A bit of geltA bit of gelt

Russian launches world’s first Jewish cryptocurrency

BitCoen to conform to Jewish law, offer interest-free loans and be administered by a council made up of community members

Illustrative image of chocolate coins used during the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah. (tomertu/iStock via Getty images)
Illustrative image of chocolate coins used during the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah. (tomertu/iStock via Getty images)

A Russian entrepreneur has launched the initial offering of a cryptocurrency aimed primarily at the Jewish market on Wednesday that would conform to Jewish law and offer participants interest-free loans.

BitCoen is billed as the “first kosher crypto currency in the world” according to the website. It promises to give 10 percent of earnings to charity and says it can be used at 110 reception points including kosher restaurants and stores.

It is the brain child of Vyacheslav Semenchuk, a serial entrepreneur who has launched more than 30 startups.

According to the website, the new currency “absorbed all the advantages of the digital world and combined them with values, customs and ancient foundations within the framework of Jewish law.”

Vyacheslav Semenchuk (Facebook)
Vyacheslav Semenchuk (Facebook)

The ICO (Initial Coin Offering) is planned for October 9. So far the venture has attracted investments of over $42,000. Semenchuk himself invested $500,000 in the project, INC. news site reported, and he hopes to attract up to $20 million.

In addition to conforming to Jewish law, members of the kosher cryptocurrency will be able to receive interest-free loans.

The currency will be administered by a body called the “Council of Six” made up of six respected members of the Jewish community each representing a different area of expertise — business, politics, finance, technology, social activities, culture — represented by the six-pointed Magen David Jewish star.

The name of the currency BitCoen, is a play on the most popular cryptocurrency Bitcoin and the Hebrew word “Kohen,” referring to Jews from the priestly class.

The launch received support from one of the two chief rabbis of Russia, the Chabad-affiliated Rabbi Berel Lazar.

“We expect that the cryptocurrency will cover all Jewish communities around the world,” Lazar’s press secretary, Michael Lidogoster, said in a statement. “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.”

BitCoen joins more than 800 cryptocurrencies traded globally.

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