So I learned about Bitcoin in 2012 and have been following this fascinating digital currency ever since. As adults, understanding this emerging and growing financial technology can be challenging, especially if we don’t have a technical background. This is the main reason why I’m fascinated by e-currencies and people that have opted in to provide a user-friendly environment for our younger generations – kids and teens – to understand the future of money.
Government initiatives around the globe are looking to equip students with basic personal finance tools and concepts. Twenty-six countries have begun developing a national strategy to introduce financial literacy in the classroom, and in the United States, 82 percent of parents and 89 percent of teachers agree that personal finance should be a graduation requirement.
Major efforts are being made in teaching our youth about personal finance, which is great, but how about getting them to understand what technology is doing to shape the future of money and our current financial system?
I think it’s worth doing a quick review of some facts to understand how this phenomenon has been developing:
The Sabra Sisters and the first ever Bitcoin book for kids
The Sabra Sisters, three “tech tweens” (aged 10, 12 & 13 years old) started a blog about Bitcoin in 2013 called BitKidz. BitKidz was created for kids and their parents to understand how safe, secure, easy and fun it is to use Bitcoin. The sisters also wrote a book series called The Bitcoin Beginner for Kids Trilogy in collaboration with their mom and manager Pon Sabra, and with Trace Mayer as Bitcoin editor. Even though their latest blog post was apparently made in December last year, their book is available on Amazon for free.
15-year-old Erik Finnman makes $100,000 on Bitcoin
In 2012, Erik Finnman got $1,000 from his grandmother which he decided to invest in Bitcoin. At the time, the digital currency was worth $12 says Finnman. A year and a half later, he sold his coins for $100,000 and used the earnings to launch Botangle, reports Mashable. Botangle is an education startup that offers an online tutoring service that runs on video chat.
The Bitcoin Kid
The Bitcoin Kid started a blog in September 2013, and has published a few videos interviewing influential Bitcoin companies such as BitInstant, Lamassu Bitcoin Ventures, and Bitpay. He also wrote a book called The Scary BlueBerry that was initially sold for Bitcoin only.
19-year-old Jeremy Rubin raises $500k for MIT undergraduate students
In his second year as an MIT undergraduate, Jeremy Rubin partnered with MBA student Daniel Elitzer to create an ecosystem for digital currencies at their university. The pair raised $500.000 for the MIT Bitcoin Project, and plan to distribute $100 in bitcoin to every undergraduate student this fall. The project seeks to learn how the cryptocurrency will be used by the students so Rubin and Elitzer are aiming to get approval from the Institutional Review Board to study the behavior of using Bitcoin and to document the process. An MIT Bitcoin Expo was held in early May to start educating students about what Bitcoin is, and the pair also announced BitComp, a summer-long competition that will have developers create innovative, bitcoin-related apps.
PiggyCoin - “The Bitcoin for Kids”.
PiggyCoin, launched in February 2014, aims to get children involved and interested in the emerging world of digital currencies in the most entertaining way possible.
“Succeeding in educating this generation is one of the main steps that can help cryptos be widely used and accepted,” said PiggyCoin founder João in an interview with Coinjoint. This is why PiggyCoin has a school program and is trying to get educators to learn about it and to adopt the digital currency in their schools.
The team is also making it fun to interact with the currency by introducing a gaming aspect to the scene. In order to get coins, the team has been developing educational games that reward kids with coins just by playing; among these games, Piggy Facts. Also if you send them your best piggy art to be featured on their website, they’ll send you some coins.
Interested? Want to get your inner piggy rolling? Get some Coins!
KidCoin - Bringing crypto to kids
On March 4, 2014 at a Bitcoin Meetup "Show and Tell” sponsored by Bitpay in LA, Video Game designer Jimmy Gorham proposed a video game that “actually pays kids to play it”.
In his presentation, he proposed a separate cryptocurrency with its own blockchain. The coins can be earned by playing a game where data is into the hashing function so people, as they play are preserving the blockchain and allowing transactions. As for the theme of the game, Gorham suggested an actual mining game where kids can dig through a mine and collect diamond and dinosaur bones.
There’s no doubt that both kids and teenagers are getting interested and involved with the new “shapes” of money. Not so long ago, digital currencies, Bitcoin in particular, were focusing on the financial, political and security aspects. With growing interest from our youth to learn about e-currencies, social and educational aspects have been brought into consideraton. And educational aspects also mean fun. Companies like Piggycoin making cryptocurrencies kid-friendly through engaging educational games, and rewards and initiatives like MIT’s are introducing Bitcoin to students through real-life situations on campus including a Bitcoin expo and a summer competition. This is just the beginning. Technology triggers our curiosity and desire to learn. I think, in the not-so-distant future, personal finance classes will twist to have a focus on currencies that have been made through technology, and I’m excited to see this happening.