2023 Abstracts Stage 2

The Commandments of Satoshi: Establishing the Religiousity of Bitcoin

Liam Horne, 2023, Stage 2

The brainchild of an anonymous entity shrouded in mystery; Bitcoin grew from being a revolutionary technological breakthrough to a radically transformative moment. The creator, Satoshi Nakamoto, envisioned a world where trust in banks or governments was no longer necessary. Instead, Bitcoin offered a glimpse of hope, an opportunity to unshackle the financial system from government mandate and towards a currency run by it’s holders. Bitcoin’s code and complimentary philosophy has reached every corner of the earth, inspiring tens of millions to unite in the belief that change is essential.

Both Bitcoin enthusiasts and skeptics have likened the movement to a religious phenomenon. This essay is explorative and aims to examine the core philosophy and beliefs of the individuals and communities within this movement by applying various interpretations of religion to the Bitcoin phenomenon. Firstly, an introduction to and exposition of Bitcoin will help to pinpoint reoccurring symbols, practices and feelings that will later be compared to the following theories of religion, in turn. To explore the impact the movement has had on individuals I will be applying William James’ conception of religion, which emphasizes subjective experience. Furthermore, Emile Durkheim’s theory of religion, which focuses on collective practices and shared beliefs will be utilized to assess the ideals and customs of the Bitcoin community. After these theories are outlined and utilized, the fourth part of this essay will summarize the philosophical significance of the beliefs and practices surrounding Bitcoin.

Leave a Reply