Teaching Kids Finance and Smart Spending With Cryptocurrency

Show a fourth grader how to balance a cheque book, and it won’t be long before his eyes start to glaze over, or his mind starts to wander off to more interesting things. Infuse a financial literacy lesson with terms like bitcoin or cryptocurrency, however, and the lesson gets a bit more interesting. Better yet, give the student a very hands-on, tech-centric way to experiment with those financial concepts, and suddenly you’re in an entirely new learning realm.

As it stands now, a high percentage of K-12 students never getting the tools and training they need to make informed financial decisions. Only a third of students while less than half require them to take a course in economics before graduating. So, in a push to make learning more relevant—and fun—a pair of start-ups HubPod School, are fusing gamification with finance, propped up by digital currency tokens. Call it the 21st century piggy bank.

You don’t just get things for free or have them handed to you; you have to work for them and earn them- Jett and Ben, Founders and CEO- HubPod School

Fifth & sixth -grade students Jett and Ben thinks it’s a great idea. They have been piloting the Crypto currency Kids Class platform at HubPod School in Toronto, Ontario., for the few months. The class lets students earn “coins” that they can use to play video games, unlock new games and otherwise engage in “fun time” via the platform. Jett and Ben, say being able to earn coins for good work teaches students the value of a dollar—or perhaps a bitcoin.

“You don’t just get things for free or have them handed to you; you have to work for them and earn them,” say Jett and Ben. “This platform helps my students understand the value of money at a young age, and at a time when we’re seeing a push for starting financial literacy at a younger age.” That way, when those students get to middle and high school, she adds, they already have foundational knowledge of saving, budgeting and finance.

Jett and Ben see great potential for a platform that incorporates bitcoin, cryptocurrency, saving for college and micro-saving into the mix—all concepts that digital natives will likely want to learn more about and experiment with. It is particularly relevant for students who may not have traditionally had the chance to further their educations past high school.

“Let’s get them thinking about how to start earning and saving money for university” before they get there, say Jett and Ben, “and offer up some type of scholarship (e.g., funded by outside investors) that helps kids get responsible about their own financial literacy.” The boys have started to foster those relationships with prospect investors.

Asking for Handouts

When Jett and Ben decided to offer Crypto Currency Kids Class they both had themselves in mind. The boys realize that kids don’t get the concept of money, and just keep asking their parents for money when they need it,” says Jett and Ben, founders and CEO of HubPod School. To help themselves and other kids from the Alpha Generation wrap their minds around where that $20 bill really comes from, they built a platform that allows them to earn and stash away tokens in a “piggybank,” see how much they’re earning from week-to-week and then review their spending. Crypto currency Kids, operates on a system based on real money, which more closely resembles traditional cryptocurrencies, with some added safeguards and parental controls.

Ultimately, Jett and Ben are tying lessons to financial literacy via gamification—and bringing in both teachers and parents to the fold—helps create a very holistic approach to money, university savings, spending and other concepts.

“Kids just naturally understand games because everything in them is very clearly illustrated—if you do this you’ll lose a life, and if you do this you’ll gain energy, and so forth,” Jett and Ben explain. “We’ve been able to tie everything together in an engaging manner that students actually understand.”

We’re teaching all of the things that a traditional piggybank doesn’t teach kids, Jett and Ben, Founders and CEO’s- HubPod School

The Codification of Money

Jett and Ben want to reinvent the piggybank and use it to introduce students as young as eight years old to financial education. Jett and Ben are driven by the sad reality that many people enter adulthood with “very little understanding of how money works,” and that leads to high debt levels, huge student loans, and mismanaged credit.

“This seriously limits their choices in life,” says Jett and Ben, who sees elementary school as a great foundation for empowering students to make better choices, and earlier in life. To help make that happen, Crypto currency Kids Class allows students to put a coin in their virtual “pig,” smash that pig, and then use the money in it as needed. Along the way, students determine how much they need for daily use, how much they should save and how much they should stash away for longer-term goals like college or investing.

“We’re teaching all of the things that a traditional piggybank doesn’t teach kids,” says Jett and Ben.

The platform also incorporates concepts like cryptocurrency and blockchain and teaches them how a single cent to millions of dollars can be transferred around the world within just a few seconds. This “codification of money” (codification of the act, process, or result of arranging in a systematic form or code), is still in its infancy, “disrupting the world of money,” says Jett and Ben, and pushing schools to tackle financial literacy from an entirely new angle.

“Education should be forward-looking and reflective of the realities of the world that we live in today,” says Jett and Ben. “To get there, it’s going to have to follow suit and pay attention in the same way that education is starting to pay attention to computer coding. The same will happen for financial education, we are sure.”

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