Jay Z and Jack Dorsey caused a stir when they announced the Bitcoin Academy. This initiative was meant to spread cryptocurrency’s good news through free online classes and in-person classes. The Marcy Projects is a public housing development in Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant area. This is also where Jay-Z grew-up.
The classes ranged from Careers in Crypto’ to Crypto Scams and A Security Mindset’ and were only available to Marcy Project residents. Participants received 100 MiFi devices and a one year data plan. Online and in-person courses were offered from June to September.
This happened at a time when market was declining . Bitcoin has seen a dramatic drop in value (around 54%) and many high profile exchanges facilitating crypto transactions have gone down. Some students have given testimonials to the Daily Beast. They question the purpose of the project, and whether crypto-related education is needed in light of their economic circumstances.
“How can you help us if we are asked to contribute five, ten dollars and we’re all on fixed-income?” Lydia Bryant, 57, spoke to The Daily Beast.
The Risk – Bryant said that crypto investments, however volatile, are more risky than buying’real stock’. The inherent risk associated with crypto markets is not the only thing that makes it difficult to understand and make informed financial decisions. One person said that they “took the class, but didn’t understand a lot.”
Some students were able to withdraw enough money from the summer sessions to convert their own cash into crypto. Residents were awarded $1,000 in crypto upon completion of the program. However, this amount was seen as small by some tenants who pointed out that many residents are poor and struggling to survive.
Have or not – While billionaires like Jay-Z and Jack Dorsey can handle a sudden dip in the market, small investors like Marcy Houses would be much more affected by the same type of landslide.
According to the Bitcoin Academy, this program is only the beginning. After receiving feedback from participants, a second phase will be created. The responses make one wonder if it would not be better to improve public infrastructure around complexes like The Marcy Houses.