Most legal jurisdictions don’t consider Bitcoin to be ‘money’ or ‘currency’ in the same way they do government-created fiat currencies. But what about Jewish religious law, with thousands of extra years’ experience on the topic?
Also read: US Slowly Going Cash-Free, But Where’s the Bitcoin?
Is Bitcoin Money According to Jewish Law?
This is important as religious law may transcend the pragmatic definitions of “money” nation-states must follow in order to suit domestic commercial and taxation practices.
Information site Chabad.org, which represents the Orthodox Jewish and Hasidic organization Chabad, approached the question this week with its article “Does Judaism Consider Bitcoins to Be Money?”
The article points out that whether something is considered legal “currency” by a sovereign government has little bearing on whether Jewish law considers it money or not. It focuses mainly on Jewish usury laws pertaining to loans and interest, since legal definitions may impact how traditional law approaches bitcoin lending in these situations. Specifically:
According to Jewish law, currency is defined as something that the sovereign government declared is the legal tender of the country andor is the generally accepted currency used in that locale for transactions.
It is forbidden for one Jew to borrow