Over several years of running a game and software studio, I’ve come to the realization that most college students and recent graduates are basically financially illiterate. That may sound harsh, but I’m afraid it’s true. Many of my interns and employees fresh out of college can do programming and marketing really well, but continue to make terrible financial decisions. And it doesn’t matter whether they come from Stanford or San Jose State. It’s true across the board. I’ll give you an example.
One of our recent hires told me she was living in a dilapidated Victorian-style home in San Francisco with 3 or 4 roommates – basically near-poverty conditions. Keep in mind she’s being paid at market rate in a high-skilled job with lots of benefits – the works. Fast-forward a few weeks and she’s on Instagram sharing amazing footage from her expensive trip to Europe, only to return to her squalid living conditions.
At first I thought this was a phenomenon unique to San Francisco because the average rent is so high. But I travel a lot for VR and gaming conventions and from what I saw, young people all over the United States have similar experiences. So I looked into it and noticed that basic financial literacy is almost never taught in schools. Sure, lots of students take economics 101, but they never learn practical skills like proper financial planning, budgeting, investing, buying low and selling high, etc. I started thinking about my own kids who are 10, 12, and 15. I didn’t want them growing up to be 22-year-old college grads with zero financial literacy skills and no real experience budgeting on their own. So I thought about how I could prevent this from happening and identified two main problems we need to solve.
The first is the way we (as parents) think about our kids and money. Many parents provide a small allowance in exchange for doing chores around the house. Some wealthier parents give their kids unfettered access to their credit cards as a substitute for spending time with them. And of course many working class parents just can’t afford to give their kids any money at all. In any case, kids never get to experience what it’s like to manage money in the real world until they’re out on their own.
The second problem is the drill-and-kill mentality, which is prominent in the California school system, for example. My teenager is sharp and disciplined for their age, but the lack of fun and positive, tangible rewards makes learning new subjects difficult for them.
And they’re not alone. The same is true for their peers – especially when it comes to tough subjects like math and science. In many school systems, teaching methods haven’t changed much since the first classrooms opened up on the shores of Brookline, Massachusetts 400 years ago.
Solving the first problem (financial literacy) should be easy. We just need to expose kids to financial education at a younger age. This can be easily done by giving young adults access to a cryptocurrency that is fun and is mineable on their machines. In the process, they can natively learn about cryptography, math, money and cryptocurrency as they are mining and minting their own currency!
But the second problem is harder: how can we make the learning experience more positive and rewarding? Well, we know that kids and young adults love video games. Why? I think it’s because they offer frequent rewards through leveling up and earning in-game points or currencies. What’s more, mistakes are not severely punished because it’s easy to restart without penalties.
And quick feedback loops keep kids engaged and focused on a particular goal. Education works almost exactly in the opposite way. In most schools, feedback is inherently negative and mistakes are heavily punished. What’s more, the way schools are set up ensures that it takes a long time to find out whether your work is good or bad. So it seems obvious to me that ‘gamifying’ education is one way, if not the best way, to improve educational outcomes.
My goal with Jewelz is to create a cryptocurrency that rewards kids and adults for learning about finances and related subjects, and, importantly, is accessible by anyone, with near-zero start-up costs. This means students with any type of computer – it can even be a 4-year-old desktop or a low-end laptop – can set up a wallet, mine, and earn real cryptocurrency. Jewelz miners will have the opportunity to see their balance grow over time and choose to hold, sell, or diversify their portfolio by exchanging Jewelz for other crypto or fiat currencies. And they’ll learn all this at a young age, so basic financial decisions will be intuitive for them once they’re grown up and living on their own.
My big vision for Jewelz is to create an incentivized e-learning platform and make learning really fun and profitable for everyone involved. Everything we are working on now, including our first game, AllMine, our Jewelz cryptocurrency, and our technology infrastructure will bring us closer to this ultimate goal. Keep reading to learn how we plan to realize this goal, in detail, in the short, medium, and long term.
To create our e-learning platform, we had to use a cryptocurrency that was accessible to everyone.
A Coin for the Middle-Class Miners
To create our e-learning platform, we had to use a cryptocurrency that was accessible to everyone. None was available so we designed Jewelz. Our challenge was to create something fun, energy efficient and works on any computer. AllMine is a fun game, like Bejeweled Blitz, that plays in the foreground while JewelzMiner mines in the background. Jewelz is one of the greenest cryptocurrency available today and it's the only one that is designed to be mined on any computer.
Jewelz: An Up-and-Coming Cryptocurrency
Jewelz is an up-and-coming cryptocurrency poised to revolutionize the cryptocurrency market and cause positive real-world change. Jewelz’s proprietary serial proof of work algorithm is designed to reduce the electrical consumption of cryptocurrency mining and more equally distribute the profits of cryptocurrency mining. Using serial proof of work, Jewelz can create a cryptocurrency where a handful of users do not control the majority of the coin and help to stabilize cryptocurrency values through the creation of a mining “middle class”.
Beyond its ecological and economic goals, Jewelz aims to have a positive influence on the field of education as well. The Jewelz roadmap can be broken into three main phases: short-term (pre-ICO and slightly post-ICO), middle-term (from shortly after the ICO through 1 years), and long-term (2 years onward). The short-term goals of Jewelz include the creation of the AllMine puzzle game and the Jewelz ICO. In the medium term, the Jewelz platform will be built out to include a variety of games tied into the Jewelz cryptocurrency. The long-term goal is an e-learning platform with incentives provided by the Jewelz cryptocurrency.
Jewelz University: Incentivized E-Learning
The long-term goal of the Jewelz cryptocurrency is to create an e-learning platform where children and adults are incentivized to consume educational content and complete assessments. Upon completion of training modules, students can earn tokens allowing them to participate in mining for the Jewelz blockchain, similar to those earned by completion of mini-games in AllMine. The number of tokens earned will be based upon how well the student performed on the assessment and the difficulty of the course content. This prevents students from rapidly completing simple courses to build up mining tokens.
Course developers will also be incentivized with mining tokens to create educational content for users of the Jewelz e-learning system. Once a course is accepted as part of the available curriculum, the developer will earn a set number of tokens. Over time, developers can receive additional reward tokens based on the number of users who complete a course and their feedback. This will help to create an ever-expanding collection of course content, allowing students to pursue their interests while earning rewards for scholarship.