Move over, Bitcoin: There’s a new digital currency in town, and it’s taking its cues from the priests who once served in the ancient Temple in Jerusalem. BitCoen, a new online currency startup, was created by Russian entrepreneur Vyacheslav Semenchuk. Advertised as “the first kosher cryptocurrency,” BitCoen boasts “all the advantages of the digital world” combined with “the values and customs of the ancient foundations in the framework of Jewish law.” The Jewish law they’re referencing is the practice of giving ten percent of your income to tzedakah. To this effect, BitCoen will give the Jewish community a tenth of its earnings in the form of the coins, according to the Russian publication CNews. The company will also give tzedakah by giving members of the system interest-free loans.
True to its Jewish roots, the company will be seen by a Sanhedrin of sorts, with Semenchuk calls “The Council of Six.” And while he’s not revealing who these mysterious people are, the company has shared that they’ll each represent a different economic area: business, politics, finance, technology, public work, and culture. BitCoen advertises this on their website with a circle of icons for each sector, connected by—what else—a Jewish star.
Judging by the local Jewish community’s response, BitCoen has a bright future. “We expect that the cryptocurrency will cover all Jewish communities around the world,” Mikhail Lidogaster, Press Secretary of the Chief Rabbi of Russia, told Russian publication Inc. “The main guarantor of stability here is the fact that the keys to managing the cryptocurrency will be in the hands of the most respected members of the community, and not in the hands of some programmers.”
Sophie Aroesty is an editorial intern at Tablet.