Bitcoin is becoming one of the buzzwords in the world. Data from a July 2021 survey by analytics company Exploding Topics revealed that approximately 1,700 American adults, or 89% of the participants, had heard of Bitcoin. A recent survey by cryptocurrency platform Paxful also found that 95% of women out of 1,555 surveyed in the United States were familiar with Bitcoin.
Although the presence of Bitcoin (BTC) is notable, there still seems to be a lack of understanding regarding BTC and cryptocurrencies. For example, the Paxful survey found that 43% of women surveyed in the United States want to learn more about Bitcoin, even though 95% of these people know that BTC exists. Additionally, disadvantaged communities and minorities have expressed an interest in learning about Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies as digital assets gain popularity.
Bitcoin in low-income American communities
To bring cryptocurrency education to those who need it most, grassroots initiatives are being launched across the United States targeting disadvantaged communities.
For example, Najah Roberts, CEO of Crypto Blockchain Plug—a black-owned cryptocurrency education center based in Inglewood, California—told Cointelegraph that she will soon be traveling to 41 cities across the United States to help disenfranchised communities understand the importance of Bitcoin:
“From May 29 to July 13, my team and I will be going to different cities in the US to help people download digital wallets, as well as educate them on why Bitcoin is critically important to the black and brown community. We’ll be in some of the poorest cities in America, all in a 45-day period.”
Known as “The Digital Financial Revolution Tour,” Roberts explained that this will be the second year he will travel across the country with a team of crypto experts to promote Bitcoin education. “Last year we reached about 2,000 people, which was incredible considering the world was still coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Ella Roberts said. Given the previous success of the project, Roberts believes this year’s tour will produce phenomenal results.
“We are going to be running ‘corner classes’, which means we will be setting up on different corners in the center of cities. Chances are most of the people who come by don’t know about Bitcoin, while others already know about it. but they want to know more. My personal goal is to give everyone $10 worth of BTC just for signing up.”
Roberts detailed that the second Digital Financial Revolution Tour will kick off 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 poorest places first, like Lake Charles in Baltimore. We have chosen the most disadvantaged areas, with no banks and few banks, to educate people.” Instead of holding “corner classes” outside of neutral venues like a local church, for example, Roberts explained that groups will meet in front of neighborhood beauty salons and storefronts. “I try to be objective about places so everyone feels comfortable coming to learn.”
Although the idea of traveling to 41 different cities in the United States in a period of 45 days may seem difficult, Roberts shared that the biggest challenge this year is helping people in low-income communities understand why they really need Bitcoin:
“We have to meet people where they are, even if that means going to housing projects or neighborhoods that politicians never visit. 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 education and understanding how money works.”
Roberts is not alone in trying to bring financial education to the masses. Bitcoin analyst Tony Tate told Cointelegraph that no one talked about money when he was growing up because of community values. “Nobody talked about politics or religion or money where I come from,” he said. However, Tate stated that education has always been a priority for him, which is why he believes that educating disenfranchised communities will make it easier for people to understand the potential of cryptocurrency:
“People should be afraid of fiat money because it’s not backed by anything. Blockchain, however, is backed by proof-of-work or proof-of-stake mechanisms, so putting this education in the hands of people who don’t have much makes it easier for them.” comprehension.”
To achieve this, Tate recently launched Litchain, a Bitcoin education initiative that is expected to spur 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,” she explained. Litchain Corporation’s new data center is one of Tate’s first three mining centers in the US He said the company aims to open 144 more across the country:
“All the time we hear about mining companies opening their doors somewhere, but we never see the faces behind them. It is very important that you open a BTC mining center in a community where people can associate a name and one face with cryptocurrency adoption. This will make mass adoption faster.”
In addition to the Litchain data center, Tate said it is launching a five-year crypto education initiative on crypto literacy:
“This project will offer crypto education courses to minorities interested in learning 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 cryptocurrencies could offer benefits to blacks and minorities 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, which will also offer pop-up community classes in Philadelphia, New York, Washington DC, Houston, Chicago, Atlanta. , Detroit, Cleveland, Charlotte and Charleston. Tate hopes that these initiatives will inspire others to consider Bitcoin as an improved financial inclusion system and an important step in closing the racial wealth gap in America. “Everyone has to wrap their minds around crypto before the world wraps its arms around it,” she noted.
While both Roberts and Tate are launching large-scale initiatives, crypto influencer and YouTuber Wendy O told Cointelegraph during NFT LA that she will soon be launching a local grassroots initiative in Los Angeles to teach seven to seventeen-year-olds about Bitcoin, cryptocurrencies, and non-fungible tokens, or NFTs. Wendy O explained that she will be partnering with Los Angeles-based boxing and fitness club Self-Care Lab to host monthly meetups teaching kids about the blockchain and cryptocurrency ecosystem:
“Actually, anyone can participate in the crypto space. For example, I come from a disadvantaged neighborhood in Los Angeles, so it is important for me to include everyone in this initiative. I have organized dozens of meetups in Los Angeles County since 2018 to create a place for people to learn about crypto without having to pay thousands of dollars for a conference ticket or even Bitcoin for that matter.”
Like Roberts and Tate, Wendy O wants to use cryptocurrency education as a way to promote personal finance. “Financial education is not taught in schools, unfortunately. But when people 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 was introduced to Bitcoin in 2011 she was able to better understand fiat money and inflation. “I think these kids will be able to take this information and retrain their minds to do things differently than previous generations.”
Launch grassroots initiatives
While it is highly notable that members of the cryptocurrency community launch grassroots initiatives, it is also important to recognize the challenges that may arise along the way.
For example, Roberts noted that last year’s Digital Financial Revolution Tour was entirely self-funded, noting that he hopes to get sponsors this year. “We are in the process of talking to hardware wallet provider Ledger as our goal is 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 drinks for her monthly gatherings can be covered. “I would like to give $25 worth of BTC to everyone who attends,” she said. Regardless of sponsorships, both Roberts and Wendy O are optimistic that their projects will educate those in need about financial literacy simply by explaining how Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies work.
Grassroots initiatives sponsored by cryptocurrency companies have proven very successful thanks to the added support. For example, GoodDollar—a nonprofit protocol for financial education and inclusion on Web3—launched an ambassador program early last year for its 350,000 community members to distribute free crypto universal basic income to anyone. with access to a mobile phone and an Internet connection.
Jessica Salama, head of the GoodDollar community, told Cointelegraph that individual GoodDollar ambassadors are furthering the spread of cryptocurrencies by showing others how to use and access them.
He said GoodDollar ambassador Etugbo Obokparo Stephen in Nigeria has organized local meetups at his university to help his peers open their first digital wallets and start learning the fundamentals of Web3, cryptography and blockchain. “Their initial meeting of his was the first blockchain conference ever held in his town,” Salama said.
To promote Crypto Education @gooddollarorg and I helped a student in Nigeria to get a new smartphone to study and start his Crypto journey. It’s my desire to do more. I was supposed to go around Schools early this month to further do Crypto Education… pic.twitter.com/dXAkgTU86J
— StevE (@StevE78846497) April 7, 2022
To promote cryptocurrency education @gooddollarorg and I helped a student in Nigeria to get a new smartphone to study and start his journey. It is my desire to do more. It was supposed to go around schools earlier this month to do more crypto-focused education.
Stephen further told Cointelegraph: “I have always communicated with people on social media, but when I joined the GoodDollar ambassador program, I was able to attract more people to crypto because they supported my initiative financially and with words of encouragement.”