Among his blessings, Emmanuel Ogunjumo counts those who took the risk of sharing the gospel with him.
“I became a Christian in a Muslim nation,” he said. “What if someone did not say yes to coming to that Muslim nation or, if they had said yes, they didn’t have the money to come?”
Ogunjumo’s resulting empathy for the world’s spiritually and financially impoverished has inspired the creation of Christ Coin, which bills itself as the world’s first Christian cryptocurrency.
Generally, cryptocurrencies are digital currencies that operate independently of a bank or government control. Individuals or businesses may transfer funds using encryption techniques to guarantee security. Value is set, not by a central bank, but by market supply and demand, much like the value of silver or gold.
Well-known digital currencies include Bitcoin and Ethereum. The value of Bitcoin is soaring; on Nov. 2 it reached a record high of more than $7,000, signalling the growing acceptance of cryptocurrencies as financial vehicles.
“This is bitcoin crossing the divide from the wild west of finance to the mainstream,” Charles Hayter, CEO of cryptocurrency comparison website Crypto Compare, told CNBC Nov. 2.
But where other online currencies facilitate the exchange of goods, Christ Coin and its faith-based approach aims at nothing less than uniting the Church — capital C — to revive lives and hope around the world.
Participants can earn Christ Coin by viewing and sharing an array of digital Christian content hosted by the currency’s founding ministry, Life Change.
The e-currency generated by that activity can be used to tithe, finance global missions, fund church plants or to fulfill local humanitarian or personal needs, said Ogunjumo, 33, a Life Change founder and director of ministry relations.
“We understand that what we are trying to do here is absolutely huge, but all we are doing is coming alongside ministries to help them do a little bit better,” he said.
Ogunjumo spoke with Baptist News Global about the project and the vision of evangelization through the digital global marketplace.
Is Life Change affiliated with any denomination or other group?
No. It is meant to unite all churches together for the purpose of fulfilling the Great Commission and to help our brothers and sisters around the world. We launched this to be independent of any particular denomination because we want everyone to be able to benefit from Christ Coin.
What inspired the creation of a Christian cryptocurrency to achieve those goals?
It was when I learned that there were 2.5 billion unbanked people in the world — people who don’t have access to banks or they are unable to open up accounts. … These people are unable to take part in a global economy and so cannot pull themselves out of poverty. This is the idea behind a digital currency. One of the reasons we have money is to fulfill the work of Christ … on Earth — to meet spiritual needs and practical needs, as well.
When was Christ Coin launched?
We have an initial coin offering right now. We have another month of that. We call it an investment. Through this crowdfunding we then can launch platforms sooner. We are going to launch the platform regardless of the crowdfunding.
Are you aware of any other faith-based digital currencies?
There are some coins out there that have a humanitarian slant to them but nothing as extensive as what we are talking about in pushing people’s spiritual growth and meeting their physical needs. … If you just help people and don’t do it in the name of Jesus and don’t change their spiritual paradigm, it creates a cycle where you are going to have to do it time and again.
Will customers have to be Christians to use Christ Coin?
If they come to the site, the only way to earn Christ Coin is to actually engage in Christian content: reading Christian blogs and commenting on them, streaming Christian music. As they consume Christ-based content, they get to earn Christ Coin. We don’t limit anyone from doing that because it is an evangelistic tool. … We want to bring people and countries where there is no access to the Bible and provide them with a way to consume Christian content. They will benefit from that as well.
How does that work?
We are building our own Bible platform. … You read the Bible and you can earn Christ Coins. Why? Because once you do that and you start earning that Christ Coin, it can get tithed to your church or to a humanitarian ministry or if you are in a third-world country, it can be used to supplement your income.
How much can be earned through those activities?
In the U.S. initially you might be able to earn $300 or $500 a year. That may not sound exciting as an individual, but imagine if you have a church of 300 people or 75 people and they are each earning $500. Think how much more can that church do as an organization. … Churches can put content on their websites and get credit and use that for humanitarian efforts. … And think of people in third-world nations who earn less than $3 a day. Imagine how much earning an extra dollar a day can do for them. They can do so much more to help their families out of poverty.
Can Christ Coin be spent for purely personal use?
Yes, you can use it for whatever you want to do. This is a global currency. But the value is for everyone to pull together. … One of the many reasons churches fail is because of lack of funds because not everyone tithes. Seventy percent of people in the U.S. live paycheck to paycheck. They want to tithe but are unable to do it. Christ Coin can give them a way to tithe simply by consuming spiritual content and giving it to their churches. You could maybe put an extra person in the mission field. … The heart behind this is to consume spiritual data so the message of Christ can be spread around the world.
Your literature says the purpose is to revive hope, repair lives and rebuild hope. Isn’t that a little ambitious?
Jesus introduced a new idea into this world and he had to find creative ways by which it could be done. This sounds very ambitious but there is a maxim: everybody says it’s impossible until somebody does it. … It is the churches that are actually training people. All we are doing is providing a platform by which they can do it. … This is about doing the work of Christ and advancing it on a global scale. Christ Coin is just a means by which Life Change can do that.