Circle, the company behind the USDC stablecoin, is venturing into education with a digital financial literacy program. The program, aptly called Digital Financial Literacy Curriculum, will onboard youth in California’s Bay Area into Web3 by focusing on bitcoin, blockchains, non-fungible tokens, and stablecoins.
The program comes in partnership with Junior Achievement of Northern California (JA), which is part of the world’s largest organization dedicated to educating students about financial literacy, entrepreneurship, and work readiness. JA focuses on experiential learning that inspires and prepares youth to succeed in the global economy.
As part of the Digital Financial Literacy Curriculum, JA will oversee Circle’s scholars program, which will offer 20 $5,000 scholarships towards post-secondary education. Scholars will come from a pool of program participants between 2023 and 2025 who exhibit the skills necessary to succeed in higher education.
The focus of the Circle’s program will be on internet-native financial services, which are becoming increasingly popular throughout the world. An example of a growing internet-native financial service is decentralized finance (DeFi), of which the blockchain and cryptocurrencies are a foundation.
The announcement, made through a press release, marks the full roll out of the program. Participants in a smaller, pilot program rated the first course 4.1 out of 5 stars and said they would recommend it as a valuable resource for high school students and young adults. The move comes as Web3 tech is upending education, as we covered two weeks ago.
Mercina Tillemann-Perez, VP at Circle, said that a key part of the company’s mission is to ensure that everyone knows how to participate in this growing digital economy. The program will prep students with the resources to build the next generation of financial services and create a more inclusive community.
Rarity Sniper Speaks with Junior Achievement
To get the details on this new venture, Rarity Sniper reached out to Junior Achievement of Northern California with some questions. Taran Barca-Hall, Regional Director at JA, responded.
What do you hope this program will bring to the Web3 space?
The future of Web3 depends on equitable access to high-quality education. This program aims to empower and educate students with the resources to participate in and build the next generation of financial services and create a more inclusive industry.
What do you hope its impact will be in the wider (non-Web3) community?
Part of Junior Achievement’s core purpose has long been to “de-mystify” complex personal finance concepts through engaging, age-appropriate lessons that help youth understand the world of money and take ownership of their future economic success. The All About Crypto curriculum development project is a natural continuation of that longstanding tradition, updated for the digital age.
Could you give some details about the curriculum itself – especially in reference to non-fungible tokens?
The two-part curriculum will focus on the history and evolution of money, bitcoin, blockchain, NFTs and stablecoins. As of today, only Lesson 1 has been developed to a pilot-ready stage. Students review a brief history of trade and currency and are introduced to the building blocks of cryptocurrency – including cryptography, ledgers and blockchain technology.
The lesson begins with an interactive slide deck and group discussion and concludes with a game-based, small-group activity that challenges teams of students to develop and share their own encrypted messages, then pass those messages to their classmates (creating a chain).
A fun and easy way to understand representation of the underlying structure behind blockchain. We plan to address NFT’s within Lesson 2, which is in the early stages of development.
Web3 Reaches Education, Sparks Innovation
As Rarity Sniper covered two weeks ago, NFTs are leaving their mark on education, upending and decentralizing an industry not known for innovation. This includes the infamous TinyTap NFTs, which sold for tens of thousands of dollars last year by bundling top courses with tokens and ownership rights. Here are some other stories.
First, three weeks ago, Bank of America (BoA) revealed that it is training its employees using the metaverse and artificial intelligence. With those technologies, BoA can simulate high-stress situations without there being danger, and train employees to react appropriately.
Next, seven months ago, Japan prepared to offer courses in the metaverse to curb absenteeism. Called Room-K, the program had several aims, including investigating what environments kids would feel comfortable in and helping them get a sense of belonging.
Lastly, about a year ago, ViewSonic brought education to the metaverse through its “UNIVERSE” platform. The company billed UNIVERSE as a full-scale platform where students could take educational courses in a virtual environment.
As these stories show, Web3 is transforming education as we speak, resulting in new ways of teaching and engaging students beyond the traditional classroom. Rarity Sniper has followed up with Circle and will update this article if it responds.