A new cottage industry is emerging and it is made up of camps, startups, and video content devoted to educating the next generation about Web3. Crypto Kids Camps are where school kids learn about everything from artificial intelligence to virtual reality using hands-on games and activities.
The premise guiding this movement is that it is important to catch kids when they’re young to help them open their minds to possibilities ahead. It is not enough anymore to know what jobs are available, the time has come to be able to create those jobs, those platforms, those games.
The tech modules at these camps include blockchain, evolution of money, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, technology, virtual reality, mining and machine learning, online gaming, drones, and engineering. The typical hardware used includes a laptop, a drone, a robot, a VR headset, and a phone with a crypto wallet.
The increasing push is to teach children digital and financial literacy and empower them to create their own content and thereby build the future of the web. Last year, 13-year-old Gajesh Naik, a student of class VII at People’s High School, Panaji created a cryptocurrency money managing ecosystem. He is the youngest known person to have completed all five levels of the gruelling Google Foobar challenge. Thanks to his mastery of chatbot development and blockchain technology applications, today he manages millions of dollars of cryptocurrency.
Like every new trend, however, there are questions about this relatively new industry. Is the world of cryptocurrency and blockchain the future we should be preparing our children for? Does all that Web3 promise on paper actually convert? How about the risk of an online scam? Perhaps what our students need is information on the traditional methods of investing. There is a view that this industry is socializing extremely young children about some terribly risky products. Prudent voices are advocating that teaching kids about money should start with something tangible like physical currency. This will teach them that money is finite, involves self-regulation and deserves far more considered handling than what comes from YouTube, peers and anonymous message boards online.
More and more young students are spending time on crypto trading platforms. They overcome the age limit of 18 or above by using accounts set up by their parents. Some help comes from crypto wallets out there that have no age limits. The fervour around non-fungible-token or NFTs is also fuelled by media frenzy over kids like the British 12-year-old Benyamin Ahmed who is said to have made more than $400,000 in two months selling NFTs of pixelated whales.
But what is an NFT? Well, it is a unique digital token that establishes proof of ownership of an asset. It cannot be replicated. Blockchain technology acts as a digital record of all the transactions related to the NFT. Although NFTs can be used to represent physical assets such as property or artwork, the core is made up of collectible digital assets such as digital artwork, photos, videos, music or even virtual plots of land.
The price of an NFT is determined by demand and supply and there is only one of each. To buy and sell these, one needs to set up a digital wallet specific to that particular marketplace. It will also need to be loaded with the cryptocurrency that works in that particular marketplace. It is important to remember that many marketplaces charge fees for trading NFTs which may include conversion fee, closing fee, and gas fee. Gas fee covers charge for the energy needed to complete the NFT transaction.
So, are we ready to create an NFT? The first step would be to choose a specific blockchain technology. We then upload our content onto this. The next step is to select the marketplace on which we will list our NFT. We have the option of adding a royalty or commission to our NFT which will give us a payment every time our NFT changes hands. There have been tantalizing news items about how one digital art NFT sold for almost 70 million dollars. Then there is a tweet that sold as an NFT for nearly three million dollars. Imagine an NFT representing virtual plots of land in a video game fetching 1.5 million dollars.
Is the NFT beginning to sound too good to be true? Well, there are said to be the downsides. What if the online location where your digital asset is stored gets corrupted or destroyed? That would mean that the artwork or music or video that the NFT represents will be wiped out. Imagine paying millions of dollars for something that vanishes into thin air. NFTs are intangible things. They are not like an old, used car that can be sold for its parts for some money. An NFT’s value lies only in its perception in the eyes of the buyer. Should the buyer have a change of mind, the NFT would become worthless.
There is something else. It is usual for the original owner of an asset to retain the copyright which means multiple copies can be made to sell as new NFTs. There is a high potential for fraud too given that the courts will take some time to catch up with the new technology. From NFT minting, plagiarizing original work, creating fake sites for plundering digital wallets to artificially increasing the price…there is plenty of potential for scam artists. The risk of volatility is also inherent in this highly speculative market. Finally, there is barely a resale market for the NFTs. Since each NFT is unique, you have to have a ready buyer to make a resale. It is not likely to be quick and easy to cash out and get money for the NFT.
So, there we have it, the incredibly exciting but baffling world of the NFTs. No one knows if Web3 will be the answer to mankind’s dilemmas. But it is set to change the education landscape and we don’t yet know how. What is certain is that students need this education as fast as the teachers, if not faster since they are the future.
The author is a former teacher/journalist, published author and professional speaker on generational diversity with a background and training in media, having worked in advertising, public relations, documentary film making, and feature journalism. She is a member of the Wisdom City Metaverse. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and https://neerjasingh.com.