— A Cryptocurrency Research Summer Program for High School Students

[It’s the FUTURE!]
– Darren L, high school

[Cryptocurrency is a concept that is extremely popular in conversation, yet is something very few people fully understand. Cryptocurrency fascinates me because it represents one of the biggest shifts in technology present-day, radically restructuring how businesses and people could potentially operate. Cryptocurrency research intersects a lot of social and governmental concerns because of it’s decentralization, which makes it an exciting topic not only in technology, but politics as well. Some of what makes the cryptocurrency movement so hard to popularize is that it is complex and hard to understand, which is why being able to take part in this program would be an incredibly useful opportunity for me to learn more about Cryptocurrency and it’s applications.]
– Kevin L, high school

As a student in my former life, I’ve always valued summer learning opportunities and internship experiences. From working as a McDonalds kitchen cook and cashier back when I was in a public high school in the Bronx, to doing my finance internships in Asia at Harvard, the experiences all contributed to making the person I am today. These opportunities took me out of my comfort zone, exposed me to a part of the real world, and helped me determine where I ultimately want to belong.

Now, I really wished that Cryptocurrency companies had summer internships available back then, but alas, that was when Mark Zuckerberg just launched Facebook on our campus. We could not even fathom the incoming of this new revolution.

Why is there a need for a summer program for students? Why can’t they learn on their own?

Cryptocurrency and blockchain technology rose so rapidly and became so prevalent in the last few years that traditional institutions have barely enough time to react to it. Given the complexity of the subject and the rapid rise of the space, cryptocurrency naturally paved out a path for the diligent and critical thinkers. As an example, all my formal crypto education, as I am sure is similar for most people, is from reading countless hours of medium posts and feverishly catching up on slack channels and Telegram posts. The industry is disrupting the traditional hierarchical nature of institutions, and re-allocating voices and power to those who are prescient and who are capable. We are also allocating ownership to the people, regardless of their age, gender, and race. In Cryptoland, the participants vary in age from 10–100 and we need to be able to provide resources for all of them if we want to make sure this space is sustainable.

While this revolution is happening, the traditional education institutions have not caught up. Colleges, for example, with the exception of some, mostly do not offer cryptocurrency curriculums. Despite that might change in the next few years and Ripple is already taking the initiative, it will be far few and in between to match the pace of growth in the crypto industry. And for high schools, it will be even harder for the teachers to incorporate cryptographic curriculums given the rigid structure and mandated requirements from the state and city education boards.

A summer program provides not only structure to learning when approaching such a complex subject, but more importantly, it forms a community of like-minded people and allows students to identify role models and mentors early on to help guide them through the learning process. As many of those who have had through positive summer learning experiences, the value of a working with like-minded people is exciting and there is potential to form forever lasting relationships. Being able to identify someone whom you look up to or really admire really foster a sense of drive and confidence that will propel them to do further more.

So while we are still waiting for the traditional institutions to fully grasp the concept of what cryptocurrency and blockchain technology will do to our world, in the Crypto space, we are already recognizing that there is not enough resources and talent, despite the massive sum of money that companies have raised.

We need to start training our talent early on in their careers for the sake of the crypto community. We need to teach the students that what they see in the news is only a partial truth, which is that —

Cryptocurrency is not just for gambling nor speculating purposes, it can be investing and have it’s value proven in the long term. Likewise, blockchain technology application is not just for creating Cryptokitties, but for creating the next Internet.

Cool cool, so what’s this program about?

In the students’ applications, I’ve asked them to do a mini-project to familiarize themselves with the process of researching Cryptocurrencies. As an example, Kevin L from a high school in New York did a good job on Ethereum:

I lay out all the details of the program at the bottom of this article page. But to sum up, by the end of the summer, we aim to have the students accomplish 3 things:

1- Understand one token and blockchain technology very deeply and create a presentation on it to explain to their family and friends.

2- Intelligently discuss how Cryptocurrency can potentially change finance, technology and other industries.

3- Learn some basic approaches to investing in Cryptocurrency.

If you are passionate about teaching Cryptocurrency to young people, we’d love to have you as one of our guest speakers! Please email or tweet to us at @globalcoinrsrch

Ok… but why should we support you?

I am not so much of a veteran in the cryptocurrency space, but I AM passionate about education and have been involved in technology and finance since college. When I learned about cryptocurrency last year, I realized my 4 years spent in Silicon Valley being an equity research analyst covering tech companies such as Box, Oracle and Salesforce really helped prepare me to understand this space, with all the intricacies of the technology as well as Token economics. I also spent a year at Blue Apron as the company went through one of the few technology company IPOs in New York in its history, which reminded me that a hustling and entrepreneurial mindset can get you as far as your heart desires. At the end of this program, I am not going to promise you that I will form the most savvy and sophisticated cryptocurrency curriculum, but rest assured that I will certainly foster a sense of passion and mission for cryptocurrency amongst these individuals.

One afternoon, I went to my AP Computer Science teacher one day to ask about the new Artificial Intelligence (AI) elective that would be offered next year. I told him that I wanted to take AI in the second semester of my senior year, since the teacher who would have taught it would have more experience teaching it. Looking at me pointedly, he told me, “there’s a certain excitement that goes along with being the first of any new subject.” I went home that day, realizing the worth of his saying: Computer Science is all about pioneering the way forward.

To me, bitcoin is a perfect example of that pioneering drive that makes Computer Science so alluring. It is the first cryptocurrency, meaning that it had no precedent to fall back on: the developer(s) behind bitcoin and its technology had to find and forge a way for themselves. They had to pioneer a path that no one had ever walked on before or had thought about before. This is what makes bitcoin my favorite coin: despite the all the challenges of trying to make an economically viable coin, the first of its kind, it was able to do so; we still feel the effects of the surmounting of that challenge economically and socially.
– Raunak C, high school

Blockchains for Schools Summer Program Curriculum Overview

Program attendees: ~10 high school and college students who will be local in New York City during the summer

Duration: 8 weeks

Start date: Last week of June, 2018

End date: August 17, 2018

Cadence of the program: minimum 2 days, maximum 5 days a week (this would allow time for students to have summer part jobs as well should they want to)

High level overview of the curriculum and the goals:

– For one of the days out of the week, students will be learning from a guest speaker and forming team discussions around a Cryptocurrency theme (see week by week schedule below)

– Every week, on the other days, the students will be working on projects in groups, to learn about different types of cryptocurrencies and eventually pick on one specific token to focus on.

– At the beginning of the program, each student will also receive a small sum of fiat money to invest and buy cryptocurrencies of their choice and track their performance throughout the summer.

Week by Week Curriculum :

Week 1:

Orientation Week (Meeting everyone, group assignment and general overview of Cryptocurrency on a very high level?—?types of cryptocurrency, what is a blockchain, what is the consensus mechanism)

Week 2:

Understanding Cryptocurrency in a deeper level (what is Lightening Network and Casper, how and what people building on top of the Ethereum Blockchain, etc)and choosing one or two tokens they want to do deeper research on for the summer

One of the days we will have a Guest Speaker

Week 3:

Understanding Cryptocurrency’s Impact on the Technology Space and continue to do research on the token they focused on

Week 4:

Understanding Cryptocurrency’s impact on the Financial Markets and the basics of Cryptocurrency exchanges and wallets. Continue to do research on the token they focused on

One of the days we will have Guest Speaker

Week 5:

Learning how to invest and assess Cryptocurrency coins; present to peers on their research progress thus far; continue to do research on the token they focused on

Week 6:

Understanding Cryptocurrency’s impact on other industries; continue to do research on the token they focused on

One of the days we will have Guest Speaker from the industry

Week 7:

Visit a Cryptocurrency company in New York; prepare for presentation on Cryptocurrency

Week 8:

Invite family and friends to come see their presentation and have Q&A. Presentation will be live streamed and recorded.

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