At a summer camp, juice boxes and bitcoin mining

Whitt now works for Roberts and plans to attend Santa Monica College this fall to study computer science while trying to increase the popularity of digital currencies.

“My friends, you look at money differently than just buying the newest pair of shoes,” she said. “Bitcoin, it’s going somewhere. Every company and business will accept Bitcoin or some type of digital currency. ”

Roberts’ camp may be the only one of its kind in the US, although it is starting to inspire others, especially among black Bitcoin investors.

Isaiah Jackson, author of the book Bitcoin & Black America and a Bitcoin podcaster said they plan to sign up for an online-only cryptocurrency camp in July next week. Part of the motivation, he said, is to make sure that black teens aren’t left behind in an emerging field like they were when the internet evolved. No big tech CEOs are black, he noted.

“If Bitcoin goes mainstream, blacks have to be involved, so we have to start now,” he said. “Bitcoin is literally made for us to be sovereign.”

The warehouse will use a child-oriented one book, “Basic Bitcoin Knowledge”. And the final project at camp will be to create a non-fungible token, or NFT, a digital file like a work of art that certified as unique with blockchain technology.

Square, a San Francisco-based digital payments company, has pledged to fund Jackson’s camp, he said, and is looking for more donations. His camp is aimed at children in grades 6 through 10 – an age at which they have already gained experience with online tokens through gaming platforms like Roblox, he said.

“You saw digital money. You understand. And you just have to put them on the right track and teach them what to do, ”he said.

“Parents should teach them to be responsible just like any other form of money, but I don’t think anyone should be prevented from owning Bitcoin,” he said.

Najah J. Roberts, founder of Crypto Blockchain Plug and Crypto Kids Camp in San Pedro, California.Maggie Shannon / for NBC News

Some of the kids attending cryptocurrency summer camps have been kicked off by their parents, said Maunda Land, a Florida consultant and investor who launched an online-only camp this week. Of the five students in her first camp, four had parents who owned digital currency, she said.

And since the students are minors, they may need their parents’ help to fund their digital wallet through a bank account or other payment method first, she said.

“Her homework was to get her wallet financed,” she said. But already, she added, “A couple of them had a little crypto that their parents bought for them.”

At the Los Angeles camp, the children showed how much they already knew. When Roberts asked them at the beginning of the camp if they could name some types of cryptocurrencies, they called out several, including Dogecoin and the Shiba Inu token.

She also spent time going through the history of the currency and explaining how its trade evolved over time from bartering animals to using clams as money to printing paper money backed by governments.

Ciris Hendricks, the camp’s chief operations officer, said they had planned more children to attend if it weren’t for the uncertainty about Covid-19 and local health regulations. Finally, they want to encourage public schools to introduce similar programs, not just in Los Angeles but across the country.

“We want to set it up so that it can be found in every city,” she said.

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