Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

The Jury Is Still Out

Written by: on November 9, 2022

As a college student studying social work and psychology, I was required to take two economics classes as part of my core classwork. I am pretty sure that in another life, I would have gone on to study business and economics in pursuit of a life of entrepreneurship. Well, maybe that, or I would have pursued my other dream of owning and working on a ranch😊. Since first buying this book months ago in preparation for our fall class, I have been eager to read The Bitcoin Standard as I have a genuine interest in economics, and I knew virtually nothing of bitcoins before this book.

Saifedean Ammous, the author of this book, is a brilliant man with extensive knowledge of cryptocurrency. Born in Palestine, Ammous currently lives in Lebanon, serving as the Assistant Professor of Economics at the Lebanese American University. The book is divided into three parts. Part one provides an overview of money; part two, a historical framework for the use of money; and finally, part three explains bitcoin and how it works. Michael Saylor, who served as the CEO of MicroStrategy, which specializes in business intelligence and cloud-based services, wrote in the forward: “As I write these words, 99% of our assets are stored in bitcoin, with the remaining 1% in our local currencies required to do business in various markets.”[1] I had never heard of Saylor, but after a quick Google search, it was easy to see that he has been wildly successful in his work endeavors. As of August 2, 2022, Saylor’s net worth was $500 million![2] Saylor saw an opportunity with bitcoin such that he was willing to risk 99% of the company’s assets in cryptocurrency.

Allow me to provide a brief synopsis of the book and bitcoin. Bitcoin was created by an anonymous computer programmer and rolled out on October 31, 2008, with an email that said, “new electronic cash system that’s fully peer-to-peer, with no trusted third party.”[3] In the beginning, 5,050 bitcoins sold for $5.02. As of today, the value of one bitcoin is $20,583![4] More or less, bitcoin is a digital currency that can be purchased, sold, or exchanged like any other currency.

In providing an overview of the concept of money, Ammous highlights two keywords, market demand – “demand for consuming or holding the good for its own sake” – and monetary demand – “demand for a good as a medium of exchange and store of value.”[5] He provides a robust argument that the clear winner throughout the ages has been gold, “which maintains its monetary role due to unique physical characteristics that differentiate it from other commodities: first, gold is so chemically stable that it is virtually impossible to destroy, and second, gold is impossible to synthesize from other materials.”[6] Ammous has some serious difficulties with government-provided and controlled money in that by increasing the supply of money, in all actuality, they are decreasing the value of that currency. Later, Ammous provides two more key definitions: sound money – meaning that there is an enforced measure of trustworthiness and accountability with the government – and unsound money – more or less, fake money with no sound financial backing.[7] Near the end of the book, Ammous makes a case that the “new gold” is bitcoin as it “represents a new technological solution to the money problems, born out of the digital age… [and] attempts at producing digital money to deliver something which was almost unimaginable before it was invented.”[8] Much like gold is limited and impossible to reproduce, bitcoin is also limited in that the supply is capped out at 21,000,000 coins that can, in turn, be divisible into 100,000,000 satoshis. Also, bitcoin is antifragile in that any attempt to hack the system has failed and only served to strengthen its security.[9]

So why read this book as we study leadership? I have a few thoughts:

  • Leadership requires an ability to lead through challenging times. Since the beginning of time, commodities have been essential for the human race. When commodities were abundant, societies flourished. When they were limited, societies struggled and even died out.
  • Leaders are forward thinkers who have an instinctual ability to foresee potential outcomes in the future and act upon them before anyone else can or does. Could it be that bitcoin is one of those potential opportunities to be cashed in?
  • Leaders are risk-takers, but calculated risk-takers. They have assessed that the potential benefits outweigh the costs. Time will tell, but it seems that Saylor has done well for himself by taking a risk on bitcoins.
  • Another avenue of sound money, like gold, is that it stands the test of time. Stable economies are necessary for the flourishing of a people.
  • Antifragility is key, as leaders with dopaminergic drive risk boldly to reach new heights, further demonstrating an ability to differentiate from the chaos to lead people and future generations in the way of flourishing.

Newsflash. This was the headline on the morning of November 8, 2022. I suppose bitcoin isn’t as secure as they thought!

The US seized $3.36 billion in bitcoin stolen from an internet black market. The DOJ said yesterday it got the bitcoin stash when it raided the home of James Zhong, who pleaded guilty to wire fraud Friday. Zhong allegedly stole the crypto back in 2013.[1]

Finally, my personal takeaway: buy gold, but the jury is still out about bitcoin!

[1] “Morning Brew,” Morning Brew, accessed November 8, 2022, https://www.morningbrew.com/daily.

[1] Saifedean Ammous, The Bitcoin Standard: The Decentralized Alternative to Central Banking (Hoboken, New Jersey: Wiley, 2018), xiii.

[2] Emmy Wallin, “Michael Saylor Net Worth,” Wealthy Gorilla, last modified November 4, 2022, accessed November 7, 2022, https://wealthygorilla.com/michael-saylor-net-worth/.

[3] Ammous, The Bitcoin Standard, xiv.

[4] “What Is the Value of a Bitcoin Today – Google Search,” accessed November 7, 2022, https://www.google.com/search?q=whaybis+the+value+of+a+bitcoin+today&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&hl=en-us&client=safari&safe=active.

[5] Ammous, The Bitcoin Standard, 19.

[6] Ibid., 21.

[7] Ibid., 150–151.

[8] Ibid., 168.

[9] Ibid., 230.

[10] “Morning Brew,” Morning Brew, accessed November 8, 2022, https://www.morningbrew.com/daily.

About the Author


Eric Basye

Disciple, husband, and father, committed to seeking shalom.

8 responses to “The Jury Is Still Out”

  1. mm Andy Hale says:

    Eric, I resonated with your thought, “Leaders are risk-takers, but calculated risk-takers. They have assessed that the potential benefits outweigh the costs.”

    Financially might be the one area I don’t like taking risks, personally and organizationally. After pastoring a new church start that only had an annual budget of $125,000 for 8 years, I realized I projected a “frugal” mindset into the following two organizations I served.

    How would you encourage someone like me to think about risk-taking financially in the organizations I lead?

    • mm Eric Basye says:

      Hey there Andy. Great question. I am assuming you have read Walter Brueggemann? He makes a distinction of a scarcity mindset vs an abundance mindset. This has been really helpful to me in leading CLDI, especially through COVID. We leaned in, pressed the gas even more, banking on His kingdom of abundance, trusting that if it was truly His work, He would supply it. By God’s grace, since 2020, we have invested $2.6 million (in a coffee shop that is a job training apprenticeship too and a housing for seniors in need of ADA compliance), and this week we sign the papers to begin an $8.3 million housing structure (27 units).

      That said, I think when it comes to works that are in line with a Kingdom-orientation, “we go big or go home.” He can, and does, do the impossible.

  2. mm Troy Rappold says:

    Eric: After I posted my blog yesterday, I read that currently there are 19,000 different cryptocurrencies in the world. There is no predicting which one(s) will fail and which ones will succeed. It’s such a gamble to invest in any of them right now. I didn’t know anything about Bitcoin either, so this book was a great introduction on the subject. I’m thankful Jason included it on our reading list, for the same reasons you outlined in your blog. Do you think more than one cryptocurrency will succeed in the long term? Maybe a few will succeed? It’s so interesting to watch this play out.

    • mm Eric Basye says:

      Wow, after this week in the news, I am not sure what to think!! Maybe cryptocurrency won’t last at all! Time will tell. Could be interesting. OR, the best of it will remain and further refine and improve cryptocurrency going forward. That is my best guess as to what will happen. You?

  3. mm Roy Gruber says:

    Eric, great summary and thoughts about the topic and leadership. You wrote: “Stable economies are necessary for the flourishing of a people.” That applies to non-profits like the church and organizations like CDLI as well. In a times like this, with a recession underway or on the way, what advice would you offer to leaders who anticipate lean economic times for perhaps the next few years? To ask it another way, how do churches, mission organizations, etc. flourish in a down economy?

    • mm Eric Basye says:

      Roy, see my response to Andy. Much the same question. Lead in… seek first His kingdom… live in obedience… risk boldly in faith as you rely on the Lord to perform works that will glorify His name, and bless the nations.

  4. mm Nicole Richardson says:

    Eric, thank you for your summary.

    What tension is found between dopaminergic drive of risk taking leaders and the “sound money” blockchains that may not really be sound after all?

  5. mm Denise Johnson says:

    Nice post. I love that you found a current news flash of Bitcoin being hacked. I also appreciate your reasons for someone to buy the book. I was wondering what your perspective is, as a person with business background, what’s the role of investments for an NGO?

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