A Suspiciously Positive Insider Look At Jay-Z and Jack Dorsey’s Bitcoin Academy
The Bitcoin Academy wasn’t as well received as it should’ve been. The organization needs good press and got it. The Business Insider article “How Jay-Z and Jack Dorsey’s Bitcoin Academy provides financial inclusion and breaks down barriers of inequity” is positive and then some. Is it too cynical to be suspicious of a positive portrayal of a bitcoin institution in mainstream media? Maybe, but this is just too positive!
When The Guardian went out of its way to report that Marcy residents weren’t exactly thrilled with The Bitcoin Academy, we asked:
“Why is The Guardian, a British newspaper, reporting on The Bitcoin Academy from the Marcy’s projects grounds? Of course, it’s worldwide news, but the accusatory tone of the article seems suspicious.”
And well, this other article feels suspicious as well. Even if everything they say in it is real.
The article’s protagonists are Marcy resident Mariela Regalado and Bitcoin Academy instructor Lamar Wilson, of Black Bitcoin Billionaire fame. To paint the clearest picture possible, we’ll use their quotes verbatim.
Welcome To The Bitcoin Academy
When Bitcoinist first discussed the project, we informed:
“One of the biggest barriers for people to learn about Bitcoin is access to the internet and devices. For that reason, participants will receive MiFi devices and a one-year limited data plan with smartphones “if needed”.Participants will be able to keep the devices provided by the Bitcoin Academy. Those Marcy Houses residents looking to take part in the in-person classes will be served dinner.”
What sounded like perks turned out to be key adoption factors. Mariela Regalado lives in Marcy, according to Business Insider “she said a main “selling” point was that the program offered free childcare for her young daughter, which allowed her the opportunity to participate as a single mother.” The publication makes sure to mention that “both Wilson and Regalado made a point to stress that students in the program weren’t pressured into buying or selling bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies.”
They even go as far as to say, “Regalado framed the program as “purely this fun, educational journey that I got to do with my neighbors.”
Some Of The Classes Marcy Residents Took
Quotes From The Bitcoin Academy
To drive the people “weren’t pressured into buying or selling bitcoin” point home, Bitcoin Academy instructor Lamar Wilson said:
“Because I understand the information and I can break it down into a vernacular that others can understand, especially folks from where I’m from, I feel like it’s almost my obligation to make sure I get the information to them, and it’s not to like recommend them to buy bitcoin or try to get them to invest all their money or anything like that. It’s just really, let me provide the information and allow you as a very intelligent being to make your own decisions.”
To respond to the initial backlash, Business Insider got Mariela Regalado to do the dirty work:
“It’s almost like everyone in the comments and that backlash, they were focused on the scarcity. Like, hey, thanks. We know what we’re missing out on. We know what poverty’s like, because we’re in it. That doesn’t mean that we have to stay in it, and it doesn’t mean that we’re not worthy of messages that have led to other people and other races getting ahead or getting wealthy.”
As you can read, she did a phenomenal job. Regalado also painted a picture of the Bitcoin Academy scene that’s a sight to behold:
“The community aspect was really one of the most important factors for me, because we’re talking teens, veterans, elders, millennials, and I cannot think of anything else thus far that would’ve connected so many voices, so many intergenerational voices to sit and learn and share in community. And I honestly cannot think of spaces that we can do that in.”
Closing Remarks By Ms. Gloria Carter
The president and co-founder of The Shawn Carter Foundation, Ms. Gloria Carter AKA Jay-Z’s mother, sent Business Insider a statement. The beginning successfully summarizes this whole article in a few sentences:
“Marcy residents showed up. The over 350 people who attended The Bitcoin Academy classes let us know that this education is important to them – and that it matters. What also matters is providing the necessary resources such as dinner, childcare, devices, internet access, dedicated staff and instructors so that as many people as possible could participate in person and online.”