Why are Jay-Z and Jack Dorsey teaching poor kids Bitcoin?

In another instance of wealthy people slinging crypto to the financially vulnerable, rapper Jay-Z and Twitter founder Jack Dorsey have teamed up again to launch a financial literacy program called The Bitcoin Academy, serving residents of Brooklyn’s Marcy Houses , where Jay-Z grew up, about the world of cryptocurrency and how to avoid scams.

In a tweet announcing the new project Thursday, Dorsey said wrote“[B]itcoin is becoming an important tool for many in Africa, Central and South America. We believe the same potential exists in communities across the United States. Our goal is to prove that providing people with powerful tools enables greater independence.”

He added: “Education is the starting point. This isn’t just about bitcoin…it’s about long-term thinking, local economies, and self-belief. Classes are free for all Marcy residents, including children. And to make it even easier, we provide devices and data plans for everyone who needs them.”

According to the Bitcoin Academy website, the free, bi-weekly courses — beginning June 22 — will be held online and in-person for 12 weeks, with a dinner set aside for in-person attendees. All participants will receive MiFi devices with a one-year limited data plan and smartphones to keep. Additionally, a separate Crypto Kids Camp for residents aged 5 to 17 will be held on two Saturdays.

That’s correct. A kid still learning how to read and add numbers will have the opportunity to learn (and most likely forget) about blockchains instead of having their groceries paid for or their savings donated thanks to the “generosity” of two exorbitantly wealthy guys.

As you can imagine, the response to Jay-Z and Dorsey’s initiative on social media was swift, with users mostly slamming Jay-Z. At a time when Hollywood’s biggest entertainers are tweeting ominous metaverse warnings and parading their hideous monkey NFTs, celebrities who are part of the “cryptocurrency revolution” — usually to steal cash — are increasingly being blamed for misleading the public . For example, Kim Kardashian and Floyd Mayweather Jr. are currently being sued for misleadingly advertising cryptocurrency token EthereumMax, which quickly plummeted in value after Kardashian pasted it on her Instagram Stories last year.

“At a time when Hollywood’s biggest entertainers are tweeting ominous metaverse warnings and parading their hideous monkey NFTs, celebrities who are part of the “cryptocurrency revolution” — usually to steal cash — are increasingly being blamed for misleading the public .”

Namely, these recommendations, sent to millions of followers on social media, usually omit the risk of entering a highly risky market where participants are often subject to fraud and, in the case of NFTs, their art is stolen — not to mention of which Bitcoin production leaves a significant carbon footprint.

Likewise, the internet seemed largely aware that Jay-Z’s efforts might do more harm than good, and wasn’t much different than taking the residents of Marcy on a weekly trip to a casino. Yet even if the financial literacy program did not include learning about crypto, the notion that poverty is determined by individual behavior rather than structural forces is both misguided and deeply offensive. It is also characteristic of the Jay-Z brand.

A staunch supporter of capitalism, the musician has long proposed black ownership and “financial freedom” as a path to liberation, as opulence has become a larger theme in the later parts of his oeuvre. He’s also known for scolding black people for not managing their money properly — as in the song “The Story of OJ” from his 2017 album 4:44. He controversially rapped, “Want to know what’s more important than throwing away money at a strip club? / Credit / Have you ever wondered why Jews own all property in America? / That’s how they did it / Financial freedom is my only hope.” And on the Pharrell Williams-backed track “Entrepreneur,” a poorly received response to the Black Lives Matter protests of 2020, he instructs listeners to “for to support every Gucci two FUBUs”.

Marcy Houses, former home of rapper Jay-Z, in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York on April 15, 2016.

Raymond Boyd/Getty

These financial principles are popular in mainstream hip-hop and among members of the black elite. It is more beneficial for black celebrities to tell their followers how to spend their meager paychecks than to advocate for free health care or affordable housing. Rapper 21 Savage was met with similar skepticism when he announced a virtual financial literacy class using the mobile banking app Chime in 2020. And that “invest in your community” rhetoric was a point of criticism in an episode of Atlanta last season.

While everyone should learn how to budget, it’s safe to say that this particular gesture by Jay-Z and Dorsey — as they redistribute the smallest fraction of their wealth — could have a much larger, material impact on the lives of these residents – stingy and stingy is, frankly, rude.

Unfortunately, both businessmen understand that many people in desperate financial situations are ready to accept crumbs. It is understandable that potential Bitcoin Academy participants would be keen to get their hands on what is being sold to them as a gateway to sustainable wealth. But even low-income people are often conscious of their economic situation, how they got there, and the systems they constantly screw up. Hopefully they’ll grab their new smartphones, free dinners, and tell these two billionaires to fuck off.

https://www.thedailybeast.com/why-are-jay-z-and-jack-dorsey-teaching-bitcoin-to-poor-kids?source=articles&via=rss Why are Jay-Z and Jack Dorsey teaching poor kids Bitcoin?

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