The Agenda Podcast discusses the importance of financial literacy and education in Part 2 of a conversation with BTC advocate and entrepreneur Naja Roberts.
Can Bitcoin help black Americans build wealth in a country that has historically and deliberately prevented them from doing so? The Agenda Podcast recently caught up with Naja Roberts, a Bitcoin educator and entrepreneur, to explore this question.
In Part 1 of the conversation, published on February 1, Roberts told hosts Jonathan DeYoung and Ray Salmond that bitcoin
may be the greatest opportunity black Americans have had to bridge the country’s wealth gap. She emphasized the importance of community financial sovereignty and control over one’s own money, which can help lift the spirits of entire generations.
In Part 2 of their conversation, published on February 15th, DeYoung and Salmond talk with Roberts about building financial literacy, the challenges of running a community-driven crypto exchange, and how to work with children and teens to prepare them for blockchain and technology a revolution already underway.
Self-sufficiency and self-care
While Bitcoin may offer a path to self-sufficiency, Roberts firmly believes that investment moves should be made alongside best practices in financial literacy: “Never invest more than you can afford to lose. That’s the basic principle.” She emphasized that Bitcoin is not a “get-rich-quick” scheme – adding “be very careful what you invest in as not all coins are created equal and most of these coins are created to extract money from your bank account.”
Roberts pointed out that financial literacy is rarely taught in schools and believes this is by design:
“If they have people who don’t know better, they’re not going to do better. And they still have people who are going to work in this country and they really don’t understand that they are working for money instead of letting the money work for them. And so the select few who get that memo do well. So, as we move into this new digital space, education must be an essential element for both children and adults.
Roberts pushes the importance of education with his traditional Bitcoin exchange, which has two components: Bitcoin Bank is a for-profit exchange, while Crypto Blockchain Plug is a non-profit education center that teaches people the ABCs of BTC. However, the entities’ focus on self-service and not owning client assets created some challenges for Roberts, who explained that it was difficult to find a banking partner:
“They told me I should have at least a million dollars a day. I don’t make a million dollars a day. I don’t do some of the things that some other exchanges do to make sure they line their pockets because we take money from individuals immediately and give them their bitcoins immediately. We do not hold their bitcoins. We teach them to be independent from day one.”
Cryptocurrencies are for children
While many adults remain skeptical of cryptocurrencies — or simply don’t understand them — Roberts said children and teenagers often instinctively understand blockchain’s potential. He runs Crypto Kids Camp, an educational program for children and teenagers in urban and rural areas, teaching participants cutting-edge technologies such as non-fungible tokens (NFTs), virtual reality, drones, and more.
In Roberts’ experience, “digital currency is like second nature to them” because “they’re already using it in video games. They’re buying stuff with Robux and they’re already doing all these other things.
Ultimately, Roberts wants to convey to both children and their parents that learning new technologies opens up new opportunities for growth and success. “We remind kids of all these things early on,” Roberts said, adding:
“Our kids need to be aware of these technologies so that as they grow up and their parents are watching them, they actually manage them in the space that’s most important to them, not really what we want as parents or what we want as teachers, because it does not bode well. […] What we want to do is show kids every aspect of technology so they can choose what works or what they like best. And then that parent can take that and have something to build on.”
To hear more from Roberts, watch the full episode of The Agenda on Cointelegraph’s new podcast site, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or TuneIn—and be sure to check out other new Cointelegraph shows.