It has been more than ten years now since the inception of Bitcoin. Like it, hate it or ignore it, Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies have become more common in our daily lives. This begs the question, why is it still not taught at school? Surely schools being the place of learning should expose students to cryptocurrencies. After all, cryptocurrencies represent a very different perspective on finance and the economy. Also, if we are looking to prepare the next generation for the future, the teaching of cryptocurrencies should be done at schools.
There are many use cases for cryptocurrencies, but if your students are too young to understand complex economic concepts, let’s start with something simpler. I find that over time, dabbling in cryptocurrencies has forced me to be more responsible over my own finances. I remember the first time when I had my private keys over on Steemit. After losing my private keys for one of my accounts, I realized that there was no one capable of retrieving it. I tried calling support, but no one could do anything.
This has unfortunately been a good lesson of being your own ‘bank’. Unlike more centralized systems, you can’t always call up a customer service representative to help you restore your password. Thus, you will just have to be a bit more responsible for your own passwords and accounts. This can be inculcated in lessons where children are taught to hold their own cryptocurrency knowing that once they lose it, no one can retrieve it for them.
Of course, using actual cryptocurrency for this may be a rather costly endeavor, as such, I would use the waves platform to create one for the purposes of the lesson.
Teaching Why Cryptocurrencies Were Invented
As for the students who are more mature, I think it is important to talk about why Bitcoin was invented in the first place. There, teachers can introduce the concept of debt and the 2008 financial crisis. While some claim that the 2008 financial crisis was a motivating factor for the creation of Bitcoin (source). I think the lesson behind it is sound. After all, we should be teaching our students about the lessons that led to the crash.
Furthermore, talking about Bitcoin will lead to a comparison with fiat currency. There, a teacher can introduce the concept of inflation as well as why this occurs. While it takes a certain level of maturity to understand this, I have found that teenagers grasp this concept rather quickly. Perhaps it is from social media or hearing their parents complain about the rising cost of living, they catch on to the idea pretty quickly.
Of course, the idea behind introducing them to Bitcoin is not for them to buy it. Rather, it helps them gain a different perspective to the conventional lessons that they are prescribed. I believe that with different views, you tend to make better decisions.
Teaching About The Use Cases of Cryptocurrencies
Aside from the history behind Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, a teacher can also touch on the use cases of cryptocurrencies. In terms of Bitcoin, a teacher can draw from examples in Venezuela and Hong Kong where it was used. At this point, I will be touching on issues that may seem undesirable to the government or the administration. Sometimes, the concept of decentralization and freedom associated with cryptocurrencies is seen as a form of rebellion by some who are in power.
However, as educators, I think it is important to teach our students what is happening in the world and leave them with something more valuable than knowledge. That something is wisdom. I think wisdom stems from experience but also having all the possible choices laid out before you. Once you know all the possible choices, it becomes easier to make an informed choice.
The problem is that many are fed ideas from one perspective. This leads to them making decisions that are bad but considered as ‘normal’. I can’t speak for others in my field, but my clients are those who are going to be future teachers. As such, when the opportunity arises, I will present both perspectives to them. I only hope that they can use that knowledge to impact the next generation.