1. What is the Catholic/Crypto Conference?
The Catholic/Crypto Conference is the first-ever conference focused on cryptocurrency and blockchain and its corollary creations of Web 3.0, NFTs, smart contracts and related technologies and their potential impact on the apostolic and administrative life of the Catholic Church and individual Catholics.
The Conference exists to help Catholics have a voice at the table as these new technologies are introduced to the wider, secular world, and in our Church infrastructure.
Conference speakers and participants will discuss and discern new technological offerings through the lens of the Catholic faith, exploring what they mean for the present and future Church and the laity, as we strive to be “in the world but not of the world” (John 17).
2. Why should Catholics care about cryptocurrency or blockchain?
We understand this question; it is akin to someone having asked in the early 1990s why Catholics should care about the internet.
By the year 2000, acceptance and use of the internet had become universal, and in just two decades, usage and operation of the internet has evolved dramatically. It now touches on or dominates all aspects of business and social life.
Blockchain and cryptocurrency, and its dirivitaves, will likely do the same. Therefore, these new technologies need to be understood by Catholics so we can consider how they can be used for good.
Cryptocurrency and blockchain offer perhaps the most significant technological advances since the advent of the smart phone and the internet itself. Computer scientists and enthusiasts contend cryptocurrency and blockchain will lead to “Web 3.0,” a new decentralized internet that offers extraordinary potential.
Catholics need to understand these technologies and the potential they offer for humanity and the Church rather than forfeit them to those who do not approach life with a Christo-centric worldview. We need to also look how to harness them for the Common Good.
3. But these words—crypto and currency—sound so worldly-focused. Should Catholics really have a conference about them?
It’s understandable that skepticism and confusion surround the words crypto and currency. “Crypto” sounds like cryptic, or hidden, and any talk of currency in a Catholic context sounds mammon centered. These words almost feel contra-Christian. But they need not.
Crypto, in this context, comes from the word cryptology, which is the art and discipline of writing and solving codes. In essence, cryptology is computer coding. Currency, or money, is simply a means of exchange. It can be as good or evil as the user wants it to be.
The fact is that we Catholics are in the world. We are called to claim all good or morally neutral aspects of the world for Jesus Christ, including technology. Sure, it’s possible that such things could become an end unto themselves—but this is where a mature Catholic faith comes in. A mature faith helps us navigate and use the things of the world, while avoiding being of the world.
4. Tell me more about “Web 3.0.”
When the internet first began, it was mostly made up of static webpages, which functioned as online brochures for companies. Communication was one-way. The world wide web was a source for retrieving information. Many refer to this as Web 1.0.
The current version of the internet, Web 2.0, is highly interactive and often involves user-generated content. The transition to today’s version of the internet was seamless. Around 2007, Web 2.0 was amplified by mobile devices and their accompanying apps, fueling massive economic growth for hundreds of thousands of individuals and companies.
Web 3.0 is the pursuit of a decentralized, open, trustless, and permissionless internet, offering greater utility, connectivity, and ubiquity. As with all things, the potential for both good and bad uses exists. This is why we Catholics need to be present at the beginnings of Web 3.0. We should anticipate the effects and potential of Web 3.0 and where possible, leverage these new technological forces for the sake of the Gospel and the Common Good.
Web 3.0 will also be leveraged for the metaverse, which is being positioned as a digital reality that combines social media, augmented reality (AR), digital currencies, and more, culminating with more human virtual interaction. Naturally, the advent of the metaverse will present real questions and challenges, but it may also present opportunities. Therefore, we need to begin a conversation.
5. All this technology, specifically the metaverse, sounds somewhat inhuman.
Yes, the metaverse could easily amplify an inhuman, dualistic existence where we all spend a substantial portion of our lives disembodied. Frankly, don’t we already do that now when we binge for hours on TV or unplug from life when we plug in our AirPods?
As human beings, we are called to communion. There is a natural concern the metaverse will be antithetical to what it means to be human. We Catholics need to take our seat at the table or such advancements will be left solely to those who may not have a Christ-centered worldview.
To start, as Christians, we are called to “lead, teach, and sanctify” our fellow man. We are our brother’s keeper, (Gen. 4:9). As well, there’s not an inch of the world—nor any aspect of creation—that Jesus does not claim for himself. But we are his hands and feet, and so the task of leading, teaching and sanctifying falls to us.
Regarding technology, we Christians should try to figure out (a) what these new technologis are, (b) what they mean to the human person and experience, and (c) how they can be leveraged for good.
6. Why should I attend a Catholic seminar on cryptocurrency?
This seminar provides Catholics an opportunity to engage in conversations and reflection about the implications and ramifications of new technologies.
Tens of millions of Catholics are already engaged in cryptocurrency and blockchain technology at some level. This conference is a call for us to participate in the conversation as a group and look at specific topics through a Catholic lens.
Although blockchain has been around since 2009 (when it was used as the underlying code for Bitcoin), it has been employed for other uses cases in just the past few years. So, presently, the Church is not far behind the culture’s adoption of this technology. But we will be if we delay too long.
An estimated 300 million people worldwide are now engaging blockchain, Bitcoin, cryptocurrency, smart contracts, decentralized finance, and related technologies. While that amounts to less than four percent of the world’s population, adoption rates are happening quickly. In fact, experts contend that crypto and blockchain technology are being adopted at twice the rate of adoption of the internet between 1990 and 2000.
If Catholics get involved at this early stage, we can help shape the trajectory of this technology and direct it towards noble uses.
7. I hear you, but I’m still concerned that this sounds too secular minded.
As Catholics, we are called to represent the Gospel in the secular world, to be in the world but not of the world (Jn 17:14-16). Having a healthy skepticism and caution is prudent, but we are also called as Christians to go forth.
In Luke’s Gospel, the Lord exhorts his disciples to put their nets “into the deep” (5:4). In his apostolic letter, Novo Millennio Ineunte (At the Beginning of the New Millennium), St. John Paul II called on Catholics to embrace new technological and communication tools to effectuate transmission of the Gospel, and the Church’s pastoral mission, to a world in desperate need of it. He also called us to “be not afraid.”
As we know, the Church would say that technology in and of itself is morally neutral. How we use it determines whether its impact on society is good or evil. Human creation is good because it reflects the creative power of the Lord himself. Because of this, Catholics should also have a hopeful and even eager view of the good that technological advancement can offer.
As Catholics, our approach to technology is rooted in intention. Do we intend to use technology for good or evil? Take the automobile for example. It can be used to take someone to a hospital, or to get away after a bank robbery.
The same is the case for blockchain and cryptocurrency. Some will find evil uses, but most will use it to improve their lives or the lives of others.
For example, an estimated two to three billion people of the eight billion on earth are considered “unbanked,” which means their access to normal banking is stunted or blocked. Crypto and blockchain are solving this problem, as it enables anyone with a cell phone to transact financially with others who have similar access.
Blockchain technology also provides a solution to technocracy and censorship, which we Catholics often experience through Big Tech organizations like Google, Facebook, Twitter, and legacy media corporations. Decentralized computer protocols are now enabling users to communicate directly without censorship.
8. What can I expect to experience at the conference?
The Catholic/Crypto Conference is designed to be vibrant, intriguing, and highly interactive. Features include renowned speakers, Catholic liturgies, networking opportunities, and small group discussions on topics related to technology and the Church’s pastoral mission. A generous amount of reflection time is also planned, giving ample time for both one-on-one discussions and personal reflection.
Our speaker lineup includes Catholics and non-Catholics regarded as some of the best minds in technology, cryptocurrency, and blockchain. Other talks will connect these issues to the Church’s evangelical mission.
Attendees will be able to interact one-on-one with exhibitors, which include some of the most unique and creative technology companies operating in the crypto and blockchain space, as well as with Catholic ministries and businesses.
Attendees are invited on a first-come basis to a private conference kick-off reception on the Wednesday evening before the conference officially begins.
9. Who should attend?
This conference is designed for:
- Catholics who want to learn about cryptocurrency and blockchain
- Catholics who understand that technology, when used properly, can serve the Common Good and the mission of the Church, and who desire to do so
- All people of good will who want to learn how Catholics think philosophically, theologically, and pragmatically about technology, the Church’s mission, evangelization, a balanced understanding of justice, and more
If you have heard or read words like “crypto,” “Bitcoin,” “Ethereum,” “NFTs,” “smart contracts,” and “metaverse,” and you believe the Catholic Church has a vital mission to the world, then this conference is for you.
The advent of blockchain and crypto offers billions of people the chance to harness technology from the ease of their smartphones, regardless of whether they live in Western suburbia or the remotest third-world village.
10. Is the conference for someone new to cryptocurrency and blockchain?
This conference is for people at every stage of the cryptocurrency and blockchain learning curve—from new users to seasoned users.
Introductory sessions will be offered to those new to the technology, and advanced sessions will be offered for those immersed to varying degrees in the technology. Small-group learning sessions will be available to all. Topics and discussions will be focused on aligning to the Church’s mission.
11. When…where…and how long is the conference?
The first Catholic Crypto Conference 2022 is a full two-day event, held on Thursday and Friday, November 17 and 18, 2022, in The Sheraton Valley Forge Hotel. A free cocktail reception the night before, Wednesday, November 16 will kick off the event, but because of limited space, admission is offered on a first-come basis.
12. What is the cost and what does it cover?
Our intention is to make this conference affordable to all thanks in large part to the contributions of our conference sponsors. Registration for general admission is $295. Special rates are available for students and clergy. Due to the level of interest, we do not anticipate opening the conference to walk-up registration.
The registration fee includes access on both days to the conference hall, exhibitors, keynote addresses, breakout sessions, and two sit-down lunches. We also hope to provide post-conference digital download of select speaker presentations for those who attend.
13. Can I attend the conference virtually?
Yes, you can sign up for the conference virtually. Click here for our Virtual Ticket option.
14. Is scholarship support available?
Yes, some scholarships are available for those in genuine need. Although we priced the conference to be a great value, we realize some people face financial hardships. If you would like to inquire about a scholarship, please email info@CatholicCrypto.io.
15. Who is sponsoring the event?
The Catholic Crypto Conference 2022 was conceived by The Genesis Group, a Catholic incubator/accelerator committed to the cause of evangelization and support of the Church. For more information on The Genesis Group, visit www.catholiccreation.com.
16. Will there be invitations for Catholic media?
Yes, although credentials will be required. Please reach out to Kevin Wandra at Carmel Communications to inquire about getting press credentials. He can be reached at email@example.com or 404-788-1276.
17. How should I prepare for the conference?
While research and preparation ahead of the conference is not mandatory, it can only improve your experience. The amount of research you choose to do depends on what you already know about crypto and blockchain and what you hope to achieve by attending.
If you are new to crypto and blockchain, we recommend familiarizing yourself by watching the YouTube videos found here.
19. Can I register at the door?
Because this is a first-year event, there is a cap on the number of attendees; therefore, we cannot guarantee walk-up registration. If you register and later learn you cannot attend, you can cancel and receive full refund before September 1, 2022, and a 50-percent refund before September 30, 2022. No refunds will be available after September 30, 2022.
20. What is your cancellation policy?
Cancellations requested before September 1, 2022 will result in a full refund; cancellations requested after September 1 but before September 30, 2022 will result in a 50-percent refund. No refunds will be granted for cancellations made after September 30, 2022.
21. Will there be refreshments? Can I bring my own snacks?
Yes and yes. We will have some free snacks and beverages but also on-site vendors for other food and beverage purchases.
22. Will lunch include options for special dietary needs?
We plan to accommodate special dietary needs to the best of our ability. Please be sure to communicate your special dietary needs at the time of registration, so we can confirm whether the request is possible. Direct further inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
23. Will we have access to free wifi?
24. Can I record the sessions?
No, as individual speakers will have their own recording restrictions or requirements that are out of our control. That said, we are actively pursuing both a live video stream offering and post-conference access to as many talks as we can arrange with our presenters.
25. Do I need to bring anything with me?
Nothing is required. You may want to bring a laptop and note taking materials.
26. What is the recommended attire for this conference?
While business casual is the norm for most conferences like this, we understand the technology sector often leans more casual. We advise that you dress comfortably but respectfully.
27. Are there any Covid protocols we need to follow?
The speakers and sponsors of the seminar are confident that you will take whatever Covid safety measures you believe are necessary in addition to those of our host city. As we are holding the conference in the nearby suburbs of Philadelphia, the Covid protocols are relaxed. This could change, of course. We intend to post additional details as we get closer to the October conference but assume that current protocols will remain.
Vaccination status will not be requested at this conference. This is not a political statement; we simply trust you to act in a manner that you believe is responsible and in which you are comfortable. This policy is stated in our waiver, so please be sure to read it and provide your consent if you plan to attend in person.
28. Are there other hotels nearby besides the one hosting the conference?
Yes. You can see our list of partnering hotels here.
29. How far is the event from the airport?
The hotel/meeting area is approximately 30 minutes during normal traffic and 40-45 minutes during heavy traffic.
30. Are there accommodations for those with disabilities?
Yes, the hotel/conference center is ADA compliant. If you are uncertain or have extraordinary circumstances, please email us at email@example.com.