Crypto, the new faith of materialism
© 2021 · Author: William Castaño-Bedoya
The song known worldwide as What Color is God’s Skin? written in 1968 by Tom Wilkes & David Stevenson, released by their band “Up with People”, turned into a question asked by those who do or do not obey doctrines and dogmas. Atheists use this question to show that there are no precise answers to the existence of God, just vague ones, and believers use it to assert that they are God themselves, as they lend the colors of their skin to prove so.
In the melody, before going to sleep, a child asks his father: “Tell me Daddy what color’s God’s skin?” With kindness his father answers, “What color is God’s skin?” and continues to dissuade him with infinite tenderness, “I said it’s black brown it’s yellow, It is red it is white. Ev’ry man’s the same in the good Lord’s sight.”
If Tom and David had known the effect that they created, maybe, they would have found a real axiom and posted it as the father´s answer, understanding it as a proposition so clear and evident. Imagine for a second that child was not satisfied with that answer, and had rebuked his father saying: “No Daddy, those are the colors of our skins, but tell me Daddy, what color is God’s skin?”
Recently I received a visit from a nephew, who came from Colombia to explore the United States for the first time. My nephew is a millennial, — A young man reaching his thirty’s, with the complexities of an adult, who has arguments so deep to explain everything that he is passionate about, and even of those he isn’t so fond of —. We stayed up talking one night in the living room, and after several topics and family memories, I found he is a faithful and fervent follower of the new wave of cryptocurrencies. I must confess that I had a deep admiration for the knowledge on the subject that he displayed, and for his security in defending that macro cosmos. Although, I have vast experience in technology and its role in the modern world, I´m just an observer. This topic of crypto, has stumped me. Even if I try to understand, dimension, and convert it into an axiom with enough power, it makes me seriously contemplate pawning my house and investing that money in cryptocurrency. In other words, put my money as tithe to the new invented church that does not know how to explain… What color is the Crypto’s skin?
Amid talking, I took my phone out and I searched the classic question all people ignorant of modernity usually ask, what is a cryptocurrency? It seems like my nephew had been playing ventriloquist on my phone when Google showed the following content: “It´s a digital asset that uses a cryptographic encryption to guarantee its ownership and ensure the integrity of transactions, and control the creation of additional units, that is, to prevent someone from making copies as we would, for example, with a photo. These currencies don´t exist in physical form: they are stored in a digital wallet.”
I remember that I scratched my head and saw how my nephew felt sorry for my ignorance. I could only manage to respond, before my lost path to understanding: “so, what´s the ground pole that supports crypto?” He laughed one more time looking away. I suppose that he did not want to make eye contact with me, as he moved his head, in search for an axiomatic answer. My nephew looked at me once again, this time with a lot of tenderness, like the father in the song What Color is God’s Skin? but he did not answer me ipso facto. Precursor of this new materialistic religion, he proceeded to recite Google: “Cryptocurrencies have several differentiating characteristics with respect to traditional systems: they are not regulated or controlled by any institution, and they do not require intermediaries in transactions. A decentralized database, “blockchain” or shared accounting record, is used to control these transactions”.
I understood one by one all the words, even “blockchain”, explained like a bunker where everything is guaranteed as safe and impassable, but although I tried, I didn’t find any sense of it. It is like if someone had told me that God is love and done, and that the “blockchain” is like heaven, where it is said that God lives. I stay with the same question and no answers.
I got up and I offered him a colada —Cuban expresso— that he accepted, although it was late. He would stay up playing video games and sleeping would not be a problem. When I came back with the colada, I presented a hard question, just to lighten up the mood. “So, for you, God is love?”, he answered me, “I don´t know uncle, I´m atheist”. “You don´t seem like an atheist”, I replied, “You made Crypto your God.” We cracked up with laughter.
I understood that cryptocurrencies made a new materialistic religion for its faithful and deceased. With theology and all, for its followers, it is a new image of God made Crypto, rather than God made Christ. It is a new concept that fervidly drives everyone crazy. Tithes are invested in millions and millions to new virtual churches, which sprout in the form of new applications with beautiful graphics that move up and down indicating that, with faith, the promised wealth will be achieved. In our living generation, wealth shapes the new values of the faith.