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Can the Church of Monero Reach Meme Status?

Monero in Light

The Church of Monero, a biweekly Telegram event that is styled after religious ceremonies, has now been active for nearly four months. The premise is simple: Monero users gather twice each week to hold mass, sending five dollars worth of Monero tokens (XMR) to each other as part of a ring ritual that represents a “circle of trust.” Currently, just under 60 users participate, but the group has been growing steadily.

Who Benefits?

The transactions that take place are not about profit: when participants send Monero to each other, they receive the same amount of Monero that they began with. They also receive “faith points” that reflect their attendance rate and community standing.

Monero miners, who do not attend, profit from the ritual’s transaction fees, but in a fairly negligible way. There is also a potential privacy benefit for Monero as a whole: more transactions produce more decoy links, a key part of Monero’s privacy model. The ritual also builds trust on an individual level, as participants could defect from the ritual and steal five dollars worth of Monero—and so far, nobody has.

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What’s the Controversy?

For the most part, the ritual is about community spirit, although controversy is brewing. Detractors object that the Church of Monero has cult-like trappings that could drive away new users. Some skeptics argue that the group’s creator is trolling the community by variously downplaying and emphasizing the religious aspects of the Church. Others insist that critics themselves are taking things far too seriously.

Meanwhile, proponents suggest that the Church could be good for the image of Monero: every cryptocurrency community develops its own norms and beliefs, and some community members become more fervent believers than others. Bitcoin maximalism, for example, has led many people to fixate on the coin’s adoption rate and volatile market value.

Of course, the opposite is true as well: Dogecoin has famously cultivated a c’est la vie attitude with its “1 Dogecoin always equals 1 Dogecoin” meme. Likewise, the Church of Monero could promote enthusiasm for Monero and provide a low-pressure outlet for fans of the coin—albeit in a way that some might find alienating.

How quickly the Church of Monero will expand within the community is uncertain, but the Telegram group has experienced a five-fold increase in membership since it began in September. As a debate ramps up and generates attention, the Church could quickly reach meme status within the Monero community, and could perhaps even affect the coin’s public image.

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