Having a group of fourteen year olds shuffling around a disruptive technology startup can be unsettling for even the most grizzled tech veteran. But the CoinJar team survived, and managed to introduce Melbourne University High School students to the world of Bitcoin while on a field-trip for Future Week.
Dodging games of ping-pong, mood boards and bean-bags, the students filled the whiteboard presentation room. First they got to quiz the co-founder of Angelcube, Nathan Sampimon, on startups and the coworking space where CoinJar began. His message: old models of work aren’t the only way. An idea, a solution, can be your vocation.
And one person who made a solution their vocation is Asher, the CEO from CoinJar, who took the floor, framed by a whiteboard that took up a whole wall.
At this point the idea of building ideas and solving problems seemed to catch the kids attention. The perfect time to introduce cryptocurrency.
The presentation was focussed primarily on how cryptocurrency solved the problems of traditional fiat money. It was light and easy and avoided the science of hashing, elliptical curve cryptography or other cryptomancy. He started instead by introducing other disruptive technologies, like VOIP over traditional phones and blogs over newspapers, giving examples of how ideas can disrupt markets.
Asher then took them through an overview of how Bitcoin worked, the difference between traditional fiat and virtual currencies, and the benefits of both. The kids quickly identified the advantage of de-centralised distribution networks and the core principles behind virtual currencies.
The real magic however was during question time. All of a sudden a quiet, almost nervous class came alive with questions. They quizzed Asher about market stability, system integrity, future values and of course the ultimate question: “Where do we get some?”.
It was amazing seeing young teenagers engaged in the technology and economics of bitcoin at that level. It was inspiring seeing such an innovative school and curriculum. One that exposes children to non-traditional workplaces and currencies as part of their learning.
Frankly the students and the teachers seemed pretty keen to start their own Bitcoin start-up at the end of the presentation, so maybe we’ll see BTC disruption in the education sector very soon.