At a summer camp in Los Angeles, children enjoyed petting zoo animals, drinking juice during snack time and playing a game of tossing balls.
To keep up with the hectic pace of digital currency, starting this Monday, Crypto Kids Camp has been teaching children about bitcoin. During the five-day activity, the children will participate in the usual summer camp activities, along with a ground-breaking course on how to think, buy and even mine bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

This week, 26 children aged 5 to 17 joined the class, with the idea that no one is too young to be part of the bitcoin economy. Most of the children were not white, and that was a deliberate mistake by the organizers.

"Most of us grew up in schools and no one taught us how money works," said camp founder Najah Roberts, who is black and has started summer camps to try to bridge the gap. rich and poor between races.

Camps are part of a trend aimed at young people and even children, diving into cryptocurrency through online exchanges, school clubs, social media and other sites. other store. In Georgia, state lawmakers this year considered a bill that would require high school students to take a course in personal finance that includes cryptocurrencies.

Although computer programming camps have been around for years, bitcoin camps are relatively new.

Roberts, 50, founded the nonprofit camp in 2019 after several years as a bitcoin investor and entrepreneur. She owns a business nearby where people can get direct help to buy two cryptocurrencies, bitcoin and ethereum - this is an unusual digital currency exchange that retails virtual currency.

Roberts says the bitcoin camp is intended to expose kids to topics like the history of money and how money is traded — especially black people, or other communities she considers less capable. ability to learn about cryptocurrencies through family, friends or school.

Kids will have a one week bitcoin course, every day they learn about a different emerging technology.

Roberts has an acronym, BEASTMODE, to track everything like: Blockchain, Evolution of Money, Artificial Intelligence, Security (network), Technology (virtual reality), Mining and machine learning , Online Games, Drones and Engineering.

No one is too young to understand and own bitcoin, nor is there a minimum age to have USD. Many crypto exchanges set a minimum age in their terms of service, typically 18, and enforce the requirement through bank-style rules, but not all exchanges do. so.

Cryptocurrencies have gone through a wild ride over the past year, many rallies and drops in just a few months. Although there are still many skeptics about cryptocurrencies, some in the tech industry still believe that they will be an important part of the future. Andreessen Horowitz, one of the largest venture capital firms, says it has raised $2.2 billion for a new fund targeting cryptocurrencies and related technologies.

According to a survey this year of 7,000 teenagers in the US by investment bank Piper Sandler, around 9% of teens say they have traded cryptocurrencies. Of those, 81% are male.

And for some young people, online bitcoin wallets are a lot more exciting than the old savings method: a traditional "kids savings account" at a commercial bank, opened with approval. and supervision of a parent or guardian.

“Cryptocurrency will take over the universe,” said Ashlynne Whitt, who attended Roberts' first Crypto Camp two years ago at the age of 16, saying the camp taught her how to build a mining machine. from scratch, and helped her earn $200.

Whitt currently works for Roberts and plans to attend Santa Monica University this fall to study computer science and try to expand the popularity of digital currencies.

“Any company and any store will eventually accept bitcoin or some kind of digital currency,” she said.

Roberts' bitcoin camp may be the only one that teaches kids about bitcoin in the US, though it is starting to inspire others, especially black bitcoin investors.

Isaiah Jackson, author of the book "Bitcoin and Black America" and a bitcoin developer, said he plans to start signing up for an online crypto camp. Part of the motivation, he said, is to make sure young black people aren't left behind in an emerging field the way they did in the rise of the Internet. He noted that none of the major tech CEOs are black.

“If bitcoin goes mainstream, blacks need to get on board, so we need to start now,” he said. “Literally, Bitcoin was made for us to be autonomous.”

The camp will use a child-focused book, "Bitcoin Elementary." And the final project in the camp will be to create an indelible token, i.e. NFT, a digital file like a work of art that is certified as unique with blockchain technology.

Square, a San Francisco-based digital payments company, has committed to funding Jackson's camp and is seeking other donations. The camp will be geared towards kids in grades 6 through 10 - the age at which they already have experience with online tokens through gaming platforms like Roblox.

"The kids have seen the digital currency. They understand it. And you just have to put them on the right path and teach them what to do," he said.

"Parents should teach children to be responsible with bitcoin, just like with any other form of money. I don't think anyone should be restricted from owning bitcoin," he said.

At summer camp in Los Angeles, children demonstrate what they already know. When Roberts asked the children to name some cryptocurrencies, the children shouted several including Dogecoin and Shiba Inu.

Roberts also spent time learning the history of money, explaining how trade has evolved over time, from the exchange of animals to the use of seashells for money to the printing of post-government banknotes. contradiction.

Ciris Hendricks, the camp's chief executive, said it plans to teach more children if there is no risk of Covid-19 and to comply with local health regulations. And ultimately they want to encourage public schools to adopt similar programs, not just in Los Angeles but across the country.

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