I’m sitting at the new cafe “Ginjan” on 125th Street and Park Ave in the historic Mount Morris Bank Building. On the wall it says: “Born of Africa, Made in New York.” This francophone hangout is a new favorite Harlem café.
The book probably isn’t very good. I guess. It’s too complicated. Not simplified. Hard to digest. Takes effort.
It’s like trying to explain Facebook today to someone living before it existed:
+business portal + public relations + games + television channels + home movies + advertising + dating service + social engineering ??? + platform for human experimentation + Digital cash??? !! totalitarian rule? Hmmmm. I hope not.
Am I comparing #DigitalNativeAcademicCredits to Facebook? May be just a little. That’s why I wrote the book. To put the whole thing down and see if someone can punch holes. Tell me that it’s not possible.
The Oxford dictionary defines a manifesto as “a public declaration of policy and aims.” Too many books are just about theories. Lots of “blah blah blah.” I wrote to propose action. Based on my two decades of work in the nation’s largest school system and in high tech as a software engineer, robotics coach, physics teacher, high school principal.
Digital cash is being invented as I write this. Heard of Libra? How about Venus? WeChat? Venmo? Square? My proposal will be defunct once global digital cash has been worked out. The window of opportunity is quite narrow.
The Business Roundtable made their bold announcement that corporations should have a second bottom line beyond just shareholder earnings and then went on with “business as usual.” But they are seeing something. Bill Pulte’s Twitter philanthropy; The Pitchfork Economics; Born on Third Base; WorldAfterCapital or any of the other basic income advocate like Andrew Yang or Elizabeth Warren’s proposal to redefine the corporation. I could go on…
My proposal is a response to this in that I am proposing something similar: design digital cash (the life blood of profit making) to serve education, automatically. May be how we design digital cash for the planet matters. You think? Leave it to Facbook? I advocate for an open source alternative. But that’s really really radical. And so surprisingly within reach. Bitcoin is open source AND decentralized in governance and there is more money invested there than with Goldman Sachs.
When you have spent time thinking as a “system thinker,” you have certainly concluded that education is a high leverage tool for social impact. I grew up in Chicago where it was rumored that the downtown “Loop” was originally designed with all the corporate rents in the skyscrapers paid to the department of education. This is a similar proposal: fund a basic income for top high school graduates with new cash coming into circulation appearing in their digital wallets monthly.
Bitcoin is a ledger of financial account; #DigitalNativeAcademicCredits are a ledger of academic account. That’s it. That’s my proposal. Quite simple, actually. Add historical and economic context and some discussion of surprising unintended consequences; a little bit about why we don’t need high school’s permission just as Uber didn’t need permission from Taxis to launch. That’s the entire book.
At first it sounds ludicrous. Blockchain+education? WTF??! Here’s why you should read my book even if it sucks: Because the youth-driven network of academic content that results has real-world implications that are important.
This would undoubtedly make a massive difference. A generational difference. Driven by open source. Local youth media at a global scale. Decentralized governance in the hands of master teachers. Basic income. Sounds like just a bunch of buzz words. I know. Again, like trying to describe Facebook before it actually existed. That’s why we need to get this thing built so people can try it out for themselves.
Either I’m nuts, or you will see that my analysis is sober. Read this difficult-to-read book and tell me that this won’t work, that this is not in line with current trends in the human-digital interface. An opportunity to incentivize high school grads to be up-to-date with what people like former Facebook advisor Roger McNamee are warning about. May be our only chance to dodge totalitarian rule in favor of our democratic ideals.
I assert that if you think it through, it suddenly seems obvious. And it’s happening now, and fast. WHAT THE HELL AM I TALKING ABOUT?
- “Github for teachers” — open source high school learning standards
- +Project based AP Exams for students
- +”Transom” for media companies, but with youth voices. Pre-screened by master producers.
AND, THE KICKER IS….
That the Bitcoin community will do good while doing well and make a ton of money by implementing this. How is money made in this model?
1. Bitcoin is a network, not a platform today (multiple networks, a platform make).
2. By issuing digital cash, Bitcoin becomes a platform. Free cash with a $500/day cash limit drives adoption for >$500/day settlement. The cash wallets and cash registers settle on Bitcoin. Mass adoption of free, ownerless, global cash leads to adoption of bitcoin for storage and settlement.
2-Sided Platform = Free network here that pulls in users to the paid network over there.
At the speed/cost of Bitcoin/Lightning which is slow and expensive, a store could close their books each night and expect everything to be settled by the next morning’s open for a reasonable fee. Using open source so money becomes ownerless, free from government OR corporate control. That’s the radical/within reach part.
That’s how Bitcoin makes money off this. But then…
3. issue new coins into the wallets of high school seniors who earn #DigitalNativeAcademicCredits. Like an AP exam. But updated to digital. Podcasts, videos, visuals, instead of circles bubbled in with a #2 pencil with time pressure to recall overly simplified questions with simple answers. Some people say there are no stupid questions, but I disagree. Standardized tests are full of them!
Instead of newly printed cash going at 54 cents on each dollar to military spending, we give new coins to high school seniors as a monthly stipend which they inject into the economy from within their local communities.
This is an investment in youth media as a proxy for exam scores. Literally investing in our future by giving a monthly cash infusion to those who show the greatest promise as digital natives. The resulting network of youth voices will cause an explosion of young creativity and vision to the mainstream narrative because cash-strapped media companies will have a free trove of high quality youth voices to use in their broadcasts.
Sounds too good. Sounds idealistic. But it’s actually possible. I’m pretty sure, at least.
There are many many smarter than me. They are my target audience. Either they will help make this a reality, or they will finally convince me that I’m missing something.
OK. Stay tuned until December. https://theBIG.net
If you want an advance copy… too bad. But soon enough I’ll have one to share. Sign up to be a beta reader and I’ll give you a free book plus advance copies of the ebook to review before publication.