While the cryptocurrency craze continues to grip the public consciousness, there remains a large information gap as to what, exactly, crypto is and how it’s used and functions. Now, JAY-Z and business partner and Block co-founder/CEO Jack Dorsey are aiming to change that for a community close to JAY’s heart: the residents of the Marcy Houses, where he was born and raised in Brooklyn.
Today (June 9), JAY and Dorsey announced they’ll be funding a new education initiative called The Bitcoin Academy, designed “to provide education and empower the community with knowledge” about the cryptocurrency world and financial field in general, according to a press release. The program, which is in collaboration with Crypto Blockchain Plug and Black Bitcoin Billionaire, will initially be available to those who live in the Marcy Houses complex, with expansion into other neighborhoods in the plans for the future.
Mr @sc and I are funding The #Bitcoin Academy, a program for residents of Marcy Houses in Brooklyn New York where Jay grew up, designed in collaboration with @CryptoPlug3 and @BlkBTCBillions: https://t.co/hKfq1jqii7
— jack (@jack) June 9, 2022
The Academy will be free to residents and provide both in-person and online courses two times a week for 12 weeks, beginning June 22, with classes focusing on topics like what, exactly, cryptocurrencies are, what the blockchain is, how Bitcoin is mined and used and how to protect against scams. Anyone who participates will receive personal wifi hotspots with a one-year data plan and smart phones if needed, which they’ll be able to keep, while each in-person evening class will also have food provided. There will also be an orientation for residents who are curious, and two Saturdays during the summer there will be a Crypto Kids Camp for those aged five to 17.
Jay and Dorsey both directly contributed funding for the program, which is also being supported by Dorsey’s bitcoin-centric company Block — which purchased JAY’s Tidal streaming service last May for $302 million when Block was still known as Square, after which JAY joined the company’s board — and JAY’s Shawn Carter Foundation, for which his mother Gloria Carter serves as president.
“The Shawn Carter Foundation has always been about providing educational access and opening doors of opportunity to underserved communities,” Gloria Carter said in a statement. “No one should be left out or behind. We truly appreciate the partnership with Block and Jack Dorsey to bring financial, specifically bitcoin education to the Marcy residents, where I spent many years raising my family. Everyone should be empowered to make informed financial decisions in order to take care of themselves and their families.”
This initiative is just the latest in JAY’s and Dorsey’s forays into the crypto and metaverse worlds. The two invested in an endowment fund called ₿trust with the goal of promoting bitcoin development in Africa and India last year, while JAY has used VC investment firm Marcy Venture Partners, which he co-founded alongside Roc Nation chairman Jay Brown and venture capitalist Larry Marcus, to fund web3 and metaverse-focused tech incubator sLABS, while MVP also invested in blockchain development platform Alchemy and French startup Ledger, which builds security infrastructure and cryptocurrencies wallets.