the Talents. For those familiar with scripture, you already know that there is a surprise ending in store. For those who may need a refresher, the story comes from the twenty-fifth chapter of Matthew’s Gospel. Because I believe that the Bible is God’s divinely inspired Word and can do more than I can, I want to take the time to quote the parable word-for-word:
“For [the kingdom of heaven is] like a man traveling to a far country, [who] called his own servants and delivered his goods to them. 15 “And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey. 16 “Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents. 17 “And likewise he who [had received] two gained two more also. 18 “But he who had received one went and dug in the ground, and hid his lord’s money. 19 “After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them. 20 “So he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents, saying, ‘Lord, you delivered to me five talents; look, I have gained five more talents besides them.’ 21 “His lord said to him, ‘Well [done], good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’ 22 “He also who had received two talents came and said, ‘Lord, you delivered to me two talents; look, I have gained two more talents besides them.’ 23 “His lord said to him, ‘Well [done], good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’ 24 “Then he who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25 ‘And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, [there] you have [what is] yours.’ 26 “But his lord answered and said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. 27 ‘So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest. 28 ‘Therefore take the talent from him, and give [it] to him who has ten talents. 29 ‘For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away. 30 ‘And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
It doesn’t matter how many times I read that passage; I still get surprised by the harshness of the judgment against the unprofitable servant. Please remember this not just a random story; this is a parable that, according to Jesus, describes the eternal Kingdom of God. What do we need to learn from this? God, like my early-caffeinated fatherly friend, wants the best for His children. And part of that best means maximizing potential. To fail in that is a great tragedy indeed.
Turning our attention to this episode’s title, why would a Christian Pastor and podcaster like me want to talk about the crypto markets? For those who haven’t paid attention to cryptocurrencies, here are a few points of introduction:
- Standard Cryptocurrencies like BitCoin, Ethereum, and LiteCoin are now just as trustworthy as national currencies. The blockchain system on which the coins were built is more secure than any government on earth. Take a look at PayPal’s handy guide on the topic to become more familiar.
- 2021 will go down in history as the year Crypto went mainstream, with major financial institutions jumping into the markets. Tesla invested $1.5 Billion of its cash reserves into Bitcoin earlier this year. That’s about 50,000 bitcoins as of their January price. Those same bitcoins, only three months later, have nearly doubled in value. I bet Elon’s happy. Also, Blackrock, Mastercard, Visa, Deutsche Bank, Square, and Paypal have all made moves to make cryptocurrencies mainstream in their investments.
- It’s become more accessible than ever to dip your toe in the water to get started with apps like Coinbase, Binance, Robinhood, or Paypal.
I am no financial advisor, so make sure you educate yourself before making any moves. And yes, I should give the standard warning that cryptocurrencies can make wild swings in short times, so it is not a replacement for traditional investments. But in the time it has taken me to write this podcast, my cryptocurrencies have gained another $25 in value. Now is the time to get started! Hint: you can use this link to get an extra $10 in Bitcoin when you buy at least $100 of any cryptocurrency. (Full disclosure, I would also get $10 in Bitcoin if you did that.) I genuinely wish somebody would’ve got me started earlier than I did.
Don’t let the fear of the unknown stop you from obeying the commandment of the Lord. Yes, it’s confusing at first, and yes, it takes work and effort to learn something new and unfamiliar. But it is worth your time and investment to at least know about it. You won’t hurt my feelings if you look at it carefully and decide it isn’t for you. But what price are you paying for your ignorance?
We need to be living without regrets. Sometimes to see the most significant rewards, we need to be willing to risk.
Thanks for listening!