Just a few years ago, bitcoin was an unknown term to many people. As cryptocurrencies became more mainstream, discussions about bitcoin (BTC), ether (ETH) and other digital assets increased. Recent searches for Bitcoin on Google reached a record high in 2020, and Buy Crypto searches increased for the first time earlier this year, further illustrating the underlying interest.
It is also important to note that bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in general are gaining popularity among the younger generation. For example, a number of television programs aimed at young people mention bitcoin. Recently, the popular British TV series Teletubbies sent out a tweet from its official account announcing that it would be minting NFTs that would be put up for sale with the proceeds going to charity.
Lack of financial education in schools creates new opportunities
Although the adoption process is ongoing, most children and teens, as well as many adults, remain uneducated when it comes to using cryptocurrencies and blockchain. An important reason for this is that in some countries financial education is not part of the school curriculum.
Vignesh Kamath, a first-year student from Scunthorpe, England, wrote an article for Cointelegraph magazine last year to explain this dilemma. Mr. Kamath noted that despite the clear need for these skills, most countries’ curricula lack an integrated approach to financial education.
The latest annual report from the UK Youth Money Index, which looks at young people’s financial skills, shows that 83% of young people want to learn about money and finance at school, and 75% say their financial education comes from their parents. The report also shows that very few students are currently using bitcoin or other digital assets as a financial product.
In the same vein, new platforms are being developed targeting Generation Z to help students learn about cryptocurrencies and blockchain.
The cryptocurrency exchange and custodian Gemini recently partnered with Learn & Earn, an app that allows students to learn about financial literacy while earning fiat rewards. Cameron Winklevoss, president and co-founder of Gemini, told Cointelegraph that he was excited to promote crypto-currency education to younger generations through this partnership :
Gemini’s mission is to empower people through cryptography, and we believe the journey begins with understanding. Through our partnership, Learn & Earn offers students a simple and comprehensive way to learn about cryptocurrencies while being rewarded for their success.
Michael Gleason, CEO of Learn & Earn, told Cointelegraph that the app was originally inspired by Junior Achievement, a nonprofit that prepares young people for success and looks for innovative ways to reach K-12 students to teach them financial literacy, entrepreneurship and work readiness. Gleason explained that the project has evolved into a microlearning platform that offers quick courses for the TikTok generation, with students understanding crypto and blockchain while earning great rewards.
According to Gleason, crypto courses and app content are growing rapidly and evolving with the space. The demand for blockchain-based knowledge is one of the highest we’ve ever seen, and it’s being fueled by students pursuing it, he said.
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Gemini sponsors all cryptography courses and explains what it is, the different types of cryptography and its history. It will educate young people on topics such as digital wallets, decentralized finance, and the growing acceptance and future of cryptocurrencies.
Although the app is heavily focused on teaching crypto, Gleason noted that the overall goal of Learn & Earn is to help students save and invest to learn more about finances. To that end, K-12 students studying in the United States can earn money at the end of each class. Students then invest their earnings in UTMA/UGMA approved investment accounts to build a diversified and growing portfolio over time, which they can access at age 18, Gleason explained:
Participants have access to a core portfolio of the world’s largest diversified exchange-traded fund and can also choose from Explore’s select portfolio of up to ten individual large-cap stocks or ETFs. For example, students can invest in fractional shares of companies like Apple, Tesla, Netflix and Microsoft.
While young students are currently offered rewards, Gleason says it will soon be possible to earn cryptocurrencies in the app. Students will be able to earn unreadable tokens in the future, we are working on this vision.
In addition to the Learn and Earn program, crypto currency training programs are being developed in several US states. Recently, the Georgia House of Representatives passed a bill requiring financial education as part of the high school curriculum. The bill was supported by six candidates in the House of Representatives and was sent to the Senate for further consideration. The program mentioned in this bill covers 16 areas of financial education, of which cryptocurrencies are a top priority.
Influential social networks also help educate young people about cryptocurrency. The microscopic Miss Teen Crypto explained to Cointelegraph that her interest in crypto stems from her father’s involvement in space exploration:
My father has been interested in cryptography for 5 years and talks about it constantly. At first, I didn’t pay attention to it because I thought it was only for adults and people interested in finance. Things finally clicked for me with crypto in 2018-2019 when I got to see how bitcoin works and how easy it is.
Miss Teen Crypto realized that bitcoin was the new repository of value and started asking questions on Google to learn more about the blockchain. Then I wondered why no one my age knew about this great new way to do digital transactions, as well as other new blockchain technologies, and so I created my social media accounts.
The goal is to spread information and awareness about the use of cryptocurrencies among the younger generation. To that end, it distributed physical seed cards – scannable educational cards with information about BTC, ETGs and other cryptocurrencies – to people throughout Manhattan. It also has a website with helpful videos for those new to cryptocurrencies.
Parents may be wary of new cryptographic learning applications
Despite innovations in cryptocurrency education, some have noted that parents are hesitant to let their children or teens learn about digital assets or blockchains.
For example, Gleason said that while the Learn & Earn platform is easy to use and interest remains high, registering a parent account has become a chore. With a partner like Junior Achievement, it’s easier to get students to become users, but the hardest part is getting parents/adults to create UTMA/UGMA accounts, he explains.
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Miss Teen Crypto noted that she has noticed a big change in parents’ attitudes towards cryptocurrencies over the past year. Many are starting to see bitcoin as a great investment, while many I’ve talked to think it’s a scam. She said the lack of adoption was the reason, adding that many companies have bitcoin on their balance sheets, accept bitcoin as a means of payment and many news broadcasts cover bitcoin.
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