Jay-Z and Jack Dorsey launch a free crypto academy
The Future. Jay-Z and Block CEO Jack Dorsey have joined forces to launch The Bitcoin Academy, a free crypto education program located at Marcy Houses, the public housing complex in Brooklyn where Jay-Z grew up. The Academy’s founders and teachers see crypto as a path to financial freedom—especially for the needy—but detractors worry that students of such programs stand to lose more than they could gain.
A syllabus for the self-made
Bitcoin Academy is launching its first season this summer.
- The lessons. Crypto evangelists and success stories like Lamar Wilson and Najah J. Roberts make up the Academy’s instructors, with the curriculum focused on leveraging cryptocurrency to acquire financial independence.
- The perks. Participants of the program will also be given MiFi devices, a one-year limited data plan, and in some cases, their own smartphone — all of which they get to keep after the program’s over. Dinner is served during classes, which occur in the evenings.
- The icing on the cake. Participants will receive small amounts of Bitcoin too, but Dorsey and Jay-Z have been clear that the primary purpose of the program is education. It seems that investing in Bitcoin will be strongly encouraged, with the gifted amount to be used as a test case.
The Academy will hold classes twice weekly from June-September, as well as a weekend “Crypto Kids Camp” for children ages 5 to 17. While the Academy is only open to Marcy residents, Jay-Z has said he hopes to expand the program soon.
And this isn’t Jay-Z and Dorsey’s first joint venture in the crypto world. Last year, the pair made a 500 BTC investment aimed at boosting DeFi’s popularity in India and Africa.
The meek shall inherit the worst
Critics see the Bitcoin Academy as a possible form of “predatory inclusion,” in which vulnerable populations are presented with scams, subprime loans, or other fraudulent schemes disguised as opportunities. Even if the Academy’s aim is to educate students on how to sift the crypto wheat from the chaff, skeptics think they’re still encouraging people without a safety net to take risks in a notoriously volatile market.
A useful example to consider is El Salvador, which adopted Bitcoin as legal tender last year and doesn’t seem to have enjoyed the collective increase in prosperity the country expected. According to TechCrunch, nearly 70% of El Salvador’s citizens are unbanked, which means they’ll have no consumer protections if the currency tanks.
The Bitcoin Academy’s students are individuals, not nations. But for the vulnerable, the risks of investing in an unstable currency can drastically outweigh the rewards — even if you know what they are.