Local Initiatives Bring Bitcoin Education to Communities Across America

Bitcoin is becoming one of the biggest buzzwords in the world. Data from a July 2021 survey conducted by analytics firm Exploding Topics found that around 1,700 US adults, or 89% of respondents, had heard of Bitcoin. A recent survey by cryptocurrency platform Paxful also found that 95% of 1,555 women surveyed in the United States knew about Bitcoin.

Although the presence of Bitcoin (BTC) is notable, there still seems to be a lack of understanding regarding BTC and cryptocurrency. For example, Paxful’s survey found that 43% of female respondents in the US want to know more about Bitcoin, even though 95% of those people know BTC exists. Additionally, disadvantaged communities and minorities have expressed interest in learning more about bitcoin and crypto as digital assets grow in popularity.

Bitcoin in low-income US communities

In order to bring crypto education to those who need it most, grassroots initiatives are being launched across the United States that target disenfranchised communities.

For example, Najah Roberts, CEO of Crypto Blockchain Plug – a black-owned crypto education center based in Inglewood, California – told Cointelegraph that she will soon be visiting 41 cities across the United States to help communities. disenfranchised to understand the importance of Bitcoin:

“From May 29 to July 13, my team and I will travel to different cities in the United States to help people download digital wallets, while explaining to them why Bitcoin is of crucial importance for the black and brown community. We’ll be in some of the poorest cities in America, all within 45 days.

Known as “The Digital Financial Revolution Tour,” Roberts explained that this will be the second year that she has traveled across the country with a team of crypto experts to promote Bitcoin education. “We had previously reached about 2,000 people last year, which was incredible considering the world was still emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic,” Roberts said. Given the project’s previous success, Roberts believes this year’s tour will produce phenomenal results.

“We are going to organize “corner classes”, which means that we are going to set up in different corners in the middle of the city centers. Most people who stop by probably won’t be familiar with Bitcoin, while others may be familiar with it but want to learn more. My personal goal is to give everyone $10 worth of BTC just for signing up.

Roberts explained that the second tour of the digital financial revolution would begin in California in cities like Los Angeles and Oakland, and then head to Las Vegas, Arizona and New Mexico. “We plan to go to the poorer places first, like Lake Charles in Baltimore. We chose the most disenfranchised, unbanked and underbanked areas to educate people. Rather than hosting “corner classes” outside neutral locations like a local church, for example, Roberts explained that groups will congregate outside beauty salons and storefronts in the neighborhood. “I try to be objective on the scene so everyone feels comfortable going out and learning.”

While the idea of ​​traveling through 41 different cities in the United States within 45 days may seem difficult, Roberts shared that the biggest challenge this year is helping people in low-income communities understand why they actually need Bitcoin:

“We need to meet people where they are, even if that means going to estates or neighborhoods where politicians never even go. Our goal is not only to get people to understand Bitcoin, but also to change the way they think about money. It’s about financial literacy and understanding how money works.

Roberts isn’t alone in wanting to bring financial literacy to the masses. Bitcoin analyst Tony Tate told Cointelegraph that no one ever talked about money growing up because of community values. “No one ever talked about politics, religion or money where I’m from,” he said. Still, Tate said education has always been a priority for him, which is why he believes educating disenfranchised communities will make it easier for individuals to understand the potential of cryptocurrency:

“People should be afraid of fiat currency because it’s not backed by anything. Blockchain, however, is backed by proof-of-work or proof-of-stake mechanisms, so putting that education in the hands of people who don’t don’t have a lot of things makes them easier to understand.

To do this, Tate recently launched Litchain, a bitcoin education initiative that is expected to drive economic growth in the rural town of Gaffney, South Carolina. “We opened the doors to the first black-owned Bitcoin data center in Gaffney. The 20 modular data centers will house Bitcoin mining computers and create jobs that pay $60,000 or more,” he explained. Litchain Corporation’s new data center is one of Tate’s first three mining centers in the United States. He said the company aims to open 144 more across the country:

“All the time we hear about mining companies opening up somewhere, but we never see the faces behind them. It is very important that I open a BTC mining center in a community where people can put a name and a face on cryptocurrency adoption. This will accelerate mass adoption.

Tony Tate at the opening of Litchain’s Bitcoin data center in Gaffney. Source: Litchain

In addition to the Litchain data center, Tate said it is launching a five-year crypto education initiative on crypto literacy:

“This project will provide crypto education courses to minorities interested in learning more about crypto assets. Educational materials and outreach efforts will explain how crypto assets work and how they differ from traditional payment formats to illustrate how crypto could provide benefits to black and minority people who have historically been discriminated against by traditional banks.

According to Tate, this initiative will include a grassroots campaign, digital advertising and online courses provided by LitU, which is Tate’s online university that will also offer pop-up community courses in Philadelphia, New York, Washington DC, Houston , Chicago, Atlanta, Detroit, Cleveland, Charlotte and Charleston. Tate hopes these initiatives will inspire others to view Bitcoin as an improved financial inclusion system and a major step in closing the racial wealth gap in the United States. “Everyone has to get into crypto before the world gets into it,” he remarked.

An overview of Litchain’s Bitcoin data center in Gaffney. Source: Litchain

As Roberts and Tate launch large-scale initiatives, crypto influencer and YouTuber Wendy O told Cointelegraph during NFT LA that she will soon be launching a grassroots initiative in Los Angeles to teach young people between the ages of seven and seventeen. in Bitcoin, cryptocurrency and non-fungible tokens, or NFTs. Wendy O explained that she will be partnering with the Los Angeles-based Self-Care Lab Boxing and Fitness Club to host monthly get-togethers to teach kids about the blockchain and crypto ecosystem:

“In reality, anyone can participate in crypto. For example, I come from an underprivileged area of ​​Los Angeles, which is why it is important for me to include everyone in this initiative. I’ve hosted dozens of meetups in Los Angeles County since 2018 to create a place where people can learn about crypto without having to pay thousands of dollars for a conference ticket or receive coins , or even Bitcoin for that matter.

Related: NFT LA: Attract Massive Audiences, Focus on Web3 and Use Cases

Like Roberts and Tate, Wendy O wants to use cryptocurrency education as a way to promote personal finance. “Unfortunately, financial literacy is not taught in schools. But, when individuals learn how money works, they are able to change their spending habits and even break generational curses,” she said. Wendy O explained that when she first discovered Bitcoin in 2011, she was able to better understand fiat money and inflation. “I think these kids will be able to take that information and retrain their minds to do things differently than previous generations.”

Getting grassroots initiatives off the ground

While it is extremely remarkable that local initiatives are started by members of the crypto community, it is also important to recognize the challenges that can arise along the way.

For example, Roberts pointed out that last year’s Digital Financial Revolution Tour was completely self-funded, noting that she hopes to find sponsors this year. “We are talking with hardware wallet provider Ledger as we aim to give everyone physical wallets and show them how to store their seed phrases.” Wendy O also hopes to partner with a cryptocurrency wallet provider or exchange to ensure food and drink for her monthly meetups can be covered. “I would like to donate $25 worth of BTC to everyone who attends,” she said. Regardless of sponsorships, Roberts and Wendy O are optimistic that their projects will teach financial literacy to those in need simply by explaining how Bitcoin and cryptocurrency work.

Grassroots initiatives sponsored by crypto companies have proven to be very successful given the additional help. For example, GoodDollar — a nonprofit financial education and inclusion protocol on Web3 — launched an ambassador program early last year to allow its 350,000 community members to distribute a free universal basic income crypto to anyone with access to a mobile phone and an internet connection.

Jessica Salama, Community Manager at GoodDollar, told Cointelegraph that individual GoodDollar Ambassadors make progress in spreading crypto by showing others how to use and access digital currency.

She said GoodDollar Ambassador Etugbo Obokparo Stephen in Nigeria organized local meetups at his university to help other students open their first digital wallets and start learning the fundamentals of Web3, crypto and of the blockchain. “His initial gathering was the first ever blockchain conference in his locality,” Salama said.

Stephen further told Cointelegraph, “I have always connected with people on social media, but when I joined the GoodDollar ambassador program, I was able to attract more people to crypto because they have supported my initiative financially and with words of encouragement.”

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