Jack Dorsey and Jay-Z under fire for bitcoin education program in Brooklyn public housing complex

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Jack Dorsey and Jay-Z are facing questions after launching an educational program at a Brooklyn public housing complex that billionaires say will help marginalized communities achieve financial independence through cryptocurrencies.

The Bitcoin Academy program will first be open to residents of Marcy Houses, where real-name rapper and entrepreneur Shawn Carter grew up, according to its website.

Organizers said residents can attend free bitcoin-focused financial education classes twice a week during the summer. They said they plan to expand the project to other neighborhoods.

Dorsey and Jay-Z fund the program themselves. Dorsey, the co-founder of Twitter and CEO of payment company Block, is worth around $5 billion, while Jay-Z’s net worth is around $1.3 billion, according to Forbes.

“Education is where we start. It’s not just about bitcoin, it’s about long-term thinking, local economies, and self-confidence,” Dorsey said. tweeted Thursday.

He and Jay-Z are longtime supporters of bitcoin. Last year, the pair created a bitcoin endowment to fund cryptocurrency projects in Africa and India, TechCrunch reported.

However, the value of the program has been questioned by some critics. Cryptocurrencies are largely unregulated and their value is extremely volatile.

Bitcoin is trading at around $30,000, more than 40% lower than its recent high of around $69,000 in November. “The way bitcoin fluctuates, I really struggle to understand the point of this,” one Twitter user said. chatterbox on the program.

Others have also questioned whether the two billionaires should help vulnerable communities more directly. “If you asked the residents of Marcy Houses how best to meet their needs, how many would say ‘a bitcoin class’?” crypto enthusiast Austin Robey asked Dorsey in a live tweet.

There are also concerns that putting cryptocurrencies in the hands of marginalized communities could make them more vulnerable to financial fraud.

Tonantzin Carmona, a member of Brookings Metro, told TechCrunch, “They say you’re going to have financial freedom, but that also means you have access to the volatility and complexity of cryptocurrency. You have access to a space that is plagued by scams, frauds, hacks and all sorts of things because there is no consumer protection in place.”

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