Musician and Mogul Jay-Z has long rhapsodized about his roots in the Marcy Houses. In an effort to give back, he initiated a program exclusive to the approximately 2,300 residents in the New York City Housing Authority apartments in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn. The Bitcoin Academy agenda, according to its website, is to “provide education, empower the community with knowledge, and get rid of some of the barriers so that residents can learn more about Bitcoin specifically and finance in general.”
The timing could not be worse, with Bitcoin suffering a “record-breaking rout,” according to Bloomberg. The cryptocurrency has dropped from a value of nearly $51,000 six months ago to $18,809 today. Other currencies, like Etherium, are suffering similar fates. Bloomberg reports that traders are “bracing for the next crisis.”
At The Guardian reports, that message has seemingly gotten through to would-be attendees at The Bitcoin Academy. “People don’t want to be investing money knowing that they might have a chance of losing it,” a 58-year-old retiree named Myra Raspberry told the newspaper. “Every dime I get got to go to rent, phone, TV, and internet. I don’t have money like that to be losing. If I did, I would try to invest in something that’s more reliable, like the basketball game last night. You know I’m going to win something from that,” she continued.
The Academy will reportedly give students a small amount of cryptocurrency—“around $20-$25”—upon completion of the course to start making trades. But the program, co-sponsored with Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, doesn’t seem to be creating much enthusiasm. A 24-year-old resident named Nyashia Figueroa suggested, “if you want to do something, fix this place up.” She added, “we have a basketball court with no hoops. Our parks is broken up in here. He should be doing more for his community, not on Bitcoin Academy.”
In years past, Jay-Z had returned to the Marcy Houses to deliver Christmas gifts, but Figueroa reports it has been a while since he’s made an appearance. “This is where he rep he’s from and all that, but he don’t do nothing for us,” she said.
Nevertheless, The Bitcoin Academy’s website declares itself to represent “the future of money,” and attendees will be given smartphones and MiFi devices, which they may keep as needed. There is also a “’Crypto Kids Camp” for kids aged 5 to 17.