Followers of mono theistic religions are often decried as religious. The fact that there is a religious concealment behind seemingly profane things is suspected by the least. Religious references, in particular, are often deeply constructive and meaningful. So also at Bitcoin.

Following the Black Friday of 1929, the 15th of September 2008 was also a black day in the economic history. With the bankruptcy of the Lehman Brothers investment Bank, the financial crisis reached its climax – thousands of employees had to vacate their jobs from one day to the next. Many other financial institutions, just like numerous insurance companies, had to be rescued by their states. The interbank, the business activity of the banks among themselves, came to a standstill.

The real economic recession set in. One year after the collapse of Lehman Brothers, Commerzbank did what was actually impossible: it estimated the cost of the global financial and economic crisis. Result: 10.5 trillion dollars. The shock was deep, the global political despair was palpable everywhere. Even more so than the States touted as hopefuls with their bailouts plunged into financial misery. The longing for a messiah was great.

October 31, 2008. Just over a month after crisis peaks, a few hundred members of an obscure email list of cryptographic experts reached the message of a certain Satoshi Nakamoto. «For some time now I have been working on an electronic payment system that is completely peer-to-peer and does not require a trustworthy third party», writes the unknown Nakamoto. In his e-mail you can find a link to a white paper that has been uploaded to a website that was registered two months ago. The nine-page script describes a payment system called Bitcoin.

The addressed cryptography freaks and computer scientists, the idea of a Kryptowährung was by no means new. Already in the 1990s there were such approaches, but they were all failed. Little surprise, then, that Bitcoin also encountered little euphoria. Why should this system be fundamentally better than the others?

Divinely planned timing

Satoshi Nakamoto must have been aware of this – which is why he was waiting for some specific special features: Bitcoin, the unknown scribe, based on a blockchain, a database scattered over innumerable computers. This prevents transactions from being executed twice. He added his ultimate selling point: the technology was completely decentralized – without a central server or authority controlling the system. Instead, it has incentives to ensure that the blockchain is maintained by its users.

Within the scene, pretty much everyone was familiar with everyone, as a lively online exchange was maintained. But no one has ever heard of Satoshi Nakamoto. From nowhere, this Nakamoto emerged one day and announced greatness. None of the cryptographic enthusiasts who had been written knew who was hiding behind this pseudonym. Nakamoto used at least three e-mail addresses, but these were so elaborately encrypted that the identification of the behind person was in fact impossible. Even today, the true identity of Nakamotos is not clearly clarified.

His sudden appearance could hardly have given the ominous figure a better time in the face of the 2008 financial crisis. Money governs the world, but who governs the money? It was one of those questions that came to the fore again in the wake of events. Nakamotos answer in his white paper: the Central and commercial banks of this world. They are these centralized hoards of power that decide on the life and partly survival of the people. At the height of the financial crisis, therefore, that our defenceless surrendered his once more relentlessly, Satoshi Nakamoto, with his salvation, entered the virtual stage: Bitcoin should liberate the world and its people from the clutches of centralization.

Since human memory, societies are based on trust. In order to be able to guarantee confidence from a certain size of society, people were always reliant on centrally organized authority. With the unfortunate consequence that it was always the independent Central unit, which often exploited the trust.

What was probably not really aware of any of the programmers involved at the beginning of the bitcoin was to be taken for granted a few years later. For Bitcoin followers, Bitcoin is not only an alternative payment system, but, in a way, the salvation of centuries of tyranny is centralized. Just as Christianity sees man as slaves of sin by nature, followers of bitcoin recognize a slave centralized power structures in humans. For one, salvation lies in the grace of God, for others in decentralization.

Mysterious Creation

Not only the time has been chosen by Satoshi Nakamoto, even the staging appears to be perfect. That no one knows who is behind the alias, makes things mysterious and little tangible. This gives bitcoin its own creation myth. This secrecy would hardly have worked so well if it did not reflect bitcoins key concerns – anonymity and decentrality. The fact that even the founder is unknown and does not have a central position of power underlines the integrity and value promise of the virtual currency.

Few have ever communicated with Satoshi Nakamoto via the internet «Personal», just as only a few prophets had direct wire to their god. On December 12, 2010, Satoshi Nakamoto sent his last message to the community with which he had been in contact since the beginning. He went without a farewell message without a final glorious final speech. Nakamoto just stopped writing.

However, his retreat was only for the broad community, a small group of core programming, Nakamoto continued to rally around. Similar to how Jesus taught his chosen disciples, Nakamoto informed his core developer about the further development steps of the Bitcoin. In April 2011, however, he also sent a final message to his disciples. As mysterious as Nakamoto appeared on stage, he disappeared again three years later.

For Bitcoin followers, Satoshi Nakamoto is not only the hermit computer whiz behind Bitcoin, but the personification of a higher power that has withdrawn from its active role and still lives as God-like figure in our minds. In the beginning God created heaven and earth», stands in Genesis. And Nakamoto created at the beginning the first block of bitcoins, the Genesis block. The parallels to the history of creation of the Bible cannot be overlooked.

Make the World to disciple

Meanwhile the Bitcoin community has grown strongly, with regard to symbolism, it does not follow religious faith communities in anything. The Christians have their cross, the Muslims the Crescent, the Bitcoin disciples the token. Even music is composed in honor of the Bitcoin. They are – not surprisingly – praising songs. The official Bitcoin song “Ode to Satoshi” describes how Bitcoin will govern the world. «10 000 Bitcoins» by Laura Saggers in turn is reminiscent of «or music tracks of Christian worship songs are modelled on: 10 000 bitcoins is called the piece by Laura Saggers and reminds us strongly of the 10 000 reasons (Bless the Lord) “by Matt Redman.

Of course, a “Father our”, changed to Bitcoin and its founder, cannot be missed. In it, for example, it says: «And do not lead us into Altcoins (other crypto), but deliver us from ripple (a blockchain for the established banking system). These religious songs and prayers show that Bitcoin is not just a means of payment, but also a religion. No one writes songs and prayers via Visa or MasterCard.

The work of the core developer is due to the fact that it has come so far. It was this handful of programmers who converted other programmers and entrepreneurs and investors who, in turn, spread the good news. Religious connotations are also clearly visible here: within the community, one often speaks of the Bitcoin evangelists, who are to convert infidels. These new disciples will be won by numerous Bitcoin meetups, which, as should be otherwise, are often held in places that have been baptized by Satoshi Square. According to the signs, some interested visitors would have an enlightening faith experience after the truth of Bitcoin was preached.

The narrow gate and the small path

Bitcoin has especially captivated those who have eagerly anticipated the moment of redemption. Even in the years before the birth of Christ, the oppressed Jews hoped to be liberated from the Roman occupying powers. With the birth of Jesus, many believed in the turn. The greater was the disappointment when the Messiah did not clean up with the existing structures of domination.

Similarly sobering, the bitcoin community could also be forthcoming, because in the meantime central and commercial banks as well as other large companies have blockchained in the big way. It seems realistic that the technology behind Bitcoin is enriched in many areas – but probably through the big players it is directed to the desired tracks. The fact that the blockchain, however, makes all centralized institutions obsolete, seems to be excluded at least in the near term.

Even within the Bitcoin community there are bickering who remember the religious divisions of Christianity. Bitcoin XT, Bitcoin Classic and Bitcoin unlimited are only the most significant of these forks, as the alternative programs are called in the technical language. They are all derived from Bitcoin core, the original version of Bitcoin. If all have the same Bitcoin protocol as the foundation, they differ in the view of the actual nature and programming. Of course, everyone claims to have a proper interpretation of Nakamotos words that he has set out in his white paper, for many a kind of Bible.

Will bitcoin ever become mainstream? It is not to be assumed. Too strong is the headwind of that other religion whose God is the centrally organized paper money currency. This can be seen as a failure – but maybe it must be the same. Because because of the numerous religious traits that nurture a creative idealism, Bitcoin has the stuff to be a sense and an alternative for its believers, even outside the system.

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