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

In the Shade of the Proverbial Hotdog Tree

Written by: on November 10, 2022

There are a few things I just don’t understand: Facebook algorithms, people that drive on the road like they are the only one there, those who can’t seem to have their money ready at the register, and cryptocurrency. Somehow, I have a better grasp on the Trinity than I do on bitcoin/NFT’s.  Saifedean Ammous, author of The Bitcoin Standard: The Decentralized Alternative to Central Banking, shares his passion for bitcoin as an opportunity to remove the third-party control from the economic structure in society.  The  first three chapters focus on his understanding of the theory and history of money.[1] He follows this with four chapters that unpack his working out of the Gold Standard.  He weaves this with his view of politics and the anthropological influence of time preference for “sound money”.[2]  The last three chapters details how Bitcoin functions as digital currency as well as how he believes it may be used as sound money.[3]

Some of the more interesting reading for me was found in perusing summaries that critiqued Ammous’s historical accounts.  A common critique is Ammous’s misrepresentation of John Keynes and his historical impact on the economic system of The Great Depression.[4] Reading these summaries raises for me the question about how our biases or judgements of others impacts the way we interpret a person’s value.  Our biases have ways that cause us to wear blinders.  Therefore books like Sway and Thinking Fast and Slow are helpful to keep us aware and maybe honest.

Kristoffer Mousten Hansen takes issue with Ammous’s monetary history regarding stock and flow.  He wrote, “if stock-to-flow ratios are of crucial importance, why did silver have an almost constant value in terms of gold until it was demonetized even though it does not have the same stock-to-flow ratio?”[5]  Mind you, I am not an economist, nor do  I understand the real implications of stock-to-flow but I could not help but reminisce about Trueman’s premise of the moral/ethical failings of sexual identity initiated by the sexual revolution of the 60’s in The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self. So, what is the stock-to-flow ratio of sex?  If it was demonetized, would it lose its value as well?  Would it help the church to then begin having healthy conversations about sex?

Interestingly, my question about money and sex led me to wonder about the theology of bitcoin/blockchains.  As I understand the nature of blockchain the more troubled I become when I consider the implications theologically.  Blockchains provide proof and certainty.  If one has a theological hermeneutic of the infallibility of scripture, blockchain in an economic system is a safe place to be.  For me the beauty of the living Word of God is the ways God speaks in each epoch with a fresh embodiment within the context.  Jesus contextualized the word for the people, modeling for us how God’s Word speaks into power structures of each particular time.  Equally important is faith is belief in that which is not yet seen.  Proof for faith is more ambiguous than blockchain.

Theologically one of the most dangerous aspects of bitcoin is the notion of low time preference.  Ammous champions the power of confidence in the low time preference or delayed gratification in economic gain.  The concept of delayed gratification flies in the face of sacrifice.  Sacrifice is giving up gratification for the joy of the other.  There is a Greek proverb that says, “A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they shall never sit.” This speaks to the power of sacrifice that an action is taken for a future that will not be enjoyed personally.  Perhaps our economies could benefit from applying some Greek proverbial hotdog tree planting.

Oh, there is one other thing I do not understand.  How does my dryer never seems to quell its appetite for eating one sock at a time?  Perhaps there is some sort of NFT on the socks the dryer has paid for.



[1] Ammous, Saifedean. The Bitcoin Standard: The Decentralized Alternative to Central Banking. 1st edition. Hoboken, New Jersey: Wiley, 2018.Page 17.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid. Pages 17-18.

[4] https://www.cato.org/cato-journal/fall-2018/bitcoin-standard-decentralized-alternative-central-banking-saifedean-ammous . In addition this blog: https://coingeek.com/the-bitcoin-standard-a-review/

[5] https://mises.org/library/review-bitcoin-standard-decentralized-alternative-central-banking

About the Author


Nicole Richardson

PC(USA) pastor serving a church in Kansas City. In my spare time I teach yoga and scuba diving

8 responses to “In the Shade of the Proverbial Hotdog Tree”

  1. mm Roy Gruber says:

    Nicole, this a great post with numerous deep insights and great connections to previous readings. I must admit, reading your title of a hotdog tree made me a little nauseous. I have a “thing” against hotdogs. Can I ask you to say more about these two questions you put back to back? “what is the stock-to-flow ratio of sex? If it was demonetized, would it lose its value as well?” I’m intrigued by what you’re asking.

    • mm Nicole Richardson says:

      Roy if we demonetize the sex industry…making it so people in positions of power cannot make money from it as an institution, wouldn’t that make sex more abundant and take away the power that scarcity has in the money making system?

  2. mm Troy Rappold says:

    Nicole: I didn’t understand Bitcoin and cryptocurrency before this book either. I’m glad Jason put it on our list. We tend to fear that which we do not understand. And when we do understand something, it no longer holds a fearful mystery over us. I liked his history lesson on money, but I found him too critical on Keynes. The last three chapters were a great introduction to Bitcoin. I don’t think cryptocurrency is going away and I’m thankful for reading this book.

  3. Kayli Hillebrand says:

    Nicole: Your questions and thoughts regarding the theological implications of cryptocurrencies are really interesting. Do you think it would be fair to clump bitcoin into the scriptures about the love of money?

  4. mm Eric Basye says:

    Nicole, Kayli won the award for the best title this week, but I give you the best one-liner of the week – “Somehow, I have a better grasp on the Trinity than I do on bitcoin/NFT’s.” Yes, so true! Ha ha. I love it.

    I am not sure I understand your comment on delayed gratification vs sacrifice. Can you tell me more (if you have time to respond; I am writing later than usual!). I ask as in my mind delayed gratification IS sacrifice… holding off for a better reality, whether for our generation or future generations. But maybe I misunderstood your take on the concept.

    • mm Nicole Richardson says:

      Eric, is your understanding of delayed gratification what informs the purpose of Jesus going to the cross? For my understanding, delayed gratification is driven by the individual hoping to get gratification for oneself. Having my own benefit in mind is what encourages me to delay my gratification. This is not the gospel.

      Sacrifice has nothing to do with gratifying my desires….unless we are speaking that my desires are driven for the love and hope of the other.
      So planting a tree for my grandchildren or strangers to enjoy knowing full well I will be long from this earth is not about me and my gratification…again unless we define my gratification is synonymous with what is gratifying to God. But humanity is fallen and therefore it takes intentional, cognizant work to not be about me.

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