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If a person achieves a gain or a payment of a currency that that is purely virtual and does not have any physical counterpart (ie it is not associated with a financial institution) must one give ma'aser from that currency?

For example if my salary was paid entirely through bitcoin or if I engaged in virtual gold farming would I then have to pay real, physical maaser from my earnings?

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Are either of your examples things that ultimately turn into money for you? I thought Bitcoin was money in a different form (you can spend it for real things), versus in-game "money" that you can't bring out. (Note: I'm not up on the current state of that class of games.) It seems like the answer could be diferent for "money in a different form" and "not money", which is why I ask. –  Monica Cellio Mar 4 '13 at 22:37
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How is being paid in bitcoin different from being paid in corn? –  Double AA Mar 4 '13 at 22:55
    
Profit is profit,not getting the q. –  sam Mar 4 '13 at 23:30
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you have to learn perek hazahav and eizeh hu neshech in bava metziah. this is a very complex sugya –  not-allowed to change my name Mar 5 '13 at 2:12
    
How would you even manage to give Ma'aser? If you wanted to, could you set up an online financial account to transfer it to and donate a portion? –  Seth J Apr 5 '13 at 15:19

2 Answers 2

Interesting question, would not have to at any rate.

Ma'aser is a minhag, widely accepted and generally recommended, but not a chiuv.

That said - the same recommendation stands, even if money is virtual.

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perhaps the question is worded poorly but I wasn't asking if one is obligated to, just if one must (assuming that most people keep this "minhag") –  user2110 Mar 6 '13 at 14:16
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@nikmasi, that's what the last line is referring to. If it's an income in your eyes, it's fit for ma'aser. Many people today have their income noted only as numbers in the bank, hardly handling physical money. –  JNF Mar 6 '13 at 15:48

Regarding stock and non-liquid capital, I've previously written:

See this website for an interesting attempt to define what types of income are deductible and not deductible for Ma'aser purposes.

http://www.pidyon.com/latest-writings/halacha/10-maaser/48-computing-maaser-how-much-tzedakah-charity-do-i-owe.html

While I see some deductions and non-deductions on his lists that I question, the overall effort is admirable, and it makes a great starting point for this discussion.

As a side note, a rabbi of mine once said that he believed (and Rav Dovid at the above website seems to agree with this, though I don't know the source for either of them) that you do not need to pay Ma'aser on money until it has been realized to you. In other words, taxes taken out of your paycheck before the money is received by you do not need to be considered as part of your income (ie, are deductible) for purposes of calculating Ma'aser. On the flip side of that (this is my own extrapolation, not the words of my rabbi), if you receive a tax refund, you would have to pay Ma'aser on the refunded money - if you did not previously take Ma'aser on the taxes that were removed from your paycheck.

Since capital gains and appreciation are not of any benefit to you until you liquidate the assets, I would think that you do not need to pay Ma'aser on them, especially if you are talking about the assessed value of real property. However, if you receive dividends or gains that you decide to immediately roll over into the purchase of new stock, etc., you might have to pay Ma'aser on those gains prior to the rollover. But definitely, DEFINITELY do not take my word on that, or any of what I said above in my own name. I'm not a Rav or Posek. Ask your own local Orthodox rabbi for further guidance and especially for Psak.

I don't see how this is any different than any other non-liquid assets or capital appreciation. It has no inherent value other than what can be acquired with it. So, unless and until you liquidate it - or transfer it into some usable form, such as exchange for actual goods and services - there is nothing from which to tithe.

As in the above, Tzarich 'Iyun and CYLOR.

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