Cathio has been making headlines this month. It’s a new cryptocurrency developed by members of the Catholic faith that powers a donation platform aiming to increase engagement with the church. In other words, the platform incentivises Catholics to donate.
But does blockchain technology comply with Catholic values and beliefs? So far, many Catholic communities seem enthusiastic about blockchain and cryptocurrencies. After all, cryptocurrencies offer an alternative approach to bringing in more donations.
Cathio is meant to encourage engagement with the church among millennials in particular – crypto’s largest demographic. The cryptocurrency gained its fame thanks to former US Senator Rick Santorum, who recently joined the board of the organisation.
The company announced the launch of its new funding platform and payment system at the beginning of June. However, despite having powerful Catholic roots, Cathio is a for-profit organisation. Its official purpose is to serve Catholics and “provide efficient, secure, and transparent movement of funds within the Catholic world”.
How Cathio works
According to CEO Matthew Marcolini, the platform can increase the transparency of payments across all sectors of the Catholic economy. It can also lower costs and improve the security of financial transactions. This way, users will feel more comfortable about donating money and resources.
Cathio, a stablecoin, will power the new payment system. Why is the digital coin necessary? Marcolini hopes to use blockchain technology to encourage donations among younger generations.
The board of the Catholic enterprise plans to attract millennials using new technology to “help them cultivate a culture of philanthropy or culture of giving”.
The Cathio platform promises improved transaction visibility, lower costs, and greater security for the Catholic community. Moreover, it provides its users with a series of web and mobile tools that should encourage donor engagement.
The platform incorporates an online map which enables users to find Catholic non-profits, parishes, and schools quickly. At the same time, organisations can manage their own Cathio pages. They can add pictures, create events, and share information like mass times to connect with potential churchgoers and donors.
Catholic users can do more than donate on the platform. They can also leave comments and rate their organisations. This way, they can help new users choose the right community and projects to support.
Every financial transaction performed by Cathio requires a 2% fee. The platform gives immediate access to funds to priests and Catholic organisations.
Among the early adopters of the Cathio donation platform are the Dominican Foundation, Christendom College, The Trinitarian Order, and the Center for Evangelical Catholicism.
A digital coin supported by former US Senator Rick Santorum
The Cathio board includes the former US Senator Rick Santorum. The politician, a two-time Republican presidential candidate, is well known for his conservative beliefs. His failed campaigns carried strong messages against abortion and same-sex marriage both in 2012 and 2016.
With Cathio, Santorum is looking to generate engagement among young people.
"We have to be there (for Millennials), we have to learn from successful tech companies, and we have to provide a universal solution that makes it easy for younger generations to engage with the Church.” Cathio Board Member former Senator @RickSantorum. https://t.co/FKIRTE2TdC
— Cathio (@CathioHQ) May 31, 2019
Besides being a known Catholic, Santorum happens to be CEO Marcolini’s father-in-law as well. This could be one of the reasons the former presidential candidate joined the board of Cathio in the first place.
Other famous board members and advisors of Cathio are former US Ambassador to the Vatican Jim Nicholson, Chairman of the American Conservative Union Matt Schlapp, Managing Director of Berkadia Commercial Mortgage Nick Nicholson, and former Director of News Operations for EWTN (a global Catholic television network) Ryan Thomas.
The enterprise’s official website also lists a series of blockchain specialists included in the project, but doesn’t give too many details about the soon-to-be-launched Cathio cryptocurrency.
Other Catholic cryptocurrency projects
Cathio isn’t the first project that targets Catholics and charity. Catholiccoins, for instance, is a non-profit organisation. The platform doesn’t seem as interested in “saving the Church money”, but is instead focused on charity.
Its CATHOLICCOIN cryptocurrency is built on the Ethereum blockchain and enables worldwide charitable donations. On this platform, users can join campaigns and make quick donations in cryptocurrency to support orphanages and foster homes.
At the same time, they can track their funds and see how organisations spend their money. For now, Cathio doesn’t mention this level of transparency on its platform.
Can Cathio encourage cryptocurrency adoption for young Catholics?
The Financial Times recently analysed the new Cathio project. According to the report, Cathio doesn’t bring anything new to the table. On the contrary, it reduces a Catholic’s possibilities to make anonymous donations, as required by Christian values.
So for now, Cathio remains a mystery, as there’s little data available on how the stablecoin will work. While it may encourage cryptocurrency adoption, it’s still hard to tell whether the project will make a significant difference in the Catholic world.
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