It’s no secret that there is an education gap when it comes to blockchain technologies and digital assets. When I ask people who work with distributed ledger technologies what needs to happen for these innovations to be adopted more quickly, a common response I get is that there needs to be more education on these topics. .
A majority of the population has relied on mainstream media for their blockchain education. Unfortunately, this mainly teaches them to speculate in coins and tokens and makes them want to invest in highly volatile coins. Although most market participants are attracted to digital currencies for potential gains, the notion of speculation is harmful and unfavorable to a few of the main narratives and pillars of digital assets, “that they will increase financial inclusion in around the world, that they will play an important role in banking the unbanked and that they are a store of value.
Unbanked, underbanked, and economically disadvantaged populations generally cannot afford to gamble on coins and tokens, which can result in a 50% drawdown at any time. These groups would benefit from knowing the safe and healthy ways that blockchain could improve their lives. Jefferson ChristmasFounder and CEO of The hairdresser speaksset out to bridge the education gap by teaching communities progressive ways to use digital assets.
“People perish for lack of knowledge. At Barbershop Speaks, we bring experts to people. Not everyone knows a financial advisor personally or can afford to meet one. But through Barbershop Speaks, we bring seasoned veterans to the store to educate them,” he said.
“The purpose of Crypto Convos is to motivate and educate the community to ignite a spark in the understanding of cryptocurrencies and the power of blockchain technologies. We understand the importance and power of blockchain technology, but we have yet to unlock and grasp the prevalent use cases that will completely disrupt the way we interact with technology. It’s one of the reasons we’re transforming hair salons into places where people can engage with experts on community-impacting topics and network with like-minded members of their community,” said he added.
Noel was strategic in choosing the location to host his Crypto Convos. In an effort to improve financial literacy, most Barbershop Speaks audiences are minorities. According to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, approximately 5.4% of the US population is unbanked. However, when you explore this statistic, you will find that the unbanked population comprises 13.8% Black Americans and approximately 12.2% Hispanic Americans. Rather than asking these populations to seek educational resources, Noel decided to bring them the resources by organizing educational sessions in places in their area that they already know, hair salons.
“The hair salon is one of the most diverse places in the world. Someone who is 18 sits next to someone who is 80. Rich next to the poor. Christian next to Muslim. PhD candidate next to school dropout. But given the difference in background and experience, the hair salon is a unique place where everyone learns from each other. The hair salon is the classroom of communities where everyone is both teacher and student,” Noel said.
Noel has hosted over 35 Barbershop Speaks events to date, including the one in Philadelphia, where I participated in a panel that explored the basics of blockchain and digital assets. But his events in the United States were just the beginning. Now, Noel is focused on spreading financial literacy around digital assets in the parts of the world that can benefit the most, emerging markets.
Barbershop Speaks has partnered with A Wealth of Women (AWOW) and AWOW GHANA BKD to bring digital currency conversations to Ghana. The talks in Ghana will serve as a model for other overseas stops he is planning.
“We’re taking the brand globally because we’ve seen the huge impact it’s had locally. The community’s hunger and thirst for these discussions cries out how important these conversations are. Although the brand is going global, our impact will continue to take place locally,” Noel said.
“Education is the first major investment you can make. Filling your head with crypto knowledge is more important than diving in blindly and filling your wallet. At Barbershop Speaks, we believe in education through conversation. This is the core of our raison d’être,” he added.
Watch: BSV Global Blockchain Convention panel, Blockchain in Africa
New to Bitcoin? Discover CoinGeek bitcoin for beginners section, the ultimate resource guide to learn about bitcoin – as originally envisioned by Satoshi Nakamoto – and blockchain.