As if the concept of bitcoin didn’t already have some of us scratching our heads, now it turns out that according to Jewish law, it’s not even kosher currency. That is, if you’re an Orthodox Jew adhering to religious law, bitcoin isn’t considered currency at all.
When the Torah, or Jewish Bible, and other Jewish texts were written thousands of years ago, they served not only as a spiritual guide, but also as a guide to everyday life, with rules and reasoning behind everything from money lending to farming, diet to marriage. So while bitcoin of course wasn’t around back when all these rules came to being, it’s no surprise Judaism nonetheless has something to say about the digital currency. Afterall, the challenge for modern-day Orthodox Judaism is figuring out how to apply old-world values to new-world ventures.
According to Jewish law, if something has value it can be considered currency. The Talmud, one of the central Jewish texts, defines currency as any legal tender accepted by the government or generally accepted by the locale where it’s used for transactions. Okay, step one out of the way.
The issue comes up, however, in regard to interest, wrote Rabbi Yehuda