Three months after Jay-Z and Jack Dorsey launched “The Bitcoin Academy,” the first graduates of the pilot are sharing their thoughts on the scheme, and it appears that the program is already winning converts to Bitcoin.
The academy was first announced in June with an aim to “empower the community” of Brooklyn, New York, from which Jay-Z originally hails.
Announcing the program, Jay-Z tweeted, “The simple goal is to provide people tools to build independence for themselves and then the community around them.”
A Bitcoin success story
The 12-week crash course in crypto was keen to get butts on seats and give people a reason to care, even if they didn’t know much about Bitcoin before the course started.
Attendees received a free meal every evening they attended and a smartphone with a one-year data plan to help them incorporate the lessons into their real life.
Modules in the academy included “Careers in Crypto” and “Why Decentralization Matters.” For some, the lessons appear to have resonated.
“I thought Bitcoin was a scam,” Danny Craft told The Daily Beast. Following the course, the 56-year-old Brooklyn resident became a Bitcoin believer. “I come to find out, you’ve just got to know how to work it. When you put money into it, you just let it sit there, and you let it grow.”
At the completion of the course each attendee was gifted $1,000 in Bitcoin to help them begin their journey to financial freedom.
Participants were asked what they planned to do with the money. An unnamed graduate expressed their intention to hodl.
“If you take it out, then you lose the benefit of having something in the long run,” they said.
Not everyone gets it yet
While a number of respondents received the course well and came back with a newfound admiration of Bitcoin and all things decentralized, not everyone in the community was so impressed.
One local resident said the money would be better in a “real stock” instead of crypto. It is unclear however whether that resident actually attended the course.
One person who did attend said, “I took the class, but I really didn’t comprehend a lot.”
Following feedback, The Bitcoin Academy aims to learn lessons from its first run and is already thinking about how to improve “the next phase” of the program.
According to data assembled by Ariel Investments and Charles Schwab, subsequently reported by The Economist, 25% of black Americans hold some form of cryptocurrency compared to 15% of white Americans.
The disparity leaves room for speculation as to its cause. For some, the promise of stateless, censorship-resistant money, is one that resonates.
At the Black Blockchain Summit 2021, Bitcoin evangelists, both speakers and attendees, sang united from the same hymn sheet. The song was one of liberation and financial freedom.
As evidenced in emerging markets, the Bitcoin narrative is custom-built to appeal to people and communities who in some way feel disenfranchised by the legacy system. That holds true in countries with soaring inflation, or in states ruled by overbearing regimes, and in communities that in some way feel marginalized or left behind.
As reported by TIME, attendees at the Black Blockchain Summit conference even wore T-shirts that proclaimed, “SATOSHI IS BLACK.”
As the crypto maxim states, “We are all Satoshi,” and so, as adoption grows, Satoshi is all of us.
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