Bishop Hilarion, a top Russian Orthodox cleric, has criticized cryptocurrency as a financial bubble and a tool for usury in an interview with Russia 24 channel, according to rt.com. Hilarion, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s department of external church relations, said cryptocurrency is a new Ponzi scheme supported by nothing.
Hilarion said that rather than being a new phenomenon, cryptocurrency is an extension of centuries’ old financial practices. He said it is an innovation representative of the entire banking system in which real assets are converted into virtual assets.
“I personally think that cryptocurrency is a new financial bubble, a new Ponzi scheme, behind which there is nothing.”
Such a system paves the way for usury, which the church has always opposed but can do nothing about since everyone has to keep their money in banks, the Oxford-educated cleric noted.
Since the U.S. abandoned the gold standard, the dollar operates on collective trust rather than on collateral, he said. He said the dollar, like cryptocurrencies, is not centralized, and many are in use outside of U.S. jurisdiction.
Today there are more dollars worldwide than gold reserves could guarantee, the cleric said. He compared the dollar to cryptocurrency since no one knows how it is controlled, how its value changes and how many are in circulation.
Hilarion said cryptocurrency must be examined from a moral aspect, and that the church at some future time will have to voice its opinion on cryptocurrency.
He said he has not been asked to bless anyone’s cryptocurrency mining operation and declined to say if he would agree to such a request.
Not all Christian clergy agree with Hilarion.
The Christian-oriented media Church Law & Tax recently addressed the debate following the publication of an article welcoming the decision of the American charity United Way Worldwide to accept bitcoin for its Innovation Fund.
The article in Christianity Today reported an online guide explaining how churches can accept bitcoin.
By accepting bitcoin payments, churches can make it easy for those that want to give anonymously, the article noted.
One parishioner convinced the vicar of St Martin’s Church in Kentish Town in the United Kingdom to accept bitcoin.
Featured image from Kremlin.