South Mississippi church one of first to accept cryptocurrency as a giving method

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ST. MARTIN, Miss. (WLOX) – Smartphones have easily become the most important item for people, containing everything from cherished photos to their credit cards.

With technology now being used in place of people’s wallets, there has been a steady increase in places who accept payments directly from phones. That includes cryptocurrency, which is also stored in a digital wallet.

While online giving has been an option at many churches, one South Mississippi church is taking its giving method a step farther into the future and allowing parishioners to give offering or pay tithes using cryptocurrency.

Cash is something that is rarely seen in many churches anymore, with most opting for the ease of donating online.

At Back Bay Baptist Church in St. Martin, the pandemic changed the way the church previously collected offering.

“We stopped passing around an offering basket when COVID hit,” said Back Bay Baptist’s Pastor Adam Bennett. “We actually have a little basket in the back of the room.”

Now, the church has upped its tech game even further. On Sept. 26, Back Bay Baptist launched its cryptocurrency giving method.

“This is different,” said Bennett. “This is cryptocurrency. Cryptocurrency is a new technology called the blockchain and it’s a network. Basically, in order to use this network, you have to have crypto assets or cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Theorem, Litecoin. And so, with these assets, you can use the network.”

According to the Baptist Press, Back Bay is the first Southern baptist church to offer cryptocurrency.

The St. Martin church has everything set up for digital donations. Members only have to determine the amount they would like to give or invest.

“You can give as much or as little as you want,” said Bennett. “Cryptocurrencies can actually be divided down to the 16 digit. So, people can choose how much they want to give. You can give as little as $10 worth of what’s called Litecoin if you want to, or you can give $10 worth of Ethereum or you can give $100,000 worth of Ethereum.”

Bennett explained the method to the Baptist Press, saying it can be viewed not in terms of straight dollars but as a transfer of value similar to the way one would view stocks.

“In order to play the video game, you have to exchange your U.S. dollars to their personal tokens,” said Bennett. “You can’t use their video games unless you buy their tokens, it’s kind of like that.”

Another comparison he makes is to liken it to an arcade, where a specified amount of money is exchanged for a token that can be used in that particular setting.

The church takes seven different assets: Bitcoin, Ethereum, USD coin, Dogecoin, Litecoin, Die, and Bitcoin cash.

The church still accepts other forms of payment but Bennett says he sees cryptocurrency being the future of currency transactions.

“Adopting these technologies early on, I realize this is not a common thing. But I’m of the opinion that in 20 or 30 years, cryptocurrency is going to be a way of life and using the blockchain technology. Hopefully, our church will be leading the way.”

Since this is something new, very few members have donated so far using cryptocurrency. The currency the church has received so far is being held in a special account to see if it goes up or down in value.

In his interview with the Baptist Press, Pastor Bennett went into more detail about the cryptocurrency exchange at the church, including the skepticism he knows exists with it.

“It’s not normal [in churches] today, but can be in the future as more people become interested in cryptocurrency,” Bennett explained.

At the end of the day, digital money is still money that can help towards the church’s mission, said the pastor.

“Our church started because there was some interest. It was more of curiosity,” Bennett told the Baptist Press. “But it is an asset. So if someone wanted to donate to our church like they would with a parcel of land, they can. Then we can sell it and use that money for the mission of God.”

To read the full interview from the Baptist Press, click here.

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